Chapter 4 looks at the forms of banter and catcalling that were such a banal and regular feature of life in Neapolitan street markets. This sexualised and darkly humorous language was invoked on pavements as part of a performance of locally hegemonic masculinities, and in response to paranoias about racial intimacy. The differential experiences of the women in street markets – black women, white Neapolitan women, those working in the market or those passing through – revealed key insights about interconnected patterns of sexual conventions and racialised domination in Napoli. These conventions uncovered a melancholic recollection of colonialism and US military occupation – that continued to demarcate the city in subtle ways – and laid the groundwork for negotiating and managing contemporary fears around racial intimacy.
Towards a critical race theory of the labour market
This concluding chapter argues for a critical race theory in labour market inequality. Racial stratification is a default position ascribed to all citizens, old and new. The way it operates today means that racism will continue to be a permanent fixture in our society unless we deliberately reveal whiteness and white supremacy for what they are: invisible markers and silent affirmative action for Whites. This chapter discusses the limitations of current methods of addressing disparity in outcomes in labour markets across Europe and outlines the benefits, strengths and weaknesses of a CRT approach. It contends that for a deracialised, non-racist analysis and understanding of the labour market, three core elements of CRT become vital: the centrality of race, race consciousness and the voice of colour through counterstorytelling. This chapter reminds readers that racial inequality is not about where people end up but about where they start.
With race as a central theme, this book presents racial stratification as the underlying system which accounts for the difference in outcomes of Whites and Blacks in the labour market. Critical race theory (CRT) is employed to discuss the operation, research, maintenance and impact of racial stratification. The power of this book is the innovative use of a stratification framework to expose the pervasiveness of racial inequality in the labour market. It teaches readers how to use CRT to investigate the racial hierarchy and it provides a replicable framework to identify the racial order based on insight from the Irish case. There is a four-stage framework in the book which helps readers understand how migrants navigate the labour market from the point of migration to labour participation. The book also highlights minority agency and how migrants respond to their marginality. The examples of how social acceptance can be applied in managing difference in the workplace are an added bonus for those interested in diversity and inclusion. This book is the first of its kind in Ireland and across Europe to present inequality, racism and discrimination in the labour market from a racial stratification perspective. While this book is based on Irish data, the CRT theoretical approach, as well as its insight into migrant perspectives, poses a strong appeal to scholars of sociology, social justice, politics, intercultural communication and economics with interest in race and ethnicity, critical whiteness and migration. It is a timely contribution to CRT which offers scholars a method to conduct empirical study of racial stratification across different countries bypassing the over-reliance on secondary data. It will also appeal to countries and scholars examining causal racism and how it shapes racial inequality.
Comparing the labour market outcomes of Spanish, Polish and Nigerian migrants
This comparative chapter, which is a deviation from traditional ways of presenting data on discrimination and labour market differentials, converts statistical data to show the ways groups are racially stratified in the labour market. It provides evidence of racial stratification in Ireland by analysing the disparity in outcomes among migrant groups and how it is divided along racial lines. It utilises three main sources of data: a selected employability programme (EP) with a database of 639 unique individuals (N = 639); the Irish 2011 and 2016 national census statistics and various OECD reports of migrants’ outcomes in the EU; and data from 32 semi-structured interviews with first-generation migrants of Spanish, Polish and Nigerian descent. The conflating of nationality of descent and race in the society, coupled with the separation of White workers to paid labour and Black workers to unpaid labour, is also discussed.
There is a growing interest in Europe among researchers and race theorists in CRT as a methodological and analytical framework. While we all know on some level that society is unequal and hierarchical, what is unclear –which is the focus of this chapter – is who is at the top and who is at the bottom of the economic and racial ladder, and how are they connected? More importantly, how do we determine what group/s are at the top and what group/s are at the bottom? This chapter answers these questions through a step-by-step guide for researching racial stratification and the racial order. It also outlines some key considerations for researching the racial order drawing on insight from a racial stratification study of immigrants’ experiences in the Irish labour market. This chapter should be read with chapter 5, where a racial dichotomy of White over Black is unveiled in the Irish case.
Chapter 6 moves away from the everyday transcultural negotiations of the previous chapters, which mostly took place between street vendors and their customers, to explore the threat to livelihood faced by the book’s research participants during 2012. The chapter opens with an examination of the widespread racist formulae through which black street vendors in particular were framed as a threat in Napoli. It then focuses on the joking practices of transcultural masculine solidarity against the police as an infrapolitical talk, which both subverted and reinforced hegemonic ideas about black masculinity, migrants, entitlement and belonging.
How migrants change their place on the labour supply chain
How do migrants and people of migrant descent move between the different segments of the labour market? This is the main focus of chapter 6, which uses micro-level analyses of everyday experiences to reveal how migrants change their place on the labour supply chain. The chapter presents interest convergence, social capital and equal opportunity as three vehicles with which migrants negotiate their way through racially stratified societies. The way the labour market experiences of migrants align to any of these concepts has long-term implications for everyone, including the creation of racialised ghettos and tripartite segmentation in the labour market. Intersecting vulnerabilities including gender and age that foster (inter-)intra-group layering also form part of the chapter.
The introduction sets up the Irish case as an empirical roadmap for race scholars across Europe to research and uncover the often unspoken and obfuscated aspects of race. It provides insight about the genealogy of the study on which the data in this book are based, with a detailed section on how the chapters are set and connected. Critical race theory and four of its tenets are discussed to ground readers in the theoretical understanding and race consciousness underpinning this book. A bonus mind-map is also provided in this chapter that captures the complexity of racial inequality and the myriad ways race is nuanced in labour market differentials as a roadmap for thinking through and making meaning of racial stratification. It provides a useful guide for structuring a non-racist examination of society.
Napoli is introduced as somewhere from which to think about racism and language within a wider context of migration and austerity. Using the work of postcolonial theorists Edouard Glissant and Achille Mbembe, the introduction proposes thinking about Napoli as a place on the edge of the Mediterranean. It argues that, in Napoli, everyday multilingual encounters in multiethnic parts of the city were mediated by the spectacle of migrant deaths at sea. The edgy talk that occurred in the shadow of a Mediterranean necropolitics – where people were considered disposable and therefore killable – was infused by an understanding of what was at stake when communication was rendered impossible. Edginess constituted forms of talk that were precarious, risky and occasionally frightening, but also exhilarating, sometimes funny, and related to the possibility of survival.
Racial stratification as a ‘default’ starting position
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.