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The Republic and HBO's The Wire PHIL-255-01: Respectability Politics

Articles Exemplifying Respectability Politics

Harris, Fredrick C. "The Rise of Respectability Politics." Dissent (00123846) 61, no. 1 (Winter 2014): 33-37,

The article comments on the political issues affecting African Americans under the political leadership of U.S. President Barack Obama. Topics covered include Obama's philosophy on behavior management of African Americans, increase in inequality in the country and decline in economic mobility of most U.S. people. Also mentioned are the promotion of the virtues of self-care and self-correction, strategies to improve the social conditions of African Americans and prepare them for the market economy

Duncan, Garrett Albert. "Black youth, identity, and ethics.Educational Theory 55, no. 1 (February 2005): 3-21,

This article examines stage models of racial identity that researchers and educators use to explain the subjective processes that influence how black youth navigate school. Despite the explicit challenge that most models of racial identity have posed to racist discourses in the research literature, the underlying ethics of their developmental trajectories is constrained by a politics of respectability that subverts a larger project of affirming black humanity. I use interview data to propose an alternative model for how black adolescent identity is formed. I conclude with a discussion of the importance of rethinking black adolescence in the context of changes in communication technologies associated with postindustrialism and globalization. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Michelle Smith. "Affect and Respectability Politics." Theory & Event 17, no. 3 (2014),

The author discusses the issue of respectability politics, which refers to attempts by marginalized classes to police their own members and exhibit their social values as being continuous and compatible with mainstream values, in the context of African Americans in the U.S. She discusses the outrage generated by the police shooting of African American teenager, Michael Brown, and points out that the advocates of respectability politics often question the utility of rage of African Americans.


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Articles in Popular And Scholarly Periodicals