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Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of the award-winning book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black[…]

It matters for every life metric, says Harris-Lacewell.

Question: Does race still matter

Harris-Lacewell: Oh absolutely.  I mean by almost any metric.  So it matters in terms of life chances.  It still matters what sort of baby you are born.  If you have the good sense to be born to a wealthy, White, two-parent household, you have very different life chances in everything from your physiological health; to your mental health; to your educational outcomes; to your future earning potential; to your likelihood of finding a lifetime mate; to your likelihood of being punished for the illegal activities that you engage in.  All of those are very different than if you had the bad sense to be born to a Black or Brown unmarried mother who has little money, right?  So I mean I’m being funny about sort of having the sense to be born to the right person, but we in fact still have a set of public policies, social institutions, and sort of life opportunities that are structured by ideas of race.  Now although race matters, I will say it matters in new and different ways.  And you know I said okay my family, I think about Black children and White children.  But race is much sort of beyond the Black-White paradigm these days.  Even what it means to call oneself Black is very different today than it once was.  And certainly the sort of new populations of Brown communities make the sort of notion about what is race and how race matters really very different than it was even as early as 30 years ago.