Knowing your place
Racial stratification as a ‘default’ starting position
in Critical race theory and inequality in the labour market
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Based on extensive empirical evidence from labour market outcomes of migrants in Ireland and analysis of semi-structured interviews, this chapter presents racial stratification as a ‘default’ starting position assigned to newcomers on arrival. It shows how the interaction of class and race produce a classed race to influence this default positioning of group members. The key features of racial stratification discussed within this chapter include its homogenising attributes, inter- and intra-group layering of group members, the available hierarchies and how migrants fit into them as members of racial groups. The chapter provides insight on how immigrants know and occupy their place on the racial strata. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of racial stratification on the socio-economic outcomes of Black and White workers and how it differs along colour lines.

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