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 White privilege emerged out of racial consciousness among whites and was later codified into “slave codes” during the 18th century. Does white privilege still exist in the criminal justice system? If so, how do whites and non-whites experience being labeled a criminal differently? Furthermore, why do you believe white privilege persists? Whom does it benefit most, and why?

I believe the racial biases within our legal system are no secret and indeed may be so wide spread to almost be obscure through constant, passive exposure. It is a well documented fact that people of color, especially African-Americans, are more likely to be convicted of crimes as well as to receive harsher sentences when compared to white-Americans being accused of the same crimes. This racial disposition has, in turn, seeped from the courthouses and into public life where, because of the disproportionate rates of conviction and severity of punishment, there has risen a stigma of African-Americans being predisposed towards criminal activity. I further believe that this specific form of white privilege exists because it is profitable for those you own and operate the prisons who may utilize their inmate populations as source of cheap labor on the behalf (and dime) of others.

On a scale of 1–10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how would you rate Donald Trump’s presidency? Do you believe Donald Trump won the 2016 election because he appealed to specific political interests, or because he pandered to a specific racial group? Or, was there some combination of race, social class, and gender that resulted in his victory? Explain your response using specific examples to support your discussion.

A rate Trump's time in office to be a 7 or even 8 though, admittedly I'm so widely dissatisfied with Biden that maybe I'm wearing some rose colored glasses; I digress. I truly believe that no elected official, president or otherwise, was ever elected into their position without some amount of pandering but to contend that Trump won the presidency through nothing but pandering is preposterous. As loathe as I know many people are to admit, Trump was a wildly popular candidate who saw the success that he did because the message he preached truly resonated with a great many people. The embrace of such slogans as "make America great again" and "drain the swamp" ought to clue observers in to just how deeply disenfranchisement runs within this country. And though Trump garnered most support from white-Americans of certain social standing, he also received not inconsiderable support from people of color as well, with Latin-Americans being one such group.

Do you believe that whites or non-whites are more encouraged to play professional sports by agents of socialization, including their peers, family members, people in their educational experience, and in the media? Are there certain sports that certain races are more encouraged to pursue? If so, why do you think this occurs? Explain your position using at least one example to support your discussion.

I believe the answer (partially) comes down to the sport in question but, in general, I observe that non-whites seem more encouraged to take up professional sports. I notice a dichotomy in sports such as football or basketball versus sports like golf where the former is non-white dominated with big names like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick while the latter appears more white dominated with the only notable poc player that comes to mind is, of course, Tiger Woods. Based on this observation alone the most obvious factor for determining where one race is encouraged to compete is raw physicality, where non-whites seem to be disproportionately funneled into the more rough-and-tumble sports. Further extrapolating from this hypothesis, I can put forward several possible reasons why this could be the case. Perhaps non-white children/students are seen as less academically capable and, therefore, better suited to physical pursuits instead? A completely different take is to recognize that professional athletes enjoy postions of fame and attetnion which may appeal to non-whites who may feel overlooked or unheard, taking Colin Kaepernick's NFL protest as an example of someone using that attetnion to try and encat change and/or send a message.  

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Chapter 7: Crime, Law, and Deviance

1.   Michelle Alexander wrote a book entitled The New Jim Crow, in which she argues that mass incarceration is effectively a new form of racial hierarchy that limits the advancement of people of color. How has racial profiling contributed to this trend? Do you believe policing practices such as “stop and frisk” are more beneficial to social order than harmful to specific populations? Explain your position using at least one specific example to support your discussion.

Racial profiling has contributed to the trend of limiting people of color because it has negatively affected people of color even when there is no crime being committed. Whether or not practices such as “stop and frisk” are more beneficial or harmful is a tough question because there are positives and negatives to it. On the positive side, this is a form of proactive policing and it could potentially prevent a crime but on the negative side, it could lead to racial profiling and more issues. 

Chapter 8: Power, Politics, and Identities

3.   Describe the society in which you desire to live. How is power distributed? Do all people have equal access to all resources? Does anyone ever “need” for anything? Would capitalism be present? How would elections be held? Who would hold the most and least power? Which of the three sociological theories used to explain the distribution of power in society would be best to create the type of society you want to live in?

The society in which I would desire to live in would be one where everyone is treated equally and has equal opportunities. I think figuring out how power is distributed is tough but I would want power to be distributed to those who work for it and are responsible enough to handle it. I think every person would get equal access to resources but there would be a limit as to how much a person could get to make sure resources don’t run scarce. I believe the pluralist model of power would be the best for my society. 

Chapter 9: Sports and the American Dream

1.   Do you believe that whites or non-whites are more encouraged to play professional sports by agents of socialization, including their peers, family members, people in their educational experience, and in the media? Are there certain sports that certain races are more encouraged to pursue? If so, why do you think this occurs? Explain your position using at least one example to support your discussion. 

I think there are certain sports that people usually associate with certain races of people. I do believe there are many factors as to why a certain race would be encouraged to go play a sport. This can be either history or just norms within our society. When I say history, I mean past instances of a person of a certain race being successful in a sport. When people see others that look like them being successful at something, it gives them hope that they can also do it. As for the norms and what is perceived as common in our society, I mean what is typically displayed in forms of media such as movies. This could relate to the history reason as situations in real life can influence movies.

Crime, Law, and Deviance

Chapter 7

LO 7-1 Examine the history of race, crime, and deviance

LO 7-2 Analyze stock theories of race, crime, and deviance

LO 7-3 Apply the matrix lens to the relationships among race, crime, and deviance

LO 7-4 Formulate transformative narratives of crime and deviance

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

A History of Race, Crime, and Punishment

Deviance – All actions or behaviors that defy social norms

Seriousness ranges from criminal activity to violating social expectations

Example: violating fashion “rules” vs. stealing

Deviance defines a significant portion of our national character

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Building a Foundation of Whiteness

English colonists arrived in America with notions of race and gender bias

All women typically received harsher punishments than their male counterparts for violating sexual or marriage taboos

White privilege – Refers to the laws, practices, and behaviors which preserve and (re)create societal benefits people indentified as white

White normative structures – Those norms and institutions that obscure the racial intent of such laws

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Legislating White Privilege

Racial consciousness – The awareness of race shared by members of a group and wider society

Colonial laws linked white racial consciousness to laws

Example: U.S. Naturalization Law of 1790

Slave Codes

Jim Crow Laws (1880s–1960s)

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

A Legacy of Racial Profiling

Racial profiling – Use of law enforcement to target people of color for extensive and invasive policing, often with no evidence of criminal activity

People of color are most likely to be profiled, imprisoned, and sentenced

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Sociological Stock Theories of Crime and Deviance

Fall into two broad categories

Biosocial theories of deviance

Ecological perspectives

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These standard stories have a common thread- they place the source of deviance at the micro, or personal, level. Therefore, either the individual, their community, culture, or environment are at odds with societal norms. And by implication if the individual, their community, culture or environment could just be reformed, fixed, adjusted or rehabilitated, then the deviance would be reduced or non-existent.

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Biosocial Theories of Deviance

Cesare Lombroso – Founder of modern criminology, 19th century

Believed biological indicators were associated with more primitive form of human being

Suggested that Africans, Asians, and Native Americans were especially prone to crime and deviance

Biological determinism – Holds that behavior is innately impacted by some component of a person’s physiology

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Ecological Perspectives on Crime

Ecological approach – Situates human behavior within the social structure external to the individual

Four derivatives of the ecological approach

Social disorganization

Culture of poverty

Cultural conflict

Broken windows

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Social Disorganization

Social disorganization links crime to neighborhood ecological patterns

Example: communities with large levels of immigration or migration produce rapid community changes that may lead to disruption

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Culture of Poverty

Culture of poverty approach – Poverty seen as a set of choices

Linked to unwed mothers who were blamed for perpetuating crime and deviance

Differential association theory – Differences in criminal involvement among groups resulted from their different definitions of criminality

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Broken Windows Theory

Broken windows theory – Argues that a significant way of decreasing crime was to halt vandalism

While fixing broken windows may increase community pride, researchers have not found that it sufficiently explains lower levels of crime and deviance

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Spaces and Places of Crime and Deviance

General strain theory – Racism produces stressful events and environments.

Leads to negative emotions, which leads to criminal activity

Systemic racism – Occurs when a system of inequality based upon race, often within institutional settings, is often associated with differential outcomes in crime and deviance

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These negative emotions may be buffered by factors such as coping mechanisms, family and peer support, as well as self-esteem

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Structure and Context of Crime and Deviance

Prison-industrial complex – Policies that target and greatly expand the U.S. inmate population

“Get tough on crime”

“War on Drugs”

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New interpretations of structural inequalities argue that racism, differential education funding, and a lack of opportunities may lead to a culture of poverty

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Structure and Context of Crime and Deviance

People of color are more likely than whites to be incarcerated

Girlfriend theory – Suggests that women are minor players caught up in criminal actions of their boyfriends

Black women are twice as likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts

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Homicide is the leading cause of death for black males between the ages of 15-24 and the second leading cause of Hispanic males in the age group

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Structure and Context of Crime and Deviance

United States is the only industrialized western democracy that still sanctions the death penalty

Currently, 54% of those on death row are either black or Latino

Black men are eight times more likely to be homicide victims or offenders than their white counterparts

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Identifying Types of Crime

Differential labeling – Some individuals and groups are systematically declared deviant by virtue of being in that particular group

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Example: in the U.S., it is believed that blacks, Hispanics and other disadvantaged groups are more prone to crime, violence, disorder, welfare and likely to live in undesirable communities

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Identifying Types of Crime

Hate crimes – Use of violence and intimidation to further stigmatize and marginalize disenfranchised people

In 2014 the FBI reported a total of 5,479 hate crimes across the country

63% of these were against people; remaining target property

LGBT people of color are more likely to be victimized than their white counterparts

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Violence Against Women

Most common type of violent crime on college campuses is the rape of women

One in 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives

Poverty is correlated with rape victimization

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

White Collar Crime

White collar crime is “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his or her occupation”

Bernie Madoff stole $64.8 billion from investors

More examples include corporations such as Rite Aide, K-Mart, Xerox, and Tyco

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Transforming the Narrative of Race, Crime, and Deviance

In 2016 alone, 24,000 inmates in 12 states and 29 prisons held protests

Resistance – Conscious and unconscious attempt by individuals and groups to challenge the dominant values of society

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Scientific Advances

Scientific advances have aided current and past criminal investigations

Innocence Project has tracked 344 convictions have been overturned by new DNA evidence in 17 years

Of these, 215 were African American, 105 were white, 25 were Latinos and 2 were Asian Americans

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Alternatives to Incarceration

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juveniles in homicide cases to life without parole was both cruel and unusual

Community service

Clemency for non-violent drug offenses

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Emphasizing Choice

Individual agency – For some people there is a “poverty of opportunities”

The prevalence of one type of crime is determined by the resources available within a particular community

This directly impacts the kind of choices that people make

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Power, Politics, and Identities

Chapter 8

LO 8-1 Explain contemporary political identities

LO 8-2 Evaluate stock sociological theories regarding power, politics, and identity

LO 8-3 apply the matrix approach to U.S. political history

LO 8-4 formulate alternatives to the matrix of race and politics

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Contemporary Political Identities

Politics – All of the processes, activities, and institutions having to do with governance

Political identities – Political positions, based on the interests and perspectives of social groups

Represent race, gender, sexuality, language, region, and class

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The results of political elections are dependent on how well candidates can navigate political identities

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Regional Differences

Political identities vary by region in the United States

Among all groups, those living in the South or the Northeast, there is a stronger likelihood that they will view reality through the lens of race

People living in the West are more likely to view class as central to their identity

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Political Disenfranchisement

Disenfranchisement – Revocation of the right to vote

Differs regionally

People with criminal records are disenfranchised

Hispanics and African Americans are more likely to be disenfranchised

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Role of Race, Class, and Gender

The highest levels of non-voters are associated with the lowest levels of education and income

Being eligible to vote and actually voting are two separate things

Women, across all racial groups, are more likely to vote than men

In the last two presidential elections, black women have been the most likely to vote

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Analyzing the 2016 Presidential Election

Voting patterns associated with education were evident in the presidential election of 2016

52% of people with college degrees voted for Clinton

52% of people without college degrees voted for Trump

Trump obtained 67% of non-college white’s vote

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Analyzing the 2016 Presidential Election

Voting patterns associated with race were also evident in the presidential election of 2016

Trump captured 58% of the White, non-Hispanic vote

Clinton secured 80% of Black voters

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Political Sociology

Political sociology – Study of government, political behaviors, institutions and processes that occur between the state, society and its citizens

The study of power, politics, and identity

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Pluralist Approach

Pluralism – Posits that power within society is decentralized, widely shared, diffuse and fragmented

Because no single group is dominant, democratic equilibrium is established

Two types of groups associated with the pluralistic model

Insider groups

Outsider groups

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Pluralist Approach

Pluralistic approach presumes that power is dispersed equally among insiders

In reality, power tends to be coalesced among a very few

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Power Elite Model

The Power Elite model – Suggests that power is concentrated among elites who control the resources of significant institutions

Three realms with elite members

High ranking politicians

Heads of major corporations and directors

High ranking military personnel

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Class Approach to Power

The class approach model to power assumes that the type of economic system a society has determines the kind of political structures that evolve

In the United States those who control the economic production control the political processes

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory aims to transform the relationship between race, racism, and power

Theme #1: reject, significantly challenge or re-interpret the stock socio-political theories

Theme #2: mainstream ideas, reflected disproportionately by white scholars, stress the importance of linking structural conditions to the self-interests of leaders, activists, or even regions to understand ethnic identity and the conflict that often occurs

Theme #3: the political realities that reaffirm racial hierarchies are normal

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Critical Race Theory

Critical race theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (1993) coined the term “intersectionality”

Identity politics – A political process or structure that relies upon people of specific religions, racial and ethnic groups, or social backgrounds to form exclusive political alliances

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Intersectionality:

Explained that the experiences that people face represent intersecting and interacting spheres that shape structural and representational aspects of our being

Argued that political processes were best understood through this lens

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Applying the Matrix of Race to U.S. Political History

The original intent of the U.S. government was to diminish the conflict between the “haves and have-nots” (Madison 1788)

Power – The ability to acquire scarce resources

The political institution regulates power

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Building a Nation’s Identity

Previous to the Civil War the southern colonies of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia were staunch supporters of slavery

Economies relied on slave labor for profitability

Ultimately, the northern elites determined that free labor was more productive than slave labor

Our current Senate and House of Representatives are a direct result of how to count slaves within the population

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Building a Nation’s Identity

Great Compromise of 1787

Determined that slaves counted as three-fifths of a person when determining state representatives, as well as presidential electors and taxes

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– Also included two governing bodies, wherein population would determine how many seats each state would hold in the House of Representatives, and the Senate would have two from each state

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Building a Nation’s Identity

Citizenship – Reflects the legal process countries use to regulate national identity, membership and rights

1790 Naturalization Act – Granted citizenship to “free white aliens” with two years’ residence

Withheld from all non-whites, slaves, and women

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Sovereign Peoples

Native Americans considered sovereign nationals

Independent and held authority over their own citizens and remaining land

Did not pay taxes to the United States and did not vote

Native Americans did not become citizens of the United States until 1924

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Immigration

U.S. immigration policies were intentional regarding race

1921 Emergency Quota Act – Limited the numbers of immigrants to the United States by imposing quotas based on the country of birth

1965 Immigration and Nationality Act – Committed the United States to accepting immigrants of all nationalities on roughly equal terms

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Civil War and Its Aftermath

De jure – Political practices and processes that were enacted as formal laws

De facto – Political practices and processes that, although not enshrined into laws, were carried out in practice by various entities

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Post Civil War De Jure Laws

Poll taxes – Two-year tax that had to be paid in advance in order to register to vote

Literacy tests – Required a person seeking to vote to read and interpret a section of the state constitution to county court

Grandfather clauses – Permitted anyone whose grandfather was qualified to vote prior to the Civil War

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Post Civil War De Facto Practices

In 1917 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation laws were unconstitutional

However, de facto practices reinforced segregation

Restrictive covenants – Bared the resale to purchasers of a race different than the original homeowner

Redlining – Happens when mortgage lending for certain areas is influenced/determined by race

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

The Rise of Coalitional Politics and Social Movements

Coalitional politics – Represents political alliances of various identity groups whose purpose is to establish a specific political agenda

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Example: Black Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)

Utilized a series of well-orchestrated nonviolent protests and civil disobedience to force dialogues between activists and political institutions

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Social Movement Victories

1964 Civil Rights Act – Officially banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in employment practices

1965 Voters Rights Act – Ended voting discrimination and extended federal protections to minorities

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Social Movement Victories

Immigration and Nationality Services Act – Removed racial and national barriers and opened immigration to black immigrants from Africa and the Western hemisphere

1968 Fair Housing Act – Ended discrimination in the sale and rental of housing

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Building Alternatives to the Matrix of Race and Politics

Political activism – Involves various types of actions that go beyond voting

May be as simple as writing blogs, posting on the internet, or getting involved in a letter writing campaign

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Ex: A Day without Immigrants, February 13, 2017, staged in major cities across the country as a response to President Trump’s executive orders tightening immigration restriction

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Coates, The Matrix of Race

SAGE Publishing, 2018.

Creating Change

Sanctuary cities

When undocumented immigrants arrested, they are not deported but must serve time associated with any crimes committed

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