Above and Beyond (Respectability Politics, w/ David Crockett)

Episode 47 · January 27th, 2020 · 57 mins 41 secs

About this Episode

Within Black communities, "respectability politics" is a term often used to describe efforts at racial uplift that involve efforts at self-regulation in the service of disproving negative racial stereotypes. It includes ensuring that one's conduct is beyond reproach, and that one's standards of dress meet certain high standards (often those of upper-middle class White society). The term also refers to demands that Black Americans engage in such self-regulation. Black figures such as Charles Barkley and Bill Cosby have famously (and infamously) made such demands.

One's consumption choices--ranging from clothing to housing--can constitute a domain in which respectability politics plays out. And University of South Carolina marketing professor David Crockett has studied exactly that topic. We discuss respectability politics, consumption, and more in this episode.

--David Crockett's University of South Carolina webpage
--Crockett, D. (2017). Paths to respectability: Consumption and stigma management in the contemporary Black middle class. Journal of Consumer Research
--Detroit Urban League brochure photo (HS6701) , from Detroit Urban League records; Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan (used with permission)
--Coates, T. (2014, October). Charles Barkley and the plague of "unintelligent Blacks." The Atlantic.
--Coates, T. (2017, Jan/Feb). My President was Black. The Atlantic.
--Starkey, B. S. (2016, December). No, President Obama does not practice respectability politics. The Undefeated
--Charles Barkley 7/12/16 appearance on the Dan Le Batard show
--Higginbotham, E. B. (1994) Righteous discontent: The women's movement in the Black Baptist church, 1880-1920. Harvard University Press.