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When Good People Do Bad Things: The Nature Of Contemporary Racism

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Chapter Summary

Covert racism, subtle in application, often appears hidden beneath/by norms of association, affiliation, group membership and/or identity. Covert racism operates as a boundary keeping mechanism whose primary purpose is to maintain social distance between racial elite and racial non-elite. The process, operating within both racial elite and non-elite groups, represents a kind of closed feedback loop. The patterning of covert racial acts, finally, suggests the operation of not only intentionality, but also norms, mechanisms, and at the most developed stage – institutions, structures, and systems. Nixon, as president, gave national sanction to this form of racism by making it the official governmental policy under the guise of 'benign neglect'. This chapter examines how racialized non-elites have been isolated, made invisible, or marginalized by other techniques of shunning. Within organizational culture one can make reference to specific code words that reflect informal covert racial dynamics.

Keywords:benign neglect; covert racism; racial non-elite; shunning



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