Kushnick, Louis 1938-
KUSHNICK, Louis 1938-
ADDRESSES: Office—Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, Dover Street, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Sociologist. Director of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, England. Institute of Race Relations, member of council.
The Role of Management: Nondiscrimination or Affirmative Action?, Educational and Research Foundation (London, England), 1968.
(Editor, with James Jennings) A New Introduction to Poverty: The Role of Race, Power, and Politics, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1999.
(Editor, with Benjamin P. Bowser and Paul Grant) Against the Odds: Scholars Who Challenged Racism in the Twentieth Century, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2002.
Contributor to Race and Politics: New Challenges and Responses for Black Activism, edited by James Jennings, Verso (London, England), 1997; and Race, Class, and Gender, edited by Margaret Anderson and Patricia Hill Collins, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 2000. Editor, "Race Relations Abstracts" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Louis Kushnick is a sociologist whose writings of more than thirty years are collected in Race, Class, and Struggle: Essays on Racism and Inequality in Britain, the United States, and Western Europe. The older essays have been updated to reflect modern scholarship. An American raised in Brooklyn, New York, Kushnick has taught in England for most of his career, has been associated with the Institute of Race Relations, and has edited the "Race Relations Abstracts" series. Kushnick is well qualified to write on his subject as it is experienced on both sides of the Atlantic, particular in the United States and England.
Kushnick's main point is that racism "has functioned to maintain class-stratified societies." Robert Moore said in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies that "there are key differences between the USA and Europe that Kushnick neglects." Moore also stated that "race relations are an important aspect of relations of economic domination the world over. But is race only about maintaining class domination?" In spite of some additions Moore felt would have improved Race, Class, and Struggle, he concluded that "this is nonetheless a book for our students, and in teaching them the connecting history ourselves, we will recover our passion for the intellectual and political battles that have been lost and our courage for those to come."
Donald E. Gelfand wrote in the International Journal of Comparative Sociology that Kushnick "stresses the role of capitalism in the growth and maintenance of racism in both countries and the inability or unwillingness of working class groups to confront racial antagonisms." "The consistent sabotage of working people's inclinations to collaborate for the common good is documented by close analysis of race propaganda and legislation in the United States and Europe," noted Mary Ellison in Race and Class. "The author also throws capitalist collusion with some aspects of desegregation into unusually sharp relief." Ellison called the volume "an invaluable book."
A New Introduction to Poverty: The Role of Race, Power, and Politics is a collection of seventeen essays that look at poverty from various angles, providing a broader interpretation of the root causes other than the usual single-factor conclusions such as personal choice or cultural poverty. Martha E. Gimenez wrote in Science & Society that the contributors "show the connections between capitalism, slavery, and the development of state policies and ideologies that maintained the oppressed and exploited status of African Americans after the Civil War and constituted the basis for the emergence of white identity and privilege to the detriment of working class identities based on a recognition of the common plight of workers, regardless of skin color." The authors follow the rise and fall of the welfare state in the United States in comparison with global trends. They study the decline of unionized labor, the loss of power and rights by nonwhite service workers and laborers, and how the division of work by race has undermined the entire American working class. The general conclusion is that the privileged classes have deliberately manipulated the working class for their own economic interests, and that poverty is not, as is so often alleged, the unintended consequence of national and global economic change.
The writers view the increasing poverty of single mothers and their children as a direct result of the breakup of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and address the plight of the homeless. Gimenez felt that poverty issues could have been further developed as they relate to the decreasing number of jobs that pay a living wage, the increasing number of menial and low-wage jobs, the plight of the unemployed and unemployable, and, therefore, the jeopardization of an entire class of working people. Gimenez concluded that "nevertheless, this is an outstanding collection."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
International Journal of Comparative Sociology, August, 1999, Donald E. Gelfand, review of Race, Class, and Struggle: Essays on Racism and Inequality in Britain, the United States, and Western Europe, p. 400.
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, April, 2000, Robert Moore, review of Race, Class, and Struggle, p. 372.
Race and Class, April-June, 1998, Mary Ellison, review of Race, Class, and Struggle, p. 99.
Science & Society, winter, 2000, Martha E. Gimenez, review of A New Introduction to Poverty: The Role of Race, Power, and Politics, pp. 520-521.