As I write this, cities across the US are lined with protesters seeking justice for what has continued to be a never-ending attack against blacks. This anti-blackness violence is not new, nor is it just about the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck, while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street, for 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Nor is it just about the murder of Breonna Taylor, who was gunned down while sleeping in her apartment by plainclothes police officers on the southside of Louisville, KY. Rather, what we are witnessing is yet another moment in history where people are fed up. It is not enough to sit idly by and demand (hope for) justice; peaceful protests and the calls for civility are often used by whites (and their supporters) to quell public unrest—an acknowledgment that some lives are worth more than others. Racism and anti-blackness are real in America, and not figments of our imagination. Nor are they relegated to one political party over another, unique to one institution over another, or just the seeds of a few bad apples. Racism and anti-blackness are systemic. As sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva has argued, we live in a racialized social system in which privileges are afforded to some over others, and in which our very institutions are racialized (and gendered, etc.) and work to maintain the current racial order. Yet, the world is not that simple, still. We are governed by intersecting and global systems of oppression. Late political scientist Cedric Robinson, expanding on the profound works of sociologist Oliver Cromwell Cox, warned us of the dangers of an evolving system of oppression that would be dependent on violence, racism, imperialism, and so forth. Racial capitalism is saturated in our society and our culture; it informs us of who belongs and who might tag along so long as they do not disrupt the current social and racial order. Some would argue that the COVID-19 pandemic is a result of racial capitalism.1 Certainly, we have clear data that the disease has overwhelmingly affected folx of color more so, and in ways that differ from their white counterparts. The
Professors Nathaniel Chapman and David L. Brunsma do just this. Their book, Beer and Racism: How Beer Became White, Why It Matters and the Movement to Change It, the second published book in the Sociology of Diversity series, is a tour de force that upends many questions about the craft beer industry and its historical (and current) role in fueling white America. While there have been other scholarly books written on the beer industry, this is the first of its kind—one that offers deep and critical analysis not about who is allowed to purchase beer, but the racialization and culture of the beer industry. In this book, Chapman and Brunsma, in seven chapters, present a sociohistorical testament that uncovers the whiteness of beer, and its impact in shaping American culture in society as well as in institutions such as media, business (bars, restaurants, etc.). Further, this is not just a book about beer, the beverage of choice for millions of Americans. Chapman and Brunsma take the reader through a journey that uncovers how whiteness and racism have operated and continue to operate in all aspects of the beer industry, from origin stories and myths, to the three-tiered distribution system, to the process of becoming a brewer, to production, consumerism, and more. Most importantly, the authors weave their research through the framework of critical diversity, illustrating time and time again the need to challenge whiteness, racism, and the oft thrown about notions of diversity itself.
See: Whitney, N. Laster Pirtle (2020) ‘Racial capitalism: a fundamental cause of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic inequities in the United States,’ Health Education & Behavior. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198120922942.