King Smith 2005

From Projecting Power

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.

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.