Du Bois Review Issue 13.1

Empowering "the Other"

It is never easy to be a member of a “marked” category.  To be mainstream, to enjoy membership in the dominant class, the privileged group why, that seems hardly a designation at all and certainly not a constraint or imposition.  The burden, bite, and sting of categorical distinction is something borne by “the other.”  It is those who are not full members, not one “of us,” those who are lesser and most of all among “the others” who understand and feel the depth of stigmatization, of inequality, of social constraint.  

Such “othering” is a multilayered and complex phenomenon.  It entails not merely the circumstance and lived experience of disadvantage in economic, political, and social esteem, but a profoundly compromised vocabulary, analytical, and normative framework for contesting such degradation.  From our founding, the Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race has been dedicated to rising above the veil of race, to seeing and reporting on the dynamics of ethnoracial differentiation in its fullness. 

Issue 13.1, “Empowering ‘the Other’,” assembles a number of pieces wherein the proverbial “other” assumes a new position in the analytical framework, or setting, or discussion and, in so doing, casts important and revealing light on the real dynamics of race.  This approach should de-stabilize invidious processes of “othering” and serve to empower those too often relegated to “marked” categories.

Read Editor Lawrence D. Bobo's introduction to the issue.

Read this issue online.

“Cultural studies must examine the particularities of Black fatherhood, but within the broader scope of culture and conduct of fatherhood. While many Black fathers face obstacles to fathering due to contemporary challenges of incarceration or deindustrialization, they also encounter, make sense of, and respond to changing cultural expectations and standards of fathering. An approach that embraces these various realities would keep researchers from discussing Black fatherhood as unique or deviant from more mainstream ideologies or practices of fathering.” --Maria S. Johnson and Alford A. Young, Jr.

“[M]odern racial alliances stem from the persistence of the political, economic, and social systems advantaging Whites built up during most of American history. Despite Americans’ official repudiation of legalized White supremacy, many Whites, being human, oppose policies that threaten advantages they now enjoy….So while the colorblind alliance includes many who disavow race conscious policies as a matter of moral principle, its numbers are swelled by others who desire first and foremost to prevent policies redistributing material benefits they now possess to others.” --Desmond King and Rogers M. Smith

“Historically, South African sociology has been a conversation among White academics about how to analyse Black society. What Black people themselves may have thought was never part of the equation. From its origins in Afrikaans universities as part and parcel of the system of colonial and apartheid domination, to its role in generating critiques of that system through class theory…the discipline never had Black thinkers as its central sources....South Africa needs more Black sociologists defining the curriculum—a challenge that will require more than the handful of Black sociology professors in the country.” --Xolela Mangcu

“[I]n our first interviews in 2007, which measured how Black political elites across the country were responding to Latino migration to their cities, we found that Black leaders in Birmingham were not invested in the new immigrants and tended to view them as an afterthought...[By 2013,] our data reveal a shift among these members of Birmingham’s Black elite in favor of immigrants, particularly on the question of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and in seeing a comparison with the Civil Rights struggle.” --Kim M. Williams and Lonnie Hannon III

“Despite recent trends in the literature, it is not accurate to describe Afro Caribbeans as a “model minority” vis-à-vis African Americans....Only one attribute favors Afro Caribbeans uniformly—economic autonomy. In the other four cases [examined], there is either no clear difference or the story is more mixed and nuanced than expected. Although African Americans and Afro Caribbeans possess similar model minority attributes, existing differences explain between 10% and 26% of the Black ethnic disparities in employment and income." --Mosi Adesina Ifatunji

PLUS: Robert J. Durán; Nadia E. Brown and Sarah Allen Gershon; Tomás R. Jiménez; James Thomas and W. Carson Byrd; Michael P. Jeffries


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