King Smith 2005

From Projecting Power

Introduction: Aims to explore the development of American racial hierarchies and how the political institutions (along with their laws) in the country have been shaped by people’s racial ideologies all through the country’s history. The delivery of funds, opportunities, resources and (most importantly) power has been highly influenced by the factor of race.

Key argument: racial orders thesis-American politics has been dominated by two competing orders (a set of White Supremacist orders and a set of transformative egalitarian orders).

Authors see all political institutional orders as coalitions of state institutions and other political actors.

Racial institutional orders- political actors have adopted racial concepts, commitments and aims to bind coalitions and structure institutions that serve interests of their designers. American state- composed of multiple institutional orders. America’s racial orders have become complex and breakable. Most political actors possess conflicting identities/ interests.

There have been major shifts in the degree and kinds of egalitarianism that have predominated among reformist institutions & actors. This is in part because of fluctuation of power distribution. Some important political actors have operated on two conflicting racial orders at once (ex: Booker T Washington, FDR).

Racial orders approach- theoretical framework that enables empirical studies of racial systems to falsify hypotheses.

Transformative egalitarian order- governmental institutionalization in legal guarantees of equal rights, sometimes implemented in judicial rulings and legislative statutes, often under the pressure of religious groups.

The racial institutional order approach helps explain features of American politics that seem unrelated to race (ex: congressional, organization, bureaucratic, autonomy and modern immigration priorities).

Placing Race in American Political Development Need for a firm theoretical foundation to conduct empirical research on American racial politics. Institutions:

  • Have broad but discernable purposes.
  • Establish norms and rules.
  • Assign roles to participants.
  • Have boundaries.

A political institution seeks to control individuals and institutions inside and outside bounds. Development- one predominant order gives way to another.

It isn’t necessarily helpful to separate the south from the north in conversations regarding state and national laws that perpetuated the master and slave orders

Those that did not support the preexisting antebellum white supremacist order likely only did so because they played a pivotal role within politics

  • For example, in 1857 with the Oregon constitutional referendum, in which 74% of voters rejected permitting slavery in the state, but 89% favored excluding Black citizens

This can likely be traced and examined through the context of capitalism, with laborers feeling anxiety over being displaced by cheaper labor forces, which further pushed an antiblack narrative

King and Smith argue that although there are distinct periods that allow the main institutions and initial formations of systemically racist formations to be traced through, the analysis of the existence of the organizations are not mutually exclusive from analysis of internal conflict of movements.

Resistance is more holistic and need to be analyzed through the lens of what it provided to the movement as a whole

Movements aren’t monolithic in this way, they have power and hierarchical orders, and movements can be at odds with each other trying to serve the same purpose

The Unseen Impacts of Racial Orders Race is a distinct division -(Katznelson). Membership in the White supremacist order has given workers a share of power. Theoretical deficiencies:

  • Do not employ theoretical frameworks that ask if governing institutions have been involved in racial conflicts.
  • Omit glaring ways in which racial orderings have shaped institutional goals, structures and political action.
  • Neglect internal and external politics of subordinated political communities.

Bureaucracy Post- Reconstruction Era Discriminated:

  • Against Black Americans in the hiring process (segregation & confinement)
  • Segregationist order legally

Patronage appointments played a key role in reinforcing the White Supremacist order. Questions about the character of government complicity in White Supremacists structures.

Congress Congress plays a key role in maintaining US racial orders. Disjointed Pluralism- variety of actors, interests and conditions shape congressional institutional change rather than a single body. Approach downplays racial dynamics. His theoretical framework has room for race as a “policy interest.” Approach fragments the White Supremacist order. Fails to grasp the reality that individual and party ideologies were significantly constituted.

Immigration Immigration policies are too often analyzed separate from domestic racial issues. The racial order promoted linkages across diverse political groupings. Major shifts in immigration policy:

  • Fragmentation of US polity that permits unequal patterns for lobbyists.
  • Tendency for lobbyists to to form around immigration policy choices.
  • Influence of professional experts' views.
  • Effect of international crises.

Race classification system reinforced the nation's domestic racial order.

Conclusion The internal dynamic of American racial orders have is key to analyzing American power structures.

In conclusion, race has been an influential factor in the organization of US politics and different racial groups have received different advantages and disadvantages by the legal system and its laws. Racial ideologies were used to construct and validate the social hierarchies but the unfair implementation of these same hierarchies also transformed the politics (and our society) over time. The historical analysis by Smith and King within the book shows the complex relationship between race and politics in the US.