The Enigma Of Diversity: The Language Of Race And The Limits Of Racial Justice

Paperback | May 15, 2015

byEllen Berrey

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Diversity these days is a hallowed American value, widely shared and honored. That’s a remarkable change from the Civil Rights era—but does this public commitment to diversity constitute a civil rights victory? What does diversity mean in contemporary America, and what are the effects of efforts to support it?

Ellen Berrey digs deep into those questions in The Enigma of Diversity. Drawing on six years of fieldwork and historical sources dating back to the 1950s and making extensive use of three case studies from widely varying arenas—housing redevelopment in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, affirmative action in the University of Michigan’s admissions program, and the workings of the human resources department at a Fortune 500 company—Berrey explores the complicated, contradictory, and even troubling meanings and uses of diversity as it is invoked by different groups for different, often symbolic ends. In each case, diversity affirms inclusiveness, especially in the most coveted jobs and colleges, yet it resists fundamental change in the practices and cultures that are the foundation of social inequality. Berrey shows how this has led racial progress itself to be reimagined, transformed from a legal fight for fundamental rights to a celebration of the competitive advantages afforded by cultural differences.

Powerfully argued and surprising in its conclusions, The Enigma of Diversity reveals the true cost of the public embrace of diversity: the taming of demands for racial justice.

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Diversity these days is a hallowed American value, widely shared and honored. That’s a remarkable change from the Civil Rights era—but does this public commitment to diversity constitute a civil rights victory? What does diversity mean in contemporary America, and what are the effects of efforts to support it? Ellen Berrey digs deep in...

Ellen Berrey assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, and an affiliated scholar of the American Bar Foundation.

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Paperback|Jun 26 2017

$34.69 online$39.00list price(save 11%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:May 15, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022624623X

ISBN - 13:9780226246239

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Table of Contents

Introduction
One     The Symbolic Politics of Racial Progress

Part I: Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Michigan
Two     “Academically Excellent and Diverse”
Three   Gratz, Grutter, and the Public Relations of Defending Affirmative Action

Part II: Housing Politics in Rogers Park
Four     “The Most Diverse Neighborhood in Chicago”
Five     Gentrification, Displacement, and the Color-Blind Opposition to Subsidized Housing

Part III: Human Resource Management in Starr Corporation
Six       “Diversity Is a Strength of Starr Corporation”
Seven  Diversity Management, Shareholder Capitalism, and the Biases of Meritocracy

Conclusion: Neoliberalism, Color Blindness, and Inequality in the Age of Diversity

Acknowledgments
Methodological Appendix
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Berrey’s is a crucial study of the way that expressions of multiculturalism and demonstrations of inclusivity have supplanted attention to organizational practices and cultures that are tied to ongoing inequality. The book examines the American orientation to diversity in a college, a company, and a neighborhood.”