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Speaking wisely and provocatively about the political economy of race, Glenn Loury has become one of our most prominent black intellectuals--and, because of his challenges to the orthodoxies of both left and right, one of the most controversial. A major statement of a position developed over the past decade, this book both epitomizes and explains Loury's understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today--and the origins, consequences, and implications for the future of these conditions.
Using an economist's approach, Loury describes a vicious cycle of tainted social information that has resulted in a self-replicating pattern of racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination. His analysis shows how the restrictions placed on black development by stereotypical and stigmatizing racial thinking deny a whole segment of the population the possibility of self-actualization that American society reveres--something that many contend would be undermined by remedies such as affirmative action. On the contrary, this book persuasively argues that the promise of fairness and individual freedom and dignity will remain unfulfilled without some forms of intervention based on race.
Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing--and, perhaps, seeing beyond--the damning categorization of race in America.
In [The Anatomy of Racial Inequality] Loury makes a striking departure from the self-help themes of his earlier work, defending affirmative action and denouncing "colorblindedness" as a euphemism for indifference to the fate of black Americans. [The book] offers a bracing philosophical defense of his new views. Returning to an argument he first presented in his dissertation, Loury argues that blacks are no longer held back by "discrimination in contract"—discrimination in the job market—but rather by "discrimination in contact," informal and entirely legal patterns of socializing and networking that tend to exclude blacks and thereby perpetuate racial inequality. At the root of this unofficial discrimination, he says is "stigma," a subtle yet pervasive form of antiblack bias.
— Adam Shatz
Intellectually rigorous and deeply thoughtful...The Anatomy of Racial Inequality as much as anything, might be considered Loury's declaration of independence, his fully articulated position as a neoliberal...Loury's book deals with racial stigma quite directly, but in its political and philosophical aspects as a cause of black disadvantage...The Anatomy of Racial Inequality is an incisive, erudite book by a major thinker.
— Gerald Early
[Glenn Loury] explores and explains the continuing struggle to achieve racial parity and social progress. His examination of racial stereotypes are particularly arresting, especially when one considers how many blacks—much to their detriment—not only accept negative images of themselves but seem to be living out and rationalizing them as well...Mr. Loury is a balanced interpreter of American society, so he predictably criticizes both liberals and conservatives for their "simplistic" approaches to resolving racial misunderstandings that all too often contribute to the creation of unnecessary conflicts between the races...[This book is] thought-provoking and insightful and the author's musings on a variety of sensitive subjects certainly merits our attention.
— Edward C. Smith
In The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, Loury assails "race-blindedness" as often (if inadvertently) indifferent to the cause of racial justice. In his view, the degradation of slavery in America translated into an enduring "stigma" that has marginalized the majority of Blacks and negatively affects their life chances. Evidence of this phenomena is to be seen in the vast numbers of African Americans languishing in the nation's prisons...Loury has written a concise and, at times, provocative analysis of the American racial conundrum—one in which he exercises that most central of intellectual virtues: the capacity to change one's mind.
— William Jelani Cobb
Books that make readers truly uncomfortable, that hold up a mirror to our hearts and minds and reflect something horrible and true, are rare. The Anatomy of Racial Inequality by Glenn C. Loury is such a work. A provocative dissection of contemporary white/black relations, it belies the notion that mainstream Americans no longer harbor ugly racial beliefs...His book is a wake-up call for everyone who frames the modern history of race as a happy tale of progress.
— J. Peder Zane
Glenn Loury's new book, The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, paints in chilling detail the distance between Martin Luther King's dream and the reality of present-day America...In page after page of statistics gathered over a period of decades, Loury reveals the true nature of subjugation by race in the United States...[A] scrupulous account.
— Anthony Walton
The Anatomy of Racial Inequality by Glenn C. Loury is a theoretical treatise that attempts to reconfigure and refocus the conceptual perspective from which social scientists construct frameworks for studying and explaining African-American social and economic disadvantage
He presents a compelling look at issues of racial inequality, which ostensibly deals with economic issues by drawing upon other social science fields such as sociology and social psychology. His approach is well conceived and "novel" in that it makes use of the insights of these other fields by applying them to broader aspects of the American social matrix than is traditionally allowed in analyzing economic inequality. He succeeds primarily because he does not restrict his analysis of economic inequality to those constricts and variables that can only be explained by quantitative analysis of economic data, phenomena, and trends
[W]hat is new in Loury's treatise is his contention that their racial stigma should clearly displace racial discrimination as the key conceptual approach to studying and understanding racial inequality
[ The Anatomy of Racial Inequality] provide[s] important contributions to our understanding of the challenges that continue to confront African-Americans socially, educationally, and economically
Loury's work provides ample theoretical fodder and a sound rationale for empirically testing and assessing the structural aspects of these same constructs.
— Larry L. Rowley
2. Racial Stereotypes
3. Racial Stigma
4. Racial Justice
Posted November 11, 2009
No text was provided for this review.