This book examines the “who, what, when, where, and how” of elite-white-male dominance in U.S. and global society. In spite of their domination in the United States and globally that we document herein, elite white men have seldom been called out and analyzed as such. They have received little to no explicit attention with regard to systemic racism issues, as well as associated classism and sexism issues. Almost all public and scholarly discussions of U.S. racism fail to explicitly foreground elite white men or to focus specifically on how their interlocking racial, class, and gender statuses affect their globally powerful decisionmaking. Some of the power positions of these elite white men might seem obvious, but they are rarely analyzed for their extraordinary significance. While the principal focus of this book is on neglected research and policy questions about the elite-white-male role and dominance in the system of racial oppression in the United States and globally, because of their positioning at the top of several societal hierarchies the authors periodically address their role and dominance in other oppressive (e.g., class, gender) hierarchies.
Introduction: Elite White Men: The 21st Century Problem
1 The Elite-White-Male Dominance System
2 Elite White Male Dominance: A Contemporary Overview
3 White Imperialism, Racism, and Masculinity: 1890s-1940s
4 White Imperialism, Racism, And Masculinity: Globalization Since the 1950s
5 More Oligopolistic Capitalism: The Current Neoliberal Era
6 The Politics of Systemic Racism: Domestic Change And Reaction
7 Seeking The American Dream: The Case of African Americans
8 Systemic Sexism, Racism, And Classism: A Troubled Present and Future
Epilogue: Making Real "Liberty and Justice For All"
Feagin and Ducey in Elite White Men Ruling go where few social scientist have dared to go. They interrogate the primacy of elite, white males in western societies. This group whose hegemonic control highlights an undemocratically global set of forces that dominate billions of people, across centuries. This ruling elite, remaining almost invisible, has managed to preserve their power across most western institutions to include political, media, economic, military and educational. Feagin and Ducey, taking a Marxian approach, links this ruling elite to capitalism. As they explain, this white male capitalistic elite replaced earlier aristocratic elites and form the basis of both imperialism and colonial expansion. Critical of most social scientist, the authors point to what can only be described as an apologist approach to history. In this approach, industrialization and modernity are raised as the standard of progress while ignoring the underlying oppressive structures of racism, sexism, and classism that makes the whole system operate. In the process the process slavery, genocide and white privilege are dismissed, while rugged individualism, Protestant ethics, and democracy are hailed as the single path to modernity.
White male elites, controlling the major institutions have been able to craft their version of reality, while down-playing their very existence. Consequently the major version of reality is that democratic processes assure that all have equal access the privileges of freedom, justice, and success. What is obscured is that the game is rigged from birth as rich, white males continually stack the deck to their benefit. Strangely, when the unfairness of these processes are pointed out, the critics, often scholars of color and white women, are frequently charged with bias, and their observations challenged as incredible. Ironically, those observations that continually blame the victim, the culture, the community for systemic failure, marginalization, and penalization are heralded as scholarly, unbiased, and remarkable. These observations have become the dominant voices within sociology, as their remedies frequently call for reclaiming the institutions (deemed failures), reforming the community and remediating the individual. Hence, regardless of structural lip service to the contrary, the problem lies with the individual rather than the structure. And the structure, even when it is identified as problematical, rarely is linked to the hegemonic control of elite, white males.
Feagin and Ducey affirm the scholarship of a whole range of scholars from Du Bois and Cox to Patricia Hill Collins and Kimberlé Crenshaw. Their forthright and concise analysis provides a fresh and insightful analysis that demonstrates the historical roots and contemporary contexts through which elite, white males create, maintain, and reconstruct their hegemonic control over most major institutions within western society. Feagin and Cucey posits that this hegemonic control represents a major challenge to effective democracy. Such a democracy requires embracing the efficacy of human rights as instrument of social change and justice. This would require a revolution, of spirit if not of society.
Rodney D. Coates, Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies, Director of Black World Studies, Miami University