Class structure and racial consciousness among black Americans

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2 Scopus citations


Analyses of class cleavages among Black Americans have taken on a new importance since the growth of a sizeable black middle class during the post-Civil Rights era. Less often analyzed are the cleavages within the black middle class itself; small employers, well-educated professionals and others in supervisory positions often have differing interests and beliefs. Wright's (1985) 12-celled class typology provides a means of obtaining a more nuanced view of the position and beliefs of the black middle class by defi ning class on the basis of access to exploitative assets. Using data from the National Survey of Black Americans, 1979�1980, a good approximation of Wright's class structure developed for a largely white sample is applied to a sample of over 1100 Black Americans. This indicates that the black middle class is more concentrated in positions with less access to exploitative assets than their white counterparts. An analysis of beliefs about black separatism utilizing this class schema finds that separatist beliefs are concentrated among the proletariat, while expert managers and the petty bourgeoisie are the least supportive of separatism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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