Racial Stigma: Toward a New Paradigm for Discrimination Theory

Glenn C. Loury

in Understanding Poverty

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305197
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783519 | DOI:
 Racial Stigma: Toward a New Paradigm for Discrimination Theory

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This essay examines interconnections between “race” and economic inequality in the United States, focusing on the case of African Americans. It is crucially important to distinguish between racial discrimination and racial stigma in the study of this problem. Racial discrimination has to do with how blacks are treated, while racial stigma is concerned with how black people are perceived. It is argued that a so-called reward bias (unfair treatment of persons in formal economic transactions based on racial identity) has become a less significant barrier to the full participation by African Americans in U.S. society than a so-called development bias (restricted access to resources critical for personal development but available only via informal social transactions that are difficult to regulate because they do not take place in a market context).

Keywords: race; economic inequality; African Americans; racial discrimination; reward bias; development bias; social signification; social cognition

Chapter.  3672 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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