Theses Doctoral

Structural Racism and the Explanation of Durable Racial Inequality

Cabezas, César

I argue that structural racism offers a unique explanation of durable racial inequality. However, the lack of consensus over the meaning of structural racism makes it difficult to theorize its explanatory power. To overcome this challenge, I develop an account of structural racism in terms of racially oppressive social structures. Structural racism explains durable racial inequality insofar as it motivates agents who benefit from relations of race-based advantage/disadvantage to act in ways that preserve those advantages. This motivational effect of structural racism ensures the support of enough advantaged agents to maintain racial inequality. I develop this explanatory claim with reference to a recent sociological case study of a U.S. high school in which white parents support social practices that reinforce racial disparities in students' educational attainments. Given its explanatory power, structural racism is key for developing a comprehensive analysis of the resilience of racial inequality, and for devising effective strategies to solve this social problem.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Gooding-Williams, Robert J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 8, 2020