Structural sexism and racism

Structural factors underlying inequalities are discussed today on Dollars and Sense and Democracy Now.

Dollars and Sense addresses the recent NY Times mini-article and chart of pay inequities between woman and men (as we did here).  In separating discrimination from “personal choices” and “men’s greater experience” the NYT article disguises the  structural sexism in the work place that results in very serious inequalities.  “Personal choices” is code for childbearing, and men have more experience in large part because they don’t share the burden of giving birth  or as much of the burden of child care, to put it generally.

Democracy Now has a very interesting discussion of one way in which racism is part of the political structure we in the States live with.  The number of jailed African Americans serves many interests, some of which you may find surprising, as I did.  For example, for a number of towns in upper NY state, the prison system is a major source of employment.   Because prisoners count as residents, districting may involve keeping the prisons going.  And the prosecutors in NY City derive a lot of power from the very harsh drug laws in  NY state.  Discrimination may account for the unevenness  of arrests, but other factors may prevent  problems like that from being adequately addressed.

Both sites are worth checking out!

4 thoughts on “Structural sexism and racism

  1. Hi JJ, Thanks for these interesting links! Interestingly, I was just reading today (thanks to H.) a piece on the problem of the privatisation of prisons:

    In short – under a privatised system it is profitable to have people in prison.
    This in conjunction with your linked article on the political clout that comes from prison populations makes me depressed…

  2. jj, thanks so much for alerting us to this. i think the point about prisoner residency is truly shocking. i had no idea. so, it’s a power-grab twice-over: minority areas in NYC experience a lessening of their political clout, by way of residents being taken away; and meanwhile, white rural new yorkers have their political power swollen by counting these silent “residents” as part of them. astounding. it’s one of those facts that makes me think ‘damn, this is just _not_ a simple issue’. anyone who thinks that racism is an on/off obvious phenomenon that’s either there plain as day or not (and i think there are a *lot* of people who think this) must think again when confronted with this sort of information.

  3. Thanks Stoat and elp. The Democracy Now discussion of prisons is quite shocking.

    I think we’ve blogged a lot about structural racism and sexism, but I’m thinking it might be useful to do so more explicitly, particularly now that people are getting convinced that discriminatory attitudes have changed.

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