Welcome Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (UMassAmherst) and Host June Carbone (UMKC) (Slate.com)(author – Red Families v. Blue Families )

Documenting Desegregation: Racial and Gender Segregation in Private-Sector Employment Since the Civil Rights Act

Almost fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where do we stand in the fight for civil rights in the workplace? Sociologists Kevin Stainback and Don Tomaskovic-Devey have prepared a fascinating scorecard. Drawing on an extensive nationwide database that documents workplace racial and gender composition over the last half century, they conclude:

The legal changes prohibiting employment discrimination have certainly had an impact, with the biggest declines in racial segregation coming in the sixties before enforcement of the new civil rights laws but during the period of maximum political struggle and corporate uncertainty over what equal opportunity would mean;

Women made the greatest gains in the seventies as the women’s movement reached its height;

Racial segregation in the South, which was worse than the rest the country at the beginning of the Civil Rights era, now looks much like the rest of the country;

The greatest persistence of white male overrepresentation and black male underrepresentation in managerial jobs, however, still occurs in selected municipalities in the plantation South, such as McAllen, Tex., Greenville, S.C., Bennettsville, S.C. or Houma, La.;

White women, and black men and women have the best chance of getting managerial jobs on the West Coast, and New England, once a leader in racial integration, now lags behind much of the rest of the country in the inclusion of black men and women in managerial positions;

Black women, far from benefiting from their “two-fer” status, have benefited less than black men and white women from more integrated workforces;

As firms hire a lower proportion of white men, white men’s access to the best jobs, such as higher level managerial positions, increases;

The pace of racial desegregation has slowed considerably with lesser enforcement after 1980, and since 1990, considerable resegregation has occurred, particularly in high-wage industries, with a third of all industries showing greater resegregation between white men and black men during the 2001-2005 period;

Progress for white women, however, continued to a greater degree from 1980 to 2000 than progress for African-Americans, and as white women benefited from greater access to managerial positions, progress slowed for black men and women, with greater resegregation between white women and black women occurring after 1980;

In individual companies, white women showed greater long term gains in attaining management positions following class action lawsuits than did African-Americans, and the greatest gains came in publicly traded companies suffering a decline in share prices as a result of the lawsuit. Overall, however, black men and women and white women in companies without a decline in share prices showed losses in managerial positions in the company following high visibility lawsuits;

The strongest continued progress toward equal opportunities has occurred in workplaces with formal requirements, such as educational degrees;

The fastest wage growth occurred in the financial sector. That sector showed a pattern of racial resegregation for both men and women after 2000, but one of the steepest desegregation trajectories between white women and white men during the same period, even though gender based earnings inequality also grew substantially.

The authors amass an extraordinary amount of detail in presenting these conclusions as they examine variations by region, business and decade. They consider some of the background developments comparing expanding industries with contracting ones, and new firms with old ones, showing that such factors vary in importance depending on the industry, the time period, and the impact on racial versus gender segregation. They also provide in depth comparisons of the firms large enough to be covered by federal civil rights laws versus those exempted, and the varying effectiveness of EEOC enforcement against large firms versus oversight of federal contractors. The result provides a wealth of data for anyone interested in either the trajectory of racial and gender equality in the workplace or the effectiveness of enforcement efforts.

Aside from providing a treasure trove of information the book also poses a challenge: the hard won efforts to integrate workplaces are at risk. In era of declining government budgets, a neoliberal economic model, and the removal of civil rights from the national agenda, we risk the continuing resegregation of workplaces along race and gender lines. While the authors conclude that white women have benefited more than blacks overall, they also note that much of white women’s progress into managerial ranks has come in sex-segregated workplaces, and that even with greater gender integration, wage inequality has increased in the highest paid workplaces. The net result in an era of increasing inequality is the greater dominance of white men at the top of the economic ladder.

This poses a series of questions for the book’s authors and readers and for this salon.

First, what should happen next? What should the priorities be for addressing workplace segregation and discrimination?

Second, what lessons should we draw from this data about the effectiveness of legal action in addressing deep-seated societal biases?

Third, what light, if any, do these developments shed on the increasing wage inequality in the workplace, with blue collar male wages stagnating over the last thirty years, and white collar wages outside of the senior executive ranks and the financial industry stagnating over the last decade?

Fourth, does the employment interact with changes in human capital acquisition?

In the eighties, for example, the absolute number of black men in American colleges and universities declined while the number of white and black women continued to increase. Between the late nineties and 2004, the gender gap became a class gap. For high income families of all races, the percentage of male children versus female children who attended college increased and the racial gap in male college attendance largely disappeared. During the same period, however, the gender gap in college attendance increased for both whites and blacks in the middle of the income spectrum. Do these changes have anything to do with the employment patterns? As college education becomes increasingly unaffordable, how will that affect the strategies for addressing segregation in the workplace?

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

101 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, Documenting Desegregation: Racial and Gender Segregation in Private-Sector Employment Since the Civil Rights Act”

BevW January 27th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Don, Welcome to the Lake.

June, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

For our new readers/commenters:
To follow along, you will have to refresh your browser:
PC = F5 key, MAC = Command+R keys

If you want to ask a question – just type it in the Leave Your Response box & Submit Comment.

If you are responding to a comment – use the Reply button under the number, then type your response in the box, Submit Comment.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I’m delighted to be here. Don, I really enjoyed the book.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Bev, thanks for inviting me and for all of your help getting this set up.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:01 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 2

Thanks for the warm welcome and nice introduction.

dakine01 January 27th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Don and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon. Welcome back June!

Donald I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this but do you think the role of athletics has any bearing on this systemic re-segregation? I.e., the high visibility of the minority students in a few fields leading people to think all is well so there is no need to confront the actual segregation?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Well, I have no idea. Perhaps, athletics is a distraction. But I think many of use see athletics as the exception, rather than representative of most hiring. In athletics merit and skill almost always trumps other considerations.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I think systematic resegregation has more to do with the neglect of equal opportunity goals in many workplaces and in our political culture.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Donald, I wonder more generally about your comments about the lack of parallelism in our experiences. So the conventional wisdom is that African-Americans, if they experience one of a thousand interactions with white people as racist, perceive this as the existence of racism, whereas most white who aren’t racist will never witness an act of racism against an African-American. You comment on how that shapes our perceptions of work-place favoritism in the other direction as well. Do you have other examples? Is this part of the problem?

dakine01 January 27th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier for folks to follow the conversation.

Note: some browsers do not like to let the Reply function correctly if it is pressed after a hard page refresh but before the page completes loading

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I think most educated white people think that racism is a thing of the past, because they do not see themselves as racist and when they encounter racist comments there are no minorities around.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 8

Think about the math of racist encounters. If 1 in 10 whites is explicitly bigoted that means if you are black you may have a good sense of racial animosity in 1/10 encounters

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:10 pm

BUT most hiring decisions are done by groups of decision makers, so now the odds are no loner 1/10, but 1/N where N is the number of decision makers. The math gets bad fast.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I also wonder how you would approach the challenge for the future. I’m old enough to remember white male workforces. The idea that total exclusion on the basis of race or on the basis of gender is easy to see as wrong. What is harder today is that fewer workplaces are completely segregated. So the focus in on statistical representation. The ideal of treating people equally, on the other hand, is hard. We don’t usually hire solely on the basis of objective qualifications. And, if we did, there would be many occupations where the potential application pool would be unrepresentative. What do you think the priorities should be going forward?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Oh, but it is worse since most of us who are not old fashioned bigots still harbor stereotypes and other sorts of unmonitored biases, and these extend to gender as well as race.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 13

I think at the workplace level the priorities need to be managerial accountability and creating diversity in the team of people making hiring decisions. Good research suggests that this works in increasing women and minority access to good jobs.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I agree and that means that minorities will remember racist encounters white people never see and white people will remember the occasion when hiring went out of the way to include someone of color in a way they thought was unfair. Our perceptions are biased by who we are.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

But only about 1 in 8 workplaces hold managers accountable and an even smaller proportion have integrated hiring committees, so we also need to encourage firms to make fairness a priority.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:14 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 16

I agree but I have been in many offices with no agreement on what that means. Again, it is easy to get agreement that there needs to be some diversity, but not much after that.

Nancy January 27th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

As you point out, there are so many structural limitations (such as class action rules and cramped employment discrimination doctrinal holdings)on using legal rules to change the contours of the workplace, what should happen next? How can we get from where we are now to a new agenda? Thanks!

dakine01 January 27th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I do try to confront my vestigial remnants of racism and sexism when they are pointed out to me though it is not always easy to recognize and it is a difficult thing to confront in yourself.

But I do figure that if someone cares enough to call me on something, I at least owe them the courtesy of acknowledging that if they see something I do or say as racist or sexist, my proclamations otherwise might not be believed.

BevW January 27th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

since most of us who are not old fashioned bigots

Since the old fashioned racism / biases are not so visible now, how has the studies of racism progressed to recognize the subtle or soft racism now?

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

If the Supreme Court, as expected, outlaws affirmative action as it is presently practiced in universities, how do you expect this to affect the workplace?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 18

That is why accountability is important. Saying we want to increase diversity is not the same as telling managers that at the end of the year they will be evaluated based on performance. This is how managers are evaluated in other aspects of their job. People will find a way if they know it is a core goal.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:19 pm
In response to Nancy @ 19

Hi Nancy
We saw rapid integration of private sector workplaces in the 1960s and 1970s, most of it before there were much in the way of HR rules and before women and minorities had better access to schools. What we did have was uncertainty and political pressure. Firms change their practices when something in their political or market environment pushes them to do so. So, one level is pressure.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I have been on all sides of this as a lawyer who once represented the federal government in employment discrimination cases, as a Chair of Appointments charged with increasing diversity, and a faculty member often having to vote on controversial workplace appointments. I agree that accountability works, but I do wonder about the future. For example, I have seen organizations — universities and others — provide extra funds to insure greater diversity. Today, we face budget cuts and employer decisions driven by bottom line calculations. We are likely to see the Supreme Court make it easier to charge reverse discrimination. I wonder how we get an equal opportunity agenda taken seriously.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to BevW @ 21

wow, this is a mental workout for sure.
the most interesting new research is on implicit bias, which shows that many of us have subconscious reactions to minorities and women that we are not even aware of. Another interesting line of research can be found in Nancy DiTomaso’s new book Racism Without Racists, which argues that alot of bias is in-group, postive bias toward people like us.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:25 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 25

I agree that getting business to take equal opportunity seriously is not easy, but there are a couple of positive trends. First, the US will be majority minority by 2050 and even now white men are only about 35% of the labor force. Second, and this may be more controversial the Republican party is now realizing that being the party of white men, and fighting the culture wars agains women, blacks and hispanics is no longer a winning strategy.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I do wonder about pressure to do what. And I will give you an example. I was at an institution that cared very much about diversity. It added a significant number or African-Americans to managerial positions. Those who supported civil rights felt it was important to keep the pressure up. Those objectives were widely shared for the first couple of hires. At that point, the percentage of African-Americans exceed the representation in the immediate community, about equaled that in the state, but fell short of national representation. Yet, the numbers were small with a group of about 40 people, and the continued pressure did create resentment. When other groups also brought pressure — women, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans — these considerations seemed to overshadow other considerations. So the tensions grew. How do we manage this?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Did you notice in his inaugural address President Obama spoke broadly about equal opportunity? This is a theme that Democrats have been running from since before Clinton. Perhaps the new demographics will renew political pressure for equal opportunity?

Nancy January 27th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I agree with you about the political pressure, and sometimes economic pressure. Numerous studies, both in this country and others, support the market arguments in favor of diversity. The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission examined data about workforces among the top 500 Standard and Poor companies that were diverse along race and gender dimensions: “The researchers found that the stock performance . . . of the 100 companies making the strongest efforts toward equal employment opportunity was 2.5 times greater than that of 100 companies that rated lowest in EEO effort.” Other studies show that business with higher percentages of women and people of color on their boards of directors or in executive level jobs “‘outperform the stock performance of companies without women or people of color in these positions.’” Some evidence is emerging that while the largest corporations understand the business case for diversity, smaller and mid-size companies do not. Big corporations that appreciate the economics of diversity are developing diversity initiatives, hiring diversity consultants, creating supplier contracts with minority businesses, and even signing amicus briefs in support of affirmative action, as in Grutter. While most major corporations seem aware of the economic benefits of having their workforces resemble the demographics of the nation, smaller companies are less responsive to the need for diversity. One problem is that so many companies are smaller ones.

BevW January 27th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

This is how managers are evaluated in other aspects of their job.

I found this to be true, when there was an EEO program. I had the duties of an EEO Counselor/Investigator in a federal agency for 13 years late 1980s-early 2000s), and found that supervisors tried to follow the rules because it impacted their performance reports and the minority felt their voice could be heard, they had an avenue for their complaints. It worked for both parties.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 28

Managing resentments takes leadership. My institution had a strong record of promoting women and minorities into managerial positions, until a new top leadership team came in that did not seem to care. It quickly became almost all white male at the top. But there is little or no political pressure for equal opportunity and diversity today from outside organizations.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to Nancy @ 30


Thanks so much for your comments. The other factor affecting this is the growth of small business. Indeed, studies show that almost all of the job growth in recent years has come from small businesses and that one of the reasons is that large companies prefer to outsource at home as well as abroad. This cuts down on the need to pay benefits and it make it easier to expand or contract quickly.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

That has been my experience as well. The senior leaders who provided the kind of leadership you described also backed up the importance of diversity with resources.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
In response to Nancy @ 30

One of the things I would really like to see is the EEOC issue a diveristy report card based on real data. I think we would find that SOME, but not all of the largest companies were there. Most companies have diversity training, but most of that training creates more resentment and has a negative impact on future hiring. Many fewer hold managers accountable. The devil here is in the details.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:35 pm
In response to Nancy @ 30

Donald, one of the things I wonder about given Nancy’s comments is the bottom line. Companies care a lot about share prices. For law schools, US News rankings changed priorities and US News does not care about diversity. But other rankings highlight diversity, campus climate, etc. Do you think rankings are a good way or a bad way to generate pressure?

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Perhaps this report card is a ranking?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

When I said EEO report card, I meant one that publicly named companies, cities and industries with good and bad records. The federal government collect and releases company data on toxic emissions, workplace injuries, and insider trading, but not on employment diversity.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 36

Rankings change behavior, for good or bad. Rankings associated with powerful actors are even more influential. This is why I would like to see the EEOC do it. Right now the EEOC mostly responds to complaints, at the very least they could do their own internal rankings of companies with good and bad, improving and deteriorating, track records and target strategically. This is true of OFCCP as well, this is the office responsible for affirmative action among federal contractors

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I like this, and it could serve as an employment guide. The best and worst places to work as a white woman, etc. When I was looking for jobs years ago, I was surprised to find that the places that already had lots of women were more likely to interview me than the places that had few women. I thought they would want diversity.

Nancy January 27th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

The report card is a great idea! I think the NAACP has created a diversity report card with EEO-1 data that all employers covered by federal statutes must report, but if I recall, it only covered a small number of companies in a narrow slice of something like the hotel industry.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

You could suggest that a magazine do it. US News has made a lot of money ranking higher education. If the rankings were admissible in court (a complex issue in itself), they would get attention.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:43 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 40

There is very good evidence that more diverse workplaces are likely to recreate that diversity. There is some of that in book, but my colleague Fidan Kurtulis and I have some research that shows the more white men in management the more white men get hired in the next round, this is true for white women, black men, and black women as well. Interestingly black men and black women in management also lead to more hiring of black men and women in other skilled jobs, breaking down lots of barriers.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
In response to Nancy @ 41

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated that data on private sector employment be collected, but also said they were to be confidential. This was the deal the private sector firms, mostly large federal contractors, struck to support the Civil Rights Act. So now, researches like me get access to the data with confidentiality requirements. So, we would have to change the law. I agree something real public like USNews would be ideal.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:51 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 42

Now EEOC data are admissible in court, and the Wal-Mart case had a clever comparison of women in management in Wal-Mart to other large retailers in the same community. I would love to see an on-line portal where you could compare workplaces or companies to others in the same industry or community. Just like stock price comparisons!

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

I liked the part of your book that developed the relationship between managers and the rest of the workplace. Naomi Cahn at GW and I have also been looked at the data on the gendered wage gap. It has been increasing for women college grads and shrinking for all other women. When we looked at the data on medicine or law firms, we also saw that the big gaps were at the top. Law firms used to have a single class of equity partners and when they did, the gender gap was relatively small. Now the top partners make extraordinary amounts and they tend to be much more likely to be male than 20 years ago. Not sure about the racial breakdown, but I’d be surprised if there were many blacks in the group. So greater inequality has increased the gender differences at the top.

Our guess is that greater inequality and greater insecurity (law firm finances are more precarious these days) increases the concentration of white males in management positions. I know you looked at some firm characteristics; is this consistent with your findings?

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Yes, and a firm with a bad rep would have trouble hiring. I like it!

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 2:58 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 46

There is a pretty stable finding in the literature including some of my own work, where inequality is higher so are gender, racial and immigrant pay gaps. Even in Sweden I have found that the immigrant-native pay gap grows with increased workplace wage inequality. This is partly because segregation between jobs is associated with more extreme pay differences, but also because women and minorities tend to get access to the bottom of the good job hierarchy.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I think the rise in inequality, the movement to a winner take all economy, has also made us more individualistic, less likely to take into account goals associated with being citizens who share a civic project. It becomes easier to ignore those left behind and pretend it is somehow simply a natural market process.

Nancy January 27th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Just a thank you to Donald and June–this has been incredibly interesting!

dakine01 January 27th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
In response to Nancy @ 50

still has almost an hour to go :})

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Interesting. We’ve been curious about the causal links between greater inequality, the family, and the decline in good blue collar jobs. One of the theories we are exploring is that the neo-liberal model encourages competition and greater hierarchy, and then uses the results to justify the differences. So, e.g., CEO pay has gone up with more attention to stock options, and the stock options make it easier for CEO’s to cash in their holdings. That emphasis then ties CEO evaluations to share prices. And the CEO’s in turn use bonuses, tied to artificial short term measures, to change employee incentives. The result places a premium on short term earnings or stock fluctuations, all of which create an incentive not to invest in workers. Have you looked at any of this?

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:05 pm
In response to Nancy @ 50

Thank you for participating. Great questions!

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 51

This has been a exciting hour, I am wondering if there are any lurkers out there, thinking we are missing something important?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 52

I am working on these same issues. In fact, I’ll be at a conference at GW law school Feb 6-7 on Regulation and Financialization, but my paper is about the link to growing inequality.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 52

My student Ken-Hou Lin has some very good evidence that among the largest firms that declines in employment, especially blue-collar employment, are tied to share-holder value financial strategies.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

We would love to see it, if we can get a copy. I will mention this to Naomi.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Getting back to the diversity issues, we also have some good evidence that industries that have declining white make employment have greater than expected growth in inequality among workers and executive compensation.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I am happy to continue but have no way to know who is out there.

Dearie January 27th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Don@#24…. I’m sure I’m not the only lurker. I, for one, am suffering outrage fatigue about the state of our nation and end up asking again and again, “What can we do?” I think many of us just feel powerless as we see the old-white-male contingent scrambling to grab the most they can get before they get outnumbered or die off.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

We would love to see the paper if it is available.

Dearie January 27th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Ooops, Don @54, of course.

CTuttle January 27th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Aloha, Donald and June…! Mahalo for all your efforts in exposing our persistent discrimnatory behaviors…!

Being a Football fan, I was pleasantly surprised to hear recently that the NFL Commissioner was opening an ‘investigation’ into the dearth of Black head coaches, in this year’s extraordinary Coaching Carousel in the League, of which, not a single Black was hired…! Any thoughts…?

tuezday January 27th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I’m lurking too. I’m finding this to be a fascinating discussion.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:16 pm
In response to Dearie @ 60

Dearie, you will not be outnumbered. White men’s power over institutions and our imaginations will wane. It is simple demography. To help speed things up, white women in particular are outperforming white men in most educational realms. As firms become more performance driven and use real metrics, not impressionistic biases, I think we will see progress.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:18 pm
In response to Dearie @ 60

Stay outraged. One of things we found in doing research on the family is how perverse the incentives have become. Even in our own little insular world of the academy, the pressures today are to give scholarships to high credentialed students to rise in the rankings and cut funds for the needy. The new model makes us all more insecure, which makes it harder to look out for those left out. We are all worse off as a result.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:18 pm


Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:19 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 64

I watch European soccer. There the investigations are into racist slurs by players and fans. I think that in some way the cultural rejection of racism and sexism has progressed further than our ability to do something about them. But someone in leadership taking control and challenging the status quo is always a place to start.

BevW January 27th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

With the financial crisis in 2008 and on-going, with terrible unemployment in all sectors, do you think this will set back equality in the workplace for women and minorities. So many people were let go, and hiring is so slow now.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Earlier I said rankings are powerful. In law the ranking of law schools have become incredibly perverse. One of the things we find in our research is that when firms screen on observable credentials women and minorities get access to better jobs.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

By the way, we just took a look at the gender gap in college attendance. Turns out to be a class gap. In 2004, for families over $70K, the percentage of their children at college who were male was 49%. For blacks, it was 48%, and for both groups, the percentages had risen from the nineties. For Latinos, it was the same as whites.

For those below, $70K, however, the percentage of the kids in college who were male had been falling, and for most groups below $70k, it was around 58/42. For the poorest blacks, it was 64 women/36 men, an increase from 15 years ago.

So the gender gap is really turning out to be a gender/class gap.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:24 pm
In response to BevW @ 70

I think that most of the private sector and much of government abandoned equal opportunity goals long before the current crisis. So no, I don’t think economic recovery or breaking up the banks, or investing is renewable energy will help. I do think that party competition for women and minority votes will provide the opportunity for political pressure to reassert itself.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

But I wonder if that is undercut by greater hierarchy? Is the perception of “star status” more likely to favor males? In mid-ranked law schools, in contrast, we have no trouble (on either end of the hiring process) hiring women. Diversity is more complex.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

The Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of sex, not because that was a goal but to derail the passage of the bill. It passed anyway and second wave feminism was born. Political opportunity in this case created a movement, which then changed who went to univeristy of who could become a manager (or lawyer). This will happen again, maybe soon?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:28 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 74

Two ideas, one about hierachy and one about complexity.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 74

That is, the new pool will be affected by human capital investment. The group Robert Putnam is associated is finding that the racial gap in performance used to be bigger than the class gap. Today the class gap within each race is bigger than the class gap in things like children’s cognitive achievement and participation in enrichment activities. This will affect the ability of the next generation to compete, assuming an equal playing field.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The more hierarchy or inequality in a system the stronger the influence of status distinctions and the motive for both in-group and out-group bias.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

How do you see class fitting into the new political scene?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Fifty years ago we had little complexity on the basis of race and gender. Those distinctions were strongly institutionalized and status differences were expected and enforces in all realms. Now the bright lines are blurred and distinctions are contested. Now there are educational and authority variation among women and minorities leading to lots of complexity. My new idea is there are now as many gender (or race) pay gaps as there are workplaces.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:35 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 79

There are two ways of thinking about class. The most common is the resources associated with the family you are born into. These are the financial and educational resources associated with your parents. There are no gender gaps in class resources. There are race gaps, but class advantaged minorities get to use those class advantages in school and elsewhere.

The other face of class is authority, skill and earnings in the workplace. These are actually easier to change than family class. You just need affirmative action in hiring and promotion, employer provided training and narrowed income inequality. Well not so easy, but we can point to historical examples.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:38 pm

One of my thoughts was that the height of the civil rights movement occurred at a point of relative prosperity and equality. That means both that most people were more secure and that the exclusion of African-Americans was glaring and inexcusable.

I think women are somewhat different. I think what happened with us was that the economy changed to create greater demand for women’s labor (services, etc.) and that technology made it unnecessary to keep someone at home. So you had a long term transformation of the relationship between home and market.

Both both used the same tactics.

Today, I wonder if inequality rather than intentional discrimination isn’t the giant in the room.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:39 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 79

I was just talking with a colleague, Nancy Folbre about this yesterday. If Republicans stop campaigning on gender and race, this might make the class distinctions between the parties more clear. It might even get people to mobilize around their their class interest, rather than their gender or racial identity. This might move the small business people away from Republicans,leaving only the big owners and high earners. Ah, but nothing is ever that static!

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I agree, but again I wonder if greater inequality, like US News Rankings, doesn’t make the elite feel more insecure. My slogan is turn Mitt into George. Mitt Romney seems to think that the sign of success is the size of his bank accounts in the Cayman Island. George Romney would have thought the mark of his success was the health of American Motors. If our CEO’s cared about the institutions they oversee, rather than the size of their bonuses, we would be better able to change things. If their bonuses depend on yearly earnings or share fluctuations, they will not care about workers, much less equality.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

My husband is Bill Black, who is often on Firedog Lake. He is furious at the Obama Administration for not taking on Wall Street. I have accompanied him to talks in rural Missouri and it’s fascinating. The Tea Party buys into his message about Wall St. almost as much as the Progressive Left. But the Tea Party is being sold a bill of goods, that the answer to corrupt government is less government. That means neither party, outside of Elizabeth Warren and a few others, addresses these concerns.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:44 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 82

Yes, when inequality is low there is less to fight over. But inequality is a policy choice. In the US tax policy, collective bargaining law, health policy, minimum wage policy, benefits policy, all encourage the creation of a high inequality society. I don’t think it is an either or, there is some intentional discrimination, lots of subtle, cumulative bias, and a winner take all society. All of them make us a poorer, weaker, less moral society.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:47 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 84

Prior to about 1980 this country rewarded CEOs for growing employment and market share. Since the shareholder value movement and the more general financialization of the economy, rewards go for return on investment, so CEOs reduce numerator by investing in financial assets and the denominator by replacing investment in machines and factories with debt based financing. The incentives are perverse to their core.

Dearie January 27th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Don@86: And with the religious (Ha!) right going after voting rights and trying to subvert voting and secure forever Republican rule, there doesn’t appear to be much hope for change. And, yes, Obama’s DOJ failing to bring down some of the corrupt bankers has simply made things worse, in my opinion. I do not see anything to be hopeful about in the foreseeable future. Do you?

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:49 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 85

One story I heard from Bob Kuttner was that Obama was caught by surprise when it looked like he was going to beat Hillary. He had no economic team, and so just got Larry Summers and the rest of the Clinton crowd who had been central to the whole financialization crowd. Bad, bad choices. Bad advice. But the good news is Obama got almost no money from Wall Street this last time around.

BevW January 27th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

As we come to the end of this fascinating Book Salon discussion,

Don, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and desegregation since the Civil Rights Act.

June, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Don’s website (UMassAmherst) and book (Documenting Desegregation)

June’s website (UMKC) and book (Red Families v. Blue Families)

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

FDL Book Salon has a Facebook page too

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

On this point, I think that the GOP has deliberately emphasized race and social issues to forestall what should be a populist uprising. My conservative friends in Kansas definitely get that the financial elite has stacked the deck and that they do not act to promote our interests. But they believe that the Democrats are complicit and the government is responsible for much of it.

More importantly for your book, I also think that the rugged individualist mindset, the government is the problem rhetoric, and racism have merged. Tom Frank’s book, The Wrecking Crew, which followed What’s the Matter with Kansas?, gets at this point. Right now, the governor of Kansas is trying to eliminate the income tax, and cutting funds to some of the best schools in the country. Kansas public schools were some of the best in the country, but our doctor friends are beginning to switch to private schools as the budget cuts make government incompetence (public schools WILL be worse than private schools) a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In this context, civil rights enforcement simply plays into the conservative stereotypes.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:52 pm


Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:53 pm
In response to Dearie @ 88

The emancipation proclamation was over 100 years old when the Civil Rights Act was passed. I think there is always hope, lots of it, if you take a long term perspective. Even in the depression, the first reaction was fiscal restraint, making a worse depression. It took a while to get to the New Deal.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thank you, Don. I learned an enormous amount. I will check out the papers you sent. I also really enjoyed the book and will pass it on to my law professor friends doing employment discrimination.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:56 pm
In response to June Carbone @ 91

Getting back to my book, Please read it, or failing that there is a good summary and all graphs and charts at https://www.russellsage.org/publications/documenting-desegregation

What is the matter with Kansas? In my state, Massachusetts, our governor is proposing to reduce the regressive sales tax and increase the progressive income tax and send the money to schools. In the long run, Kansas will be a third world state and Massachusetts will be the western rim of Europe.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:57 pm
In response to Dearie @ 88

PS Don’t give up hope. We do have demographics on our side. Look at what is happening in California. They are even raising taxes and balancing the budget (albeit something that should not happen at the federal level).

tuezday January 27th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Thank you Don and June. Very interesting book salon.

June Carbone January 27th, 2013 at 3:57 pm


Donald Tomaskovic-Devey January 27th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Thanks June and Bev. This was fascinating.

Dearie January 27th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Thanks to both Don and June. Good work here. Appreciate your encouragement. :)

bigchin January 27th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

There was no good news in the re-election of Barack Obama…


Sorry but the comments are closed on this post