Beyond Black and White: A Reader on Contemporary Race Relations

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Campus Life, Census/Demographics, Economics, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2018-05-19 18:00Z by Steven

Beyond Black and White: A Reader on Contemporary Race Relations

SAGE Publishing
488 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781506306940

Edited by:

Zulema Valdez, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Beyond Black and White is a new anthology of readings that reflects the complexity of racial dynamics in the contemporary United States, where the fastest-growing group is “two or more races.” Drawing on the work of both established figures in the field and early career scholars, Zulema Valdez has assembled a rich and provocative collection of pieces that illustrates the diversity of today’s American racial landscape. Where many books tend to focus primarily on majority–minority relations, Beyond Black and White offers a more nuanced picture by including pieces on multiracial/multiethnic identities, relations between and within minority communities, and the experiences of minority groups who have achieved power and status within American society.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Editor
  • About the Contributors
    • 1. A Critical and Comprehensive Sociological Theory of Race and Racism; Tanya Golash-Boza
    • 2. The Theory of Racial Formation; Michael Omi, Howard Winant
    • 3. Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation; Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
    • 4. Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration; Richard Alba, Victor Nee
    • 5. Segmented Assimilation and Minority Cultures of Mobility; Kathryn M. Neckerman, Prudence Carter, Jennifer Lee
    • 6. Race as Biology Is Fiction, Racism as a Social Problem Is Real: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on the Social Construction of Race; Audrey Smedley, Brian D. Smedley
    • 7. Back to the Future? The Emergence of a Geneticized Conceptualization of Race in Sociology; Reanne Frank
    • 8. Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Other; Jennifer C. Mueller, Danielle Dirks, Leslie Houts Picca
    • 9. Invisibility in the Color-Blind Era: Examining Legitimized Racism against Indigenous Peoples; Dwanna L. Robertson
    • 10. Who Are We? Producing Group Identity through Everyday Practices of Conflict and Discourse; Jennifer A. Jones
    • 11. Illegality as a Source of Solidarity and Tension in Latino Families; Leisy Abrego
    • 12. Are Second-Generation Filipinos “Becoming” Asian American or Latino? Historical Colonialism, Culture and Panethnicity; Anthony C. Ocampo
    • 13. The Persistent Problem of Colorism: Skin Tone, Status, and Inequality; Margaret Hunter
    • 14. The Case for Taking White Racism and White Colorism More Seriously; Lance Hannon, Anna DalCortivo, Kirstin Mohammed
    • 15. “I’m Watching Your Group”: Academic Profiling and Regulating Students Unequally; Gilda L. Ochoa
    • 16. Race, Age, and Identity Transformations in the Transition from High School to College for Black and First-Generation White Men; Amy C. Wilkins
    • 17. Out of the Shadows and Out of the Closet: Intersectional Mobilization and the DREAM Movement; Veronica Terriquez
    • 18. Racial Inclusion or Accommodation? Expanding Community Boundaries among Asian American Organizations; Dina G. Okamoto, Melanie Jones Gast
    • 19. The Place of Race in Conservative and Far-Right Movements; Kathleen M. Blee, Elizabeth A. Yates
    • 20. Negotiating “The Welfare Queen” and “The Strong Black Woman”: African American Middle-Class Mothers’ Work and Family Perspectives; Dawn Marie Dow
    • 21. Nailing Race and Labor Relations: Vietnamese Nail Salons in Majority–Minority Neighborhoods; Kimberly Kay Hoang
    • 22. Becoming a (Pan)ethnic Attorney: How Asian American and Latino Law Students Manage Dual Identities; Yung-Yi Diana Pan
    • 23. Miles to Go before We Sleep: Racial Inequities in Health; David R. Williams
    • 24. Identity and Mental Health Status among American Indian Adolescents; Whitney N. Laster Pirtle, Tony N. Brown
    • 25. Assimilation and Emerging Health Disparities among New Generations of U.S. Children; Erin R. Hamilton, Jodi Berger Cardoso, Robert A. Hummer, Yolanda C. Padilla
    • 26. The Racialization of Crime and Punishment: Criminal Justice, Color-Blind Racism, and the Political Economy of the Prison Industrial Complex; Rose M. Brewer, Nancy A. Heitzeg
    • 27. Mass Deportation at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century; Tanya Golash-Boza
    • 28. The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration; Victor M. Rios
    • 29. “Nomas Cásate”/“Just Get Married”: How a Legalization Pathway Shapes Mixed-Status Relationships; Laura E. Enriquez
    • 30. I Wouldn’t, but You Can: Attitudes toward Interracial Relationships; Melissa R. Herman, Mary E. Campbell
    • 31. Love Is (Color)Blind: Asian Americans and White Institutional Space at the Elite University; Rosalind S. Chou, Kristen Lee, Simon Ho
    • 32. A Postracial Society or a Diversity Paradox? Race, Immigration, and Multiraciality in the Twenty-First Century; Jennifer Lee, Frank D. Bean
  • Glossary
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Meet the Man Who Proved That Discrimination Can Make You Physically Sick

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-09-18 21:54Z by Steven

Meet the Man Who Proved That Discrimination Can Make You Physically Sick


Miriam Zoila Pérez

Dr. David Williams pioneered three ways to prove the links between discrimination and poor health.

An ever-growing body of research in the fields of public health, sociology and medicine is presenting a strong case for something you may personally know to be to true: Experiencing discrimination is bad for your health.

Dr. David Williams, a sociologist, public health researcher and African-American studies professor, is a leader in this field. He has spent decades creating tools that allow for the scientific measurement of discrimination and its impacts on health.

Williams started his career as a health educator at a Michigan hospital, and he says his work there led him to explore the links between individual behavioral changes and the limitations of a person’s social environment. From there he pursued a Ph.D. in sociology. Williams is currently a professor of public health, sociology and African-American history at Harvard University.

Colorlines spoke to Williams via phone about his work and the incredible body of research about discrimination and health. The interview has been edited for length and clarity…

Read the entire interview here.

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The concept and measurement of race and their relationship to public health: a review focused on Brazil and the United States

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2012-12-05 04:04Z by Steven

The concept and measurement of race and their relationship to public health: a review focused on Brazil and the United States

Cadernos de Saúde Pública/Reports in Public Health
Volume 20, Number 3, Rio de Janeiro, (May/June 2004)
pages 660-678
DOI: 10.1590/S0102-311X2004000300003

Claudia Travassos
Departamento de Informações em Saúde
Centro de Informação Científica e Tecnológica,
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health; Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Race has been widely used in studies on health and healthcare inequalities, especially in the United States. Validity and reliability problems with race measurement are of concern in public health. This article reviews the literature on the concept and measurement of race and compares how the findings apply to the United States and Brazil. We discuss in detail the data quality issues related to the measurement of race and the problems raised by measuring race in multiracial societies like Brazil. We discuss how these issues and problems apply to public health and make recommendations about the measurement of race in medical records and public health research.

“Race is a social construct, but as for other aspects of social stratification, with biological consequences.”

The notion that health is influenced by the social position of individuals has been known for many centuries. Nancy Krieger notes that since Hippocrates the relationship between health and social position has been acknowledged. It has also been shown that social disparities in mortality exist for almost all causes of death in most societies, and these disparities have been increasing in recent decades in several developed countries.

Race has been used extensively in the medical and public health literature, especially in the United States, to measure social differences in health outcomes and treatment, and its use has increased in recent decades. In the US, there is a vast literature that relates race to disparities in health outcomes, which shows that race is an important predictor of health status. “Blacks” in the US are disadvantaged compared to “Whites” on most indicators of economic status and health. Despite a reduction in these racial inequalities on both of these indicators during and immediately after the Civil Rights movement (the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s), they have remained large or have widened ever since. In the US, adjustment for socio-economic status (SES) always reduces and sometimes even eliminates racial disparities in health. A recent publication of the Institute of Medicine also documented that there are large racial differences in the quality and intensity of medical treatment in the US, even after adjustment for access factors, SES, and severity of illness.

In Brazil, there are fewer studies of racial inequalities in health. Batista, using data from death certificates, has shown that “Black” men and women had the highest crude mortality rates in 1999 in the State of São Paulo. Data based on census and national household surveys show that aggregate infant mortality in Brazil in the years 1977, 1987, and 1993 was higher for “Blacks and “Pardos” (“Browns”) and that it declined at a lower rate when compared with “Whites”. Martins & Tanaka, using data from the Committee on Maternal Mortality, have also shown large differences in the risk of dying due to maternal causes in the State of Paraná in the years 1993 and 1997, which disproportionately affected “Black” and “Yellow” (Asian) women. Maternal mortality did not differ between “Parda” (“Brown”) and “White” women. Dachs, using data from the 1998 National Household Survey (PNAD), found no statistically significant difference by “skin color/ race” in self-assessed health status after adjusting for education and income level. Barros et al., based on longitudinal data, have shown worse health outcomes for “Black” children in Southern Brazil, which is reduced after adjustment for SES and various other variables (marital status, maternal age, parity, planned pregnancy, social support, smoking, work during pregnancy, and antenatal care). The study results also suggest that “Black” mothers receive lower quality of care as compared to “White” ones. There are also indications that in Brazil racial inequalities are more common in treatment than in access to health care services.

The objective of this article is to review the literature related to the concept and measurement of race with a focus on the US and Brazil. We will discuss both the measurement of race in these two multiracial societies and data quality problems. We also make recommendations about the measurement of race in medical records and public health research. Although the use of race in public health research has been discussed in relation to definitional and methodological problems in the United States, the Brazilian public health literature has not discussed in detail how such problems apply to Brazil. This article is intended to review the literature and introduce a discussion regarding broader as well as country-specific questions and problems related to the use of this category in public health…

…Despite the fact that race has been used as a surrogate for genetic information until the onset of molecular genetics, there is no scientific support to continue using race in Public Health as a marker for genetic susceptibility. Parra et al. have recently shown that skin color in Brazilians cannot be used as a genetic marker, because physical traits have been shown to be a poor predictor of African ancestry in this population. In both the United States and Brazil, although the risk of sickle-cell anemia varies by race, race is not a reliable predictor of sickle-cell anemia…

…Despite existing controversies in the biomedical literature, it is widely accepted that racial/ethnic categories are imprecise and changing measures that are historically, administratively, and politically constructed. The salience given to race, as well as the meaning and the measure of race itself in census and health data, varies across countries and across time. The history of race classification in the US and Brazil are good examples of these variations as will be discussed later in this article…

Measuring race in admixed populations

The question of whether populations of mixed origins can be categorized into any simple, finite, discrete categories is becoming central to racial/ethnic taxonomy. Some societies have large proportions of admixed people and many others are increasingly becoming admixed. Immigration in the US, especially from Latin American countries, increased in the last few decades, making its population much more heterogeneous. The projection of the US Census Bureau is that by 2050 one half of the US population will be “Non-White” and 21% of the population will be of multiple ancestry.

Despite the possibility of answering questions with multiple races, the new OMB classification in the US is not a good solution for classifying admixed people. For miscegenation that goes back many generations, individuals simply do not know about their ancestry. Whenever people’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents descend from intermarriages of admixed people, “pure” ancestry becomes very difficult to trace. In Latin American countries such as Brazil where miscegenation occurred at very early stages, it is difficult for a large number of people to answer questions about their origins.

It can also be argued that people do not know their ancestry because origin played a distinct role in societies with early miscegenation. As a result, many people may not find a place in any of the selected discrete “races” categories. In the 2000 US census, 43% of people that identified themselves as “Hispanic or Latino” chose, in the race question, to answer “some other race” (, accessed on 10/Oct/ 2002). And they usually inserted their country of origin or an alternative term for their Hispanic ethnicity for their race.

When assessing their own race, recent immigrants from countries where race is not as central in social structure as in the US may apply criteria adopted in their original country. On the other hand, descendents of migrants are more likely to respond to the race question using different criteria from the ones used by their parents. The fact that this classification is based on pure-race categories of ancestry and the absence of a multiracial category increases the chance of misclassification or non-specification for admixed people. On the other hand, multiracial categories tend to be very heterogeneous, and the greater the admixture in a population, the lower the discriminatory power of racial classifications.

Therefore, fluidity and ambiguity of racial measurement increases as the population becomes more multicultural and admixed. The more admixed a society, the greater the misspecification and heterogeneity of racial categories based on ancestry. Bias will also affect classifications that allow people to be classified in more than one pure-race category, as in the new US classification. Multiracial categories also tend to be very heterogeneous. At the same time, US data on children born to Black/White unions indicate that infants with a Black mother and White father consistently have higher health risks than those with a White mother and Black father, suggesting that in at least some situations there may be health risks linked to the specific pattern of multiracial status.

The use of skin color may be a more adequate proxy for racial/ethnic discrimination in admixed societies than racial measurement based on ancestry. Ethnicity or nationality may also be more meaningful in societies with recent migrants…

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Understanding Racial-ethnic Disparities in Health: Sociological Contributions

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-09 04:22Z by Steven

Understanding Racial-ethnic Disparities in Health: Sociological Contributions

Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Volume 51, Number 1 Supplement (November, 2010)
pages S15-S27
DOI: 10.1177/0022146510383838

David R. Williams
Harvard University

Michelle Sternthal
Harvard University

This article provides an overview of the contribution of sociologists to the study of racial and ethnic inequalities in health in the United States. It argues that sociologists have made four principal contributions. First, they have challenged and problematized the biological understanding of race. Second, they have emphasized the primacy of social structure and context as determinants of racial differences in disease. Third, they have contributed to our understanding of the multiple ways in which racism affects health. Finally, sociologists have enhanced our understanding of the ways in which migration history and status can affect health. Sociological insights on racial disparities in health have important implications for the development of effective approaches to improve health and reduce health inequities.

Read the entire article here.

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Reconceptualizing the Measurement of Multiracial Status for Health Research in the United States

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2011-05-18 04:28Z by Steven

Reconceptualizing the Measurement of Multiracial Status for Health Research in the United States

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
Volume 8, Issue 1 (2011) (Special Issue: Racial Inequality and Health)
pages 25-36
DOI: 10.1017/S1742058X11000038

Meghan Woo, Senior Analyst
Abt Associates Inc.

S. Bryn Austina, Director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine
Children’s Hospital, Boston

David R. Williams, Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health; Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology
Harvard University

Gary G. Bennett, Associate Professor of Psychology and Global Health
Duke University

The assessment of multiracial status in U.S. health research is fraught with challenges that limit our ability to enumerate and study this population. This paper reconceptualizes the assessment of multiracial status through the development of a model with three dimensions: mixed ancestry multiracial status, self-identified multiracial status, and socially assigned multiracial status. We present challenges to studying multiracial populations and provide recommendations for improving the assessment of multiracial status in health research.

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Race/Ethnicity and the 2000 Census: Recommendations for African American and Other Black Populations in the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-05-03 04:23Z by Steven

Race/Ethnicity and the 2000 Census: Recommendations for African American and Other Black Populations in the United States

Amercan Journal of Public Health
Volume 90, Number 11 (November 2000)
pages 1728-1730

David R. Williams, Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

James S. Jackson, Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, and Director of the Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan

This commentary considers the implications of the assessment of racial/ethnic status for monitoring the health of African Americans and other Black populations in the United States. It argues that because racial disparities in health and other social indicators persist undiminished, the continued assessment of race is essential. However, efforts must be made to ensure that racial data are of the highest quality. This will require uniform assessment of racial status that includes identifiers for subgroups of the Black population.

Research also indicates that the health of multiracial persons varies by maternal race. Thus, efforts to monitor multiracial status should assess the race of both parents. More attention should also be given to analysis and interpretation of racial data and to the collection of additional data that capture characteristics linked to race (such as socioeconomic factors and racism) that may adversely affect health.

…As long as being Black remains consequential for every aspect of life, and as long as racial status continues to reflect differences in power and desirable resources in society, it is important to assess race. The view that we should all simply be called “Americans,” and that all other race and ethnic terms should be dropped, denies the power and status differences that exist between and among racial and ethnic groups. Thus, if the welfare of the African American population and racial inequalities in society are to be monitored more broadly, it is important to continue to assess racial status. This information should be used in the effort to eliminate inequalities…

…What are the implications of multiracial status for characterizing health risks? A few studies have examined distributions of health problems by multiracial status. They have all shown that health outcomes vary by the race of the mother. For example, Collins and David studied the relationship between biracial status and low-birthweight children born in Black–White unions in Illinois. In comparison with infants whose parents were White, infants born to Black mothers and White fathers had a higher rate of low birthweight than infants born to White mothers and Black fathers. Even after adjustment for maternal age, education, marital status, parity, prenatal care, census tract income, and gestational age, infants born to Black mothers and White fathers were still 1.4 times more likely to be of low birthweight than infants with 2 White parents. Similarly, using the 1983 national population of single live births, Migone et al. found that among infants born in Black–White unions, low birthweight, mean birthweight, and rates of preterm births were more strongly related to the mother’s than to the father’s race. Biracial infants with White mothers and Black fathers had better outcomes than those with Black mothers and White fathers…

Read the entire article here.

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