Description

This volume offers a critical, cross-disciplinary, and international overview of emerging scholarship addressing the dynamic relationship between race and markets. Chapters are engaging and accessible, with timely and thought-provoking insights that different audiences can engage with and learn from.

Each chapter provides a unique journey into a specific marketplace setting and its sociopolitical particularities including, among others, corner stores in the United States, whitening cream in Nigeria and India, video blogs in Great Britain, and hospitals in France.

By providing a cohesive collection of cutting-edge work, Race in the Marketplace contributes to the creation of a robust stream of research that directly informs critical scholarship, business practices, activism, and public policy in promoting racial equity.


Reviews

Although scholars have explored issues of race and markets for some time, the RIM project takes this research to another level. This book makes a contribution by being both contemporary and collective – by drawing the reader’s attention to current scholarship on race in markets and pulling this work into a single place. These are important conversations fueled by cross-disciplinary scholarship at a time when societies are riven by race-related divisions of power and privilege.”(Rohit Deshpandé, Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School, USA and author of Fair and Lovely vs. Dark is Beautiful

This book offers a wealth of valuable studies on markets and the ways that they are shaped by race. From long-standing patterns of discriminatory mortgage lending to the operation of race within digital marketplaces, these scholars make a compelling argument for how racial logics are intrinsic to capitalism, but also the ways in which they might be challenged and re-envisioned.” (Sujatha Fernandes, Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at the University of Sydney, Australia and author of Curated Stories: The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling

The Race in the Marketplace group are undertaking some truly important work on a subject that has been for too long sidelined in our discipline. This book should be on every scholars' reading list and discussed widely. I cannot recommend it enough”. (Mark Tadajewski, Professor of Marketing, University of York, UK and Editor of the Journal of Marketing Management)

The editors have taken advantage of a heretofore missed opportunity to position the topic of race in the foreground of marketplace- focused scholarship as unambiguously as race is positioned in marketing practice. Moreover, this book will inform scholars of race-related topics in a broad cross section of fields about the hidden influences of markets and marketing in their spheres of interest. As a public health scholar with a focus on health disparities and social determinants of health, I can envision the development of critical research and curricular initiatives based on the rich content this book offers.” (Shiriki Kumanyika, Chair, Council on Black Health, and Research Professor in Community Health & Prevention, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, USA)

This book is absolutely necessary because it alerts the world to the reason why race still matters in contemporary market societies. Even though most formal forms of racism (notably apartheid and colonialism) ended years ago, market still seems to work in one direction, thus negating all the gains attained through freedom, and perpetuating the abuse of human rights. This book is a must read.” (Muzi Kuzwayo, former CEO of TBWA / Hunt / Lascaris South Africa and Author of Through Mud and Dust: Marketing to Black South Africans)


Table of Contents

Foreword
Arlene Dávila

Chapter 1: Introduction
Guillaume D. Johnson, Kevin D. Thomas, Anthony Kwame Harrison & Sonya A. Grier

 Part I: Space and Time

Chapter 2: Making the Mass White: How Racial Segregation Shaped Consumer Segmentation
Marcel Rosa-Salas

Chapter 3: Race, Markets, and Digital Technologies: Historical and Conceptual Frameworks
W. Trevor Jamerson

Chapter 4: (Re)Visiting the Corner Store: Black Youth, Gentrification, and Food Sovereignty
Naya Jones

Chapter 5: Beyond Whiteness: Perspectives on the Rise of the Pan-Asian Beauty Ideal
Jeaney Yip, Susan Ainsworth & Miles Tycho Hugh

Part II: Racialization and Intersectionality

Chapter 6: Shopping While Veiled: An Exploration of the Experiences of Veiled Muslim Consumers in France
Ranam Alkayyali

Chapter 7: Constructing and Critiquing Interracial Couples on YouTube
Francesca Sobande

Chapter 8:  Marketing Marriage and Colorism in India
Komal K. Dhillon-Jamerson

Chapter 9: “Dirty Braids”: How Hair Is Disrupting Dominant Racial Narratives in Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria
Jess Vega-Centeno

Part III: Voices and Modes of Understanding

Chapter 10: Are Black Consumers a Bellwether for the Nation? How Research on Blacks Can Foreground Our Understanding of Race in the Marketplace
Cassi Pittman Clatyor

Chapter 11: A Loan at Last? Race and Racism in Mortgage Lending
Vanessa Gail Perry

Chapter 12: Crowd-Based Markets: Technical Progress, Civil and Social Regression
Lauren Rhue

Part IV: Neoliberalism, Markets and Marketization

Chapter 13: Cultural Justice and Collecting: Challenging the Underrecognition of African American Artists
Patricia A. Banks

Chapter 14: The New Economics of Colorism in the Skin Whitening Industry: Case of India and Nigeria
Ramya M.Vijaya

Chapter 15: Race as a Currency? Profitability and Racialization in French Healthcare Institutions
Dorothée Prud’homme

Chapter 16: Development by Markets: An Essay on the Continuities of Colonial Development and Racism in Africa
Samuel Kwaku Bonsu

Afterword
Rokhaya Diallo


Abstracts

Guillaume D. Johnson, Kevin D. Thomas,
Anthony Kwame Harrison,
Sonya A. Grier

Chapter 1: Introduction
Is racial injustice an indelible feature of a market society? Or can all individuals experience fair access, treatment and opportunity in all domains of a society through market-based practices, incentives and/or policies? These are some of the key questions this volume discusses. In this introduction, we lay the foundation of this discussion. First, we present the ongoing debate whether markets can drive out racial discrimination or whether racism permeates market capitalism. We then describe the Race in the Marketplace (RIM) Research Network, the motivating force from which this book and its theoretical approach derive. Finally, we present abbreviated definitions of key concepts and overview the chapters in the volume.

Keywords: Neoliberalism, Commodification, Raced markets, Racial apitalism.

Part I: Space and Time

Marcel Rosa-Salas

Chapter 2: Making the Mass White: How Racial Segregation Shaped Consumer Segmentation
The prevailing wisdom in many U.S. marketing circles is that whites do not comprise a discrete consumer segment. However, just because whiteness is not explicitly named in marketing discourse does not mean that advertisers have never targeted a white market. Over the course of the 20th century, whiteness has been rendered synonymous with the marketing industry's unmarked category for the average American consumer. First known in industry terminology as the “mass market” but currently termed the “general market,” the historical development of these concepts is inextricably tied to the longstanding practice of racial segregation in the United States. This chapter offers a historical survey and analysis of the racialized invention of the mass market in American marketing discourse and argues that by centering whiteness and separating people of color as distinct from the mass, American market research and segmentation practices serve as key sites of knowledge production through which the politics of racial segregation are both mirrored and maintained.

Keywords: Multicultural marketing, Whiteness, Market research, General market, Mass market, Racial capitalism, Middletown, Norm, Racial statistics, Consumer segmentation, Racial segregation.

W. Trevor Jamerson

Chapter 3: Race, Markets, and Digital Technologies: Historical and Conceptual Frameworks
This chapter provides historical and conceptual frameworks for understanding how racial difference and market forces interact with—and intersect within—digital technologies. The historical framework unpacks the legacies of stereotypes and patterns of material inequality surrounding capitalist markets and technological achievement as they relate to racial categories.  The conceptual framework examines prominent social media platforms Facebook and TripAdvisor to show how they help maintain racial hierarchies, participate in the formation of racial categories, and contribute to the commodification of racial difference.  Digital technologies play a key role in the proliferation of a globalized economy where racially marginalized groups are clearly and systematically disadvantaged (Pieterse, 2010; Goldberg, 2009; Harvey, 2005).   They have also created a myriad of new marketplaces in exclusively online settings that are measured in terms of follows, likes, clicks and retweets.  These newer digital marketplaces have a tendency to mirror existing racial inequality but are distinct in important ways (boyd, 2012; McPherson, 2012). This chapter seeks to explain what is relatively ‘old’ and what is relatively ‘new’ regarding these influences, and the frameworks presented may be used to understand and combat contemporary patterns of racial inequality in digital and market environments.

Keywords: Technology, Capitalism, Racial project, Racialization, Racial commodification, Techno-orientalism, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Tourism, Traveler’s tales, Digital white flight.

Naya Jones

Chapter 4: (Re)Visiting the Corner Store: Black Youth, Gentrification, and Food Sovereignty
Health food access continues to be a focus of research, policy, and activism on a global scale. In the United States, healthy corner store initiatives seek to improve food access and health outcomes, with particular attention to urban, low-income neighborhoods where Black and Latinx populations reside. However, a nutritional perspective alone deflects attention from changing contexts and from the meaning of stores for residents. As cities gentrify, who will these renovated corner stores serve? Do they abet or stem displacement? How do locals “make sense” of themselves and their relationships through corner stores? These questions urge attention to corner (or convenience) retailers from a critical and relational perspective, one that addresses power dynamics such as race and racism as well as the role relationships may play. In this chapter, I visit three corner stores with African-American and Afro-Latinx youth in their gentrifying neighborhood. Their experiences in Austin, Texas illustrate demographic shifts and how corner stores can be sites of Black relationship- and self-making. I draw on black geographies scholarship and the food sovereignty movement to underscore how relationships have already transformed local marketplaces. Throughout, I consider possibilities for research and practice that reimagine corner stores beyond food access.

Keywords: Corner stores, Convenience stores, Black youth, Food sovereignty, Black geographies, African-American, Afro-Latino, Food deserts, Race and racism, Gentrification.

Jeaney Yip
Susan Ainsworth
Miles Tycho Hugh

Chapter 5: Beyond Whiteness: Perspectives on the Rise of the Pan-Asian Beauty Ideal
Constructions of beauty are inherently racialized and also reflect the values of their particular contexts. In this chapter we explore the racial basis and implications of the Pan-Asian beauty ideal.  This ideal refers to a look that places particular emphasis on the face, rather than the body, and a distinctly ‘Asian’ white skin tone with characteristic blending of Asian and European facial features. Pursuit of this ideal, and its promotion by fashion magazines, modelling agencies and advertising has given rise to a significant market for beauty and cosmetic products and services that include skin whitening and cosmetic surgery.  Reflecting shifting responses to Western influence as well as relationships among countries in the region and their relative economic and political power, the Pan-Asian ideal circulates in an economy of image production as a marker of global integration and cosmopolitanism. This is not to mean cosmopolitanism via association with the West, but rather via the strategic incorporation of European elements with a predominantly Asian look for the sake of appearing worldly.  We contend that there are nuanced motivations and outcomes at play, intersecting with marketplace dynamics, cultural flows and Asian modernity that scholars are yet to fully consider.

Keywords: Beauty industry, Asian identity, Pan-Asian, Cosmopolitan striving, Skin whitening, East Asian imperialism, Facial surgery.

Part II: Racialization and Intersectionality

Ranam Alkayyali

Chapter 6: Shopping While Veiled: An Exploration of the Experiences of Veiled Muslim Consumers in France
Decades of controversies surrounding “Islamic veiling” in France have contributed to construct the practice as a racialized marker of Islam’s inferiority (Al-Saji 2010; Fanon 1965). The present chapter questions how such a context impacts the everyday shopping experiences of Muslim women who wear headscarves. An analysis of 20 interviews confirms and extends existing literature on consumer racial profiling. I show how veiled consumers experience objectification, invisibilization and intersectional oppression in French retail settings and how they cope with it (e.g. unveiling, “re-styling,” online shopping, “communitarianism,” co-shopping). In conclusion, I discuss the implications of my results for the study of consumer racial profiling.

Keywords: Consumer Racial Profiling, discrimination, Islam, veil, Hijab, France, coping strategies, racialization, objectification, intersectionality.

Francesca Sobande

Chapter 7: Constructing and Critiquing Interracial Couples on YouTube
Over the last decade, interracial couples and families are increasingly depicted in media and marketing. They are a strong source of public discourse, including discussion about British royalty and race relations. As the number of interracial couples and mixed-race individuals rises, it is pertinent to understand their representation in changing media and marketplace contexts. The online video-sharing site YouTube hosts related digital content warranting further study. In particular, the phenomenon of YouTube video blogging (vlogging) enables documentation of the lives of various interracial couples. As such, this chapter analyzes the activities of high-profile interracial couple video bloggers (vloggers). It explores how and why interracial couple vlogs are connected to issues regarding race, gender, sexuality and the contemporary marketplace.

Keywords: Couple, Digital, Family, Internet, Interracial, Intersectionality, Media, Online, Vlogger, YouTube.

Komal K. Dhillon-Jamerson

Chapter 8:  Marketing Marriage and Colorism in India
This chapter provides an analysis of pigmentocracy in the context of matrimonials in India by considering existing literature and real-world examples. By examining the role of skin color in the social spheres of caste and class as they relate to matchmaking, I demonstrate the intersectional ways in which women’s lives are impacted. In postcolonial and patriarchal cultural settings, skin color is a factor that is often considered in potential grooms and brides. The negotiation process entailed in arranged marriages is often affected by the perception of one’s skin color as fair or dark, with the former serving as a bargaining chip and the latter as a liability. Ads placed on an online matchmaking site are considered as examples of cultural preferences encompassing caste, class, and color. Other areas of social life that influence pigmentocratic values—including popular culture such as Bollywood and the skin lightening industry—are also explored.

Keywords: Pigmentocracy, Colorism, Caste, India, Intraracial discrimination, Matrimonial ads, Skin-bleaching, Colonialism, Imperialism, Bollywood.

Jess Vega-Centeno

Chapter 9: “Dirty Braids”: How Hair Is Disrupting Dominant Racial Narratives in Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria
This chapter focuses on Puerto Rican woman and the intersection between race, hair, and the marketplace. More specifically, I provide a conceptual framework by which to examine how the dominant racial narrative is being disrupted on the island of Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria via the lens of hair. I interrogate the concept of hair systems (Candelario 2000), demonstrating how they have a greater impact on the marketplace than just hair product segregation and availability, and introduce the term hair regimes as a more accurate representation of the sociocultural implications of hair politics.

Keywords: Race, Hair politics, Racial identities, Racial narratives, Critical Race Theory, Media, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico.

Part III: Voices and Modes of Understanding

Cassi Pittman Clatyor

Chapter 10: Are Black Consumers a Bellwether for the Nation? How Research on Blacks Can Foreground Our Understanding of Race in the Marketplace
Research on Blacks’ experiences and engagement in the market has the potential to serve as a bellwether for patterns of future market change, given demographic shifts that will radically alter the racial landscape in the United States. However, a content analysis of top marketing journals indicates a pattern in which Black consumers are peripheral subjects in the disciplines’ leading peer reviewed research outlets. This has important implications for what we know about Black consumers, but also it reflects racial hierarchies within the discipline. The results of the content analysis also reveal areas where the literature can be improved. Drawing on research emerging out of the sociology of consumption and economic sociology, I suggest directions for a more expansive research agenda that focuses on Black consumers and their marketplace experiences. Conceptualizations of race, racism, and the market advanced in sociology offer useful tools when examining the ways that the market is both liberating and constraining for racial minorities. This chapter, also calls our attention to the concepts of cognition, social networks, and social institutions, emerging out of economic sociology, in an effort comprehend the diverse drivers and determinants of Black consumers’ engagement and experiences in the market.

Keywords: African Americans, Blacks, Consumers, Race, Marketing, Advertisements, Racial Discrimination, Racism, Economic Sociology, Cognition, Social Networks, Social Institutions.

Vanessa Gail Perry

Chapter 11: A Loan at Last? Race and Racism in Mortgage Lending
Homeownership is often considered the lynchpin of the ‘American Dream.’ The largest asset in the portfolio of the typical American household is a house, which is most often financed by a mortgage loan. Thus, homeownership via the mortgage market has significant implications for wealth-generation and other long-term benefits, including improved educational and health outcomes, safer communities, and tax advantages.  For these reasons, homeownership is subsidized by the government and supported by a complex housing finance system supported by domestic and international investors.  Due to racism, discrimination, historical inequality, and the disparate impact of certain public policies over time, Black and Latinx households have had far fewer opportunities to accrue the benefits of homeownership than their White counterparts, and homeownership rates for Blacks and Latinx households in the U.S. remain significantly lower than those of White Americans.  This chapter focuses on the cumulative disadvantages of race and racism in mortgage lending requirements, and the ways in which these impediments undergird a persistent wealth gap that can only be offset by substantial changes to the market system.

Keywords: Mortgage discrimination, Housing discrimination, Redlining, Wealth disparities, Cumulative disadvantage, Fair lending.

Lauren Rhue

Chapter 12: Crowd-Based Markets: Technical Progress, Civil and Social Regression
Crowd-based marketplaces facilitate peer-to-peer transactions across a variety of industries such as ride-sharing and crowdfunding. Because of their business model, crowd-based markets encourage users to share information as a means to promote trust and ultimately fuel transactions. To that end, crowd-based markets create technical designs to encourage transparency and those technical elements also introduce racial identity into the platform. This chapter discusses racial disparities in crowd-based markets and describes the economic implications of these disparities. Although crowd-based platforms can enact changes to lower racial bias, such as automated decision-making, the platforms’ economic incentives and values contradict with enforcement of self-regulatory anti-discrimination measures. As the global economy shifts towards more crowd-based solutions, the influence of crowd-based markets extends beyond their user base. Society should act to promote anti-discrimination protections in these crowd-based markets, and there is a call-to-action at the end of this chapter for governments, platforms, and citizens. Plus, this chapter contributes to the growing call to examine the values embedded in technology instead of viewing technology as “values neutral”.

Keywords: Crowd-based markets, Crowdfunding, Sharing economy, Racial identifiers, Racial bias, Facial recognition, Automation, Crowd-based platforms, Crowdsourcing, Race.

Part IV: Neoliberalism, Markets and Marketization

Patricia A. Banks

Chapter 13: Cultural Justice and Collecting: Challenging the Underrecognition of African American Artists
This chapter draws on ethnographic and archival data to examine how political and aesthetic values shape the collection of African American art by black patrons. Findings show that while collectors take race into account when making art purchases as a strategy to address the underrecognition of African American artists, aesthetic criteria are also foremost in their collecting decisions. Although focused on the market for African American fine art, this chapter also offers insight on activism in cultural markets more broadly. More specifically, this analysis troubles the assumption that appeals to racial politics are enough to mobilize consumers to buy products and services in cultural markets.

Keywords: Art collecting, Political consumption, Racialized Political consumerism, African American art, Cultural activism, Cultural justice, Cultural consumption, Art world, Art market, Aesthetics, Cultural valorization.

Ramya M.Vijaya

Chapter 14: The New Economics of Colorism in the Skin Whitening Industry: Case of India and Nigeria
This chapter explores the new economic forces that have led to the rapid expansion of the skin whitening industry in India and Nigeria and the potential for mobilizing against it. I evaluate the effectiveness of the different strategies to resist this expansion such as public health campaigns and direct discussions of colorism. I argue that to be impactful and sustained, opposition to this expansion must move beyond emphasizing localized public health campaigns and make explicit the industry’s global complicity in sustaining colorism.

Keywords: Colorism, Multinational Corporations, India, Nigeria, Skin Whitening, Bleaching, Economic Capital, Whiteness, Neoliberalism, Global, Health, Mobilization, Counter-Narratives, Market failure.

Dorothée Prud’homme

Chapter 15: Race as a Currency? Profitability and Racialization in French Healthcare Institutions
As in many other countries, French public hospitals began implementing new public management reforms in the 1980s with the aim of controlling public health expenditures and increasing the financial profitability of healthcare institutions. However, public hospital patients often have characteristics that are in contradiction with these reforms’ requirements: a weak “mobilizing value” combining the need for time consuming care, long stays in health departments and problems of solvency. Healthcare professionals are therefore encouraged to select patients based on their presumed profitability. Medical, paramedical and administrative staff daily use racialization to assess the patients’ “care load” and budgetary value, and to decide if they represent a risk for healthcare institutions based on profitability criteria. Patients categorized as Roma are perceived as non-profitable patients since they are said to be poor, nomadic, homeless, dirty, non-French-speaking, undocumented migrants, etc. As a consequence, some specialized departments refuse to receive them even when they are sent by the Emergency Room (ER) department of the very same hospital. And some ER departments drive them away on false pretexts, endangering these racialized patients’ health. Budgetary results trump the principle of access to healthcare. In this way, healthcare represents a market in which race is a currency.

Keywords: Race, Racialization process, Healthcare, French public hospital, Roma People, New public management, Profitability, Selection, Exclusion, Discrimination, Equal access principle.

Samuel Kwaku Bonsu

Chapter 16: Development by Markets: An Essay on the Continuities of Colonial Development and Racism in Africa
As the capitalist firm has assumed more power in global affairs, the concept and practice of development has shifted from its colonial dependency on the nation-state to the firm. The resulting paradigm calls for development strategies that provide the multinational corporation with access into heretofore inaccessible markets, especially in Africa. In this paper, I examine this new concept of development within the context of its colonial heritage and attendant racism. I conclude that this new approach harbors colonial ideologies related to visions of African inferiority that have found residence in development practice. This suggests a perpetual cycle of dependence of the poor nations on the rich, a situation that does not portend well for the next generation of Africans. Looking into the future, I note the need for a truly post-colonial African development concept that would build bridges across races to facilitate the wellbeing of all, including the marginalized. Such development would avoid all colonial inclinations and seek total emancipation from racism and other colonial ills.

Keywords: African Development, Colonialism, Post-colonial Development, Base of the Pyramid, Colonial Racism, Whiteness.

The call for book chapters (in pdf) is available here