Policing the racial order through the group favouritism continuum
in Critical race theory and inequality in the labour market
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By examining the Irish context, this chapter presents the favouritism continuum as the system through which racial inequalities, injustices and economic exploitations are proliferated in modern states. It outlines how the system operates through four interrelated structures. First is group favouritism, which ensures some groups are more favoured over others. The second is social acceptance, which determines where groups are placed on the continuum. Third is psychological implicit bias, which operates in racially stratified labour markets in conjunction with the continuum. Here you see how implicit bias produces explicit discrimination and how groups on lower racial strata try to circumvent its negative effect. The last structure comprises human contact – the connectors through which the racial stratification system operates. The chapter concludes by making three key arguments. First, that the favouritism continuum determines the outcome of actors by the position they occupy on the continuum. Secondly, that although racial stratification is restrictive, the outcome is fluid and changeable due to minority agency and individual mobility. Thirdly, the continuum is the machinery which maintains homogeneity in a heterogeneous labour market, thus (re)producing racial inequality.

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