October 17, 2011
"THE RACIAL BRIBE"
Lani Guinier & Gerald Torres The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (Cambridge, Massachusetts, & London, England: Harvard U.Press, 2002) ("The toughest border patrol in this country may be the one that policies the racial boundaries between black and white. And no group has played a more important role, historically, in the way whites have policed these borders than the group known today as Hispanics or Latinoes. Whereas dark-skinned Hispanics . . . have been pushed into the black category, lighter skinned (or richer) Hispanics . . . have been offered a chance to become white, so long as they maintain their social distance from blackness. This off is part of what we call the racial bribe." "The racial bribe is a strategy that invites specific racial or ethnics groups to advance within the existing black-white racial hierarchy by becoming 'white.' The strategy expands the range of physical characteristics that can fall within the definition of 'white,' in order to pursue four goals: (1) to defuse the previously marginalized group's oppositional agenda, (2) to offer incentives that discourage the group from affiliating with black people, (3) to secure high status for individual group members within existing hierarchies, and (4) to make the social position of 'whiteness' appear more racially or ethnically diverse." Id. at 224-225.).