Government and African American Studies, Harvard College
Professor Hochschild and our research team are working on a project that investigates how class divisions within racial minority groups are impacting political divisions and the discourse surrounding prominent political disputes in various metro-regions. Recent years have brought with them increasing class disparities within racial groups. These disparities are particularly interesting to study, as from them arises the conflict between maintaining group solidarity and pursuing individual interests. Because a person's socio-economic status tends to determine where they live, the quality of their life, and their political beliefs and preferences, this increasing class-in-race inequality has the potential to create significant political divisions within racial groups. So, when does an individual choose his or her own interests over standing in solidarity with their racial group, and why? How are class-interests impacting intra-racial-group dynamics? This research project attempts to resolve these questions by investigating policy disputes in four different U.S. metro-regions. The examined policies and cities include pension reform in Chicago, educational policy in Los Angeles, policing in New York City, and housing and redevelopment in Atlanta. Because all of these policy disputes have both class and race dimensions they provide the perfect window through which to examine class-in-race dynamics. The research methods for this project include analyzing relevant publications, news reports, legal proceedings and census data, contacting subject experts, and traveling to the cities to conduct interviews with political figures, academic experts, community organizations and other relevant stakeholders. As of July 2017, all site visits have been conducted. Qualitative data analysis software, Dedoose, is being used to code interview data and analyze patterns in the ways African Americans, LatiNos, Whites and Asian Americans of different socio-ecoNomic classes are dividing over these issues.