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Still a House DividedRace and Politics in Obama's America$
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Desmond S. King and Rogers M. Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142630

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142630.001.0001

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“This backdrop of entrenched inequality”

“This backdrop of entrenched inequality”

Affirmative Action in Work

(p.93) Chapter 4 “This backdrop of entrenched inequality”
Still a House Divided

Desmond S. King

Rogers M. Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter illustrates the conflicting approaches advanced by today's racial alliances on issues of race equality in the workplace, as on so many other topics—conflicts that include disagreements not only over formal affirmative action programs but also over the legitimacy of race-conscious policymaking of any sort. It is no accident when these issues emerge with particular intensity in employment policy. No area of American life is more central to the quest to eradicate unjust material racial inequalities. This is why, as the chapter shows, previous struggles on racial equality focused so strongly on equality in the workplace. While such actions were hailed by many veterans of the civil rights movement as necessary, color-blind proponents came to assail these as new forms of unjust racial discrimination. Contestation over these policies became the central “battleground” around which modern racial policy coalitions formed.

Keywords:   racial policy coalitions, affirmative action, race-conscious policymaking, employment policy, race consciousness, color blindness, employment, race equality, workplace

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