Destabilizing the American Racial Order

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Hochschild, Jennifer L. ; Weaver, Vesla ; Burch, Traci (2011)

Are racial disparities in the United States just as deep-rooted as they were before the 2008 presidential election, largely eliminated, or persistent but on the decline? One can easily find all of these pronouncements; rather than trying to adjudicate among them, this essay seeks to identify what is changing in the American racial order, what persists or is becoming even more entrenched, and what is likely to affect the balance between change and continuity. The authors focus on young American adults, who were raised in a distinctive racial context and who think about and practice race differently than their older counterparts. For many young Americans, racial attitudes are converging across groups and social networks are becoming more intertwined. Most important, although group-based hierarchy has not disappeared, race or ethnicity does less to predict a young adult's life chances than ever before in American history.
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