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Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, virtually all companies have antidiscrimination policies in place. Although these policies represent some progress, women and minorities remain underrepresented within the workplace as a whole and even more so when you look at high-level positions. They also tend to be less well paid. How is it that discrimination remains so prevalent in the American workplace despite the widespread adoption of policies designed to prevent it? One reason for the limited success of antidiscrimination policies, argues Lauren B. Edelman, is that the law regulating companies is broad and ambiguous, and managers therefore play a critical role in shaping what it means in daily practice. Often, what results are policies and procedures that are largely symbolic and fail to dispel long-standing patterns of discrimination. Even more troubling, these meanings of the law that evolve within companies tend to eventually make their way back into the legal domain, inconspicuously influencing lawyers for both plaintiffs and defendants and even judges. When courts look to the presence of antidiscrimination policies and personnel manuals to infer fair practices and to the presence of diversity training programs without examining whether these policies are effective in combating discrimination and achieving racial and gender diversity, they wind up condoning practices that deviate considerably from the legal ideals.
On February 1, 1960, four African American college students entered the Woolworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and sat down at the lunch counter. This lunch counter, like most in the American South, refused to serve black customers. The four students remained in their seats until the store closed. In the following days, they returned, joined by growing numbers of fellow students. These “sit-in” demonstrations soon spread to other southern cities, drawing in thousands of students and coalescing into a protest movement that would transform the struggle for racial equality. The Sit-Ins tells the story of the student lunch counter protests and the national debate they sparked over the meaning of the constitutional right of all Americans to equal protection of the law. Christopher W. Schmidt describes how behind the now-iconic scenes of African American college students sitting in quiet defiance at “whites only” lunch counters lies a series of underappreciated legal dilemmas—about the meaning of the Constitution, the capacity of legal institutions to remedy different forms of injustice, and the relationship between legal reform and social change. The students’ actions initiated a national conversation over whether the Constitution’s equal protection clause extended to the activities of private businesses that served the general public. The courts, the traditional focal point for accounts of constitutional disputes, played an important but ultimately secondary role in this story. The great victory of the sit-in movement came not in the Supreme Court, but in Congress, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that recognized the right African American students had claimed for themselves four years earlier. The Sit-Ins invites a broader understanding of how Americans contest and construct the meaning of their Constitution.
Introduction -- The political and the economic -- Border laboratories -- Contagion and the sovereign body -- Screening's architecture -- The jurisdictional imagination -- Interdiction adrift
Urban schools are often associated with violence, chaos, and youth aggression. But is this reputation really the whole picture? In Navigating Conflict, Calvin Morrill and Michael Musheno challenge the violence-centered conventional wisdom of urban youth studies, revealing instead the social ingenuity with which teens informally and peacefully navigate strife-ridden peer trouble. Taking as their focus a multi-ethnic, high-poverty school in the American southwest, the authors complicate our vision of urban youth, along the way revealing the resilience of students in the face of carceral disciplinary tactics. Grounded in sixteen years of ethnographic fieldwork, Navigating Conflict draws on archival and institutional evidence to locate urban schools in more than a century of local, state, and national change. Morrill and Musheno make the case for schools that work, where negative externalities are buffered and policies are adapted to ever-evolving student populations. They argue that these kinds of schools require meaningful, inclusive student organizations for sustaining social trust and collective peer dignity alongside responsive administrative leadership. Further, students must be given the freedom to associate and move among their peers, all while in the vicinity of watchful, but not intrusive adults. Morrill and Musheno make a compelling case for these foundational conditions, arguing that only through them can schools enable a rich climate for learning, achievement, and social advancement.
The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other industrialized nation in the world—about 1 in 100 adults, or more than 2 million people—while national spending on prisons has catapulted 400 percent. Given the vast racial disparities in incarceration, the prison system also reinforces race and class divisions. How and why did we become the world’s leading jailer? And what can we, as a society, do about it? Reframing the story of mass incarceration, Heather Schoenfeld illustrates how the unfinished task of full equality for African Americans led to a series of policy choices that expanded the government’s power to punish, even as they were designed to protect individuals from arbitrary state violence. Examining civil rights protests, prison condition lawsuits, sentencing reforms, the War on Drugs, and the rise of conservative Tea Party politics, Schoenfeld explains why politicians veered from skepticism of prisons to an embrace of incarceration as the appropriate response to crime. To reduce the number of people behind bars, Schoenfeld argues that we must transform the political incentives for imprisonment and develop a new ideological basis for punishment.
Die Wahl von Barack Obama im November 2008 markierte einen historischen Wendepunkt in den USA: Der erste schwarze Präsident schien für eine postrassistische Gesellschaft und den Triumph der Bürgerrechtsbewegung zu stehen. Doch die Realität in den USA ist eine andere. Obwohl die Rassentrennung, die in den sogenannten Jim-Crow-Gesetzen festgeschrieben war, im Zuge der Bürgerrechtsbewegung abgeschafft wurde, sitzt heute ein unfassbar hoher Anteil der schwarzen Bevölkerung im Gefängnis oder ist lebenslang als kriminell gebrandmarkt. Ein Status, der die Leute zu Bürgern zweiter Klasse macht, indem er sie ihrer grundsätzlichsten Rechte beraubt – ganz ähnlich den explizit rassistischen Diskriminierungen der Jim-Crow-Ära. In ihrem Buch, das in Amerika eine breite Debatte ausgelöst hat, argumentiert Michelle Alexander, dass die USA ihr rassistisches System nach der Bürgerrechtsbewegung nicht abgeschafft, sondern lediglich umgestaltet haben. Da unter dem perfiden Deckmantel des »War on Drugs« überproportional junge männliche Schwarze und ihre Communities kriminalisiert werden, funktioniert das drakonische Strafjustizsystem der USA heute wie das System rassistischer Kontrolle von gestern: ein neues Jim Crow.

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