Today's climate of racial reckoning in the United States raises profound questions about the roots of racial-ethnic inequality. While protesters lament and denounce what they view as a systematically racist society that devalues Black lives, critics of the movement condemn the chaos on the streets and what they view as dangerous misdiagnoses of societal ills. The contrast in interpretations goes beyond race, however, with profound moral and emotional differences across the political divide. This essay reviews two major texts representing contrasting interpretations of racial disparities on the ``left'' and ``right'' in the United States. Applying the tools of political psychology, the essay examines Ijeoma Oluo's So you want to talk about race, and Jason Riley's Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed. It will be seen that the claims, counterclaims, and evidence found in each text reflect as much the political sensibilities of the left and right as they do sober analyses of the relevant evidence regarding racial inequality. The second half of the paper will engage in a discussion concerning moral and evolutionary psychology, examining the different moral foundation found in liberals and conservatives, such as Oluo and Riley, respectively, and how such foundations have developed to become part of our ideological identities and the way in which they impact our thoughts, core beliefs, and group affiliations. The findings have implications for the prospects of overcoming confirmation bias and finding common ground regarding the contentious questions of racial inequality and social justice.
"Race, Politics, and Justice: A Clash of Interpretations,"
Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 4, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarship.shu.edu/locus/vol4/iss1/3