Synopses & Reviews
In this book, Feagin develops a theory of systemic racism to interpret the highly racialized character and development of this society. Generally, I ask what distinctive social worlds have been created by racial oppression over nearly four centuries and what this has meant for the people of the United States. Because it is the archetypal and prototypical racism in U.S. society, he focuses centrally in this analysis on white-on-black oppression. After an introductory chapter, he draws in later chapters on the commentaries of black and white Americans in three historical eras-the slavery era, the legal segregation era, and then those of white Americans. Feagin examines how major institutions have been thoroughly pervaded by racial stereotypes, ideas, images, emotions, and practices. This system of racial oppression was not an accident of history, but was created intentionally by white Americans. White Americans labored hard to bring it forth in the 17th century and have worked diligently to perpetuate that system ever since. While significant changes have occurred in this racist system over the centuries, key and fundamentally elements have been reproduced over nearly four centuries, and U.S. institutions today imbed the racialized hierarchy created in the 17th century. Today, as in the past, racial oppression is not just a surface-level feature of this society, but rather pervades, permeates, and interconnects all major social groups, networks, and institutions across the society.