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Isolated and Excluded: Intra-Group Racial Contracts and Dual Power after Hurricane Katrina

Posted: 29 Mar 2010  

Erinn Carter

affiliation not provided to SSRN


The post-Civil Rights era has produced a model of social movements that centers on advocacy organizations representing the needs of underprivileged members of society. Scholars have noted the heightened role that advocacy organizations play in marginalized communities, highlighting that while these organizations construct agendas that focus on the needs of the underprivileged, the results of their activities privilege the advantaged within these subgroups. While some scholars note the "sincere ambitions" of these organizations to represent the needs of the underprivileged, the theory of this work is that this fracture within marginalized communities elucidates a new strategy of the Racial State, one that operates through use of a Racial Contract between the State and middle class Black America. An examination of the black middle class highlights the possibility of intra-group social contracts. These contracts provide social mobility and political and economic power for elite groups within minority groups. The goal of this project is to understand the reaction of black America to Hurricane Katrina. In this case, the lack of recognition and reaction by the Black middle class surrounding the events occurring in post-Katrina represent an intra-community fracture within Black America, as middle class Black America (and the organizations that represent their interests) distanced themselves from Blacks that were classified by the State as 'undeserving'. The most stunning impact of these intra-group Racial Contracts is an erosion of the dual power strategy used by Black organizations to historically challenge racial oppression in the US.

Suggested Citation

Carter, Erinn, Isolated and Excluded: Intra-Group Racial Contracts and Dual Power after Hurricane Katrina. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN:

Erinn Carter (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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