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The Other AmericaWhite Working Class Perspectives on Race, Identity and Change$
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Harris Beider and Kusminder Chahal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447337058

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447337058.001.0001

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The challenges of cross‑racial coalition building

The challenges of cross‑racial coalition building

Chapter:
(p.95) 6 The challenges of cross‑racial coalition building
Source:
The Other America
Author(s):

Harris Beider

Kusminder Chahal

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447337058.003.0006

This chapter examines the possibilities of building cross-racial coalitions between the white working class and communities of color as the United States transitions from majority white to a minority white country. Fifty years after the campaign for civil rights and the passage of landmark legislation during the 1960s, there is little evidence of formal and sustainable cross-racial coalition building at the grassroots or grasstops level between the white working class and communities of color. White working-class communities wanted to engage with communities of color but did not have the means of engaging across racial boundaries beyond a superficial everyday level. Discussions between different communities were “soft-wired” and based on fleeting exchanges in informal spaces rather than becoming “hard-wired” in a strategic plan that can create a framework for coalition building. Stakeholders were largely ambivalent and occasionally hostile toward engaging with white working-class communities to build effective cross-racial alliances. Similar to white working-class communities in relation to communities of color, stakeholders found it challenging to engage with these groups.

Keywords:   cross-racial coalitions, white working class, communities of color, United States, cross-racial coalition building, white working-class communities, racial boundaries, cross-racial alliances

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