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Constructing Corporate AmericaHistory, Politics, Culture$
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Kenneth Lipartito and David B. Sicilia

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251902

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251902.001.0001

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White Corporate America: The New Arbiter of Race?

White Corporate America: The New Arbiter of Race?

(p.246) CHAPTER 9 White Corporate America: The New Arbiter of Race?
Constructing Corporate America

Juliet E. K. Walker

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the position of African Americans in management in American corporations since the Civil Rights era. Examining the careers of prominent black executives and the history of anti-discrimination suits filed against major firms, it is argued that African Americans have confronted a glass ceiling in their rise to top corporate leadership position that has changed little in the past thirty years despite a few prominent counterexamples. Meanwhile, black entrepreneurship has increased substantially, with notable success stories in the media and entertainment such as Oprah Winfrey. A broader survey of black capitalism, however, shows that black-owned firms remain smaller and less profitable than white- or other minority-owned businesses. The end of segregation, moreover, decimated some sectors of black enterprise that had served a racially divided marketplace. The chapter concludes on a note of cautious optimism, juxtaposing the important but limited number of high profile success stories with the overall lack of change in the position of black business.

Keywords:   black capitalism, equal opportunity, entrepreneurship, discrimination, African American business, black entertainment business, corporate racism, black-owned business

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