This book presents a sociological study of how and why racial prejudice against members of a minority group comes to shape what happens to important political claims and aspirations of the group. Lawrence Bobo and Mia Tuan explore a lengthy controversy surrounding the fishing, hunting, and gathering rights of the Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin. The controversy started in 1974, when two Chippewa Indians were arrested for off-reservation fishing, and persisted into the 1990s. It involved the efforts of the Chippewa to assert their traditional spearfishing rights, which met with angry, racially charged responses from whites.
Bobo and Tuan develop a "group position" perspective on racial attitudes that takes account of the complex interplay of racial stereotypes and negative group feelings as well as the vested interests, collective privileges, and political threats that form the basis of racialized political disputes. They explore whether theories that explain race politics in the case of black-white relations are applicable to understanding Indian-white relations. The book uses a carefully designed survey of public opinion to explore the dynamics of prejudice and political contestation, and to further our understanding of how and why racial prejudice enters into politics in the United States.
Prejudice in Politics is a unique contribution to the literature of race and ethnicity, and in particular, the literature dealing with racial prejudice. It is an important work because it expands the discourse about prejudice and racism in American society beyond the usual bounds of black-white relations. It will be widely read and cited by scholars interested in American Indian Studies as well as by scholars in anthropology, political science, psychology, and sociology.
This book will be among the most important works in the area of racial politics appearing in recent years. It offers important new empirical data, explores a racial conflict that has not received attention in the past, and provides an important advance in theorizing about inter-group conflict.
This highly readable sociological account of the Chippewa treaty rights controversy in Wisconsin (mid 1970s-early 1990s) might have been another insightful social history of similar moments and processes in U.S. history, but its unique account also draws on survey research, bringing an additional layer of nuance to the analysis. Sociologists Bobo and Tuan examine the politicization of ethnic and racial boundaries, then explore and extend the 'prejudice as group position' approach originally associated with Herbert Blumer, and more recently extended by scholars like Tomis Almaguer. Blumer argued that racial prejudice could not be explained solely by individual psychological factors, ignorance, or irrational feelings of animosity. Instead, group position feeds and shapes prejudiced attitudes. The book is an accessible but sophisticated account that extends discussion of dominant race-relations frameworks (often focused on black-white issues) to Native Americans, who are treated as 'racial others' in much the same ways that African Americans are, though with a number of specificities.
- 288 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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