The invisible hands of racial inequality in the USA

By Fredrick C. Harris

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This article by Fredrick C. Harris features in the World Social Science Report 2016. This contribution explores how institutional practices perpetuate racial inequality in the United States of America. It explores how hidden mechanisms – which are on the surface thought to be ‘race neutral’ – actually produce racially unbalanced outcomes that privilege white people and disadvantage black people and other stigmatized minorities. The author calls for looking beyond the conscious and unconscious racial bias of individuals to consider how institutional practices and rules continue to perpetuate racial inequality, even without the backing of state-sanctioned racial discrimination.

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