In Chapter 3, I argued that post-racialism is the modern incarnation of an idea that has manifested itself in other guises, especially in America’s basic conception of itself. The thread linking these various manifestations together is the society’s discomfort with race and a desire to move past it. This is not to suggest that the desire is essentially cynical because the dark side of American history, which is represented by race, has been coupled with the bright promise of the “American dream.” That is, in the words of Jennifer Hochschild (1995, 15), with “tenets about achieving success,” and in the American context this has usually meant material success (and such symbolic and attitudinal correlates as social esteem and optimism for the future) attained through individualistic struggle. Theoretically, this negates race since that concept is particularistic and exclusive where, conceptually, the American dream is open to all, waiting to be appropriated by anyone with enough pluck to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Actually, as Hochschild has shown in Facing up to the American Dream, there is reason to be skeptical about the universality of the dream; nevertheless, the dream maintains its hold on the imaginations of Americans and immigrants, alike, dangling the promise of a better future.
KeywordsCriminal Justice System Social Distance Current Population Survey Crack Cocaine Residential Segregation
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