Blacks and the Racialized State

Michael C. Dawson

in The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195188059
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Blacks and the Racialized State


Racism prevented the United States from early having a comprehensive social security system. Several mechanisms were used including selective implementation, while parochial programs “mitigated the inclusive potential of public assistance by institutionalizing multiple and decentralized structures of power.” The New Deal represented contradictory tendencies for African Americans. On the one hand, its relief programs provided some aid, albeit on a discriminatory basis to particularly urban blacks. Yet, several other key insurance, housing, and agricultural programs by a combination of outright exclusion and selective implementation would severely limit African Americans' ability to participate as full citizens in both the polity and in the private sector. Another consequence of the racialization of New Deal policies was a bifurcated welfare system.

Keywords: social security system; racism; selective implementation; New Deal; African Americans; agricultural programs

Article.  12357 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics

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