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Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity, The

Maria Krysan, Amanda E. Lewis

Publication Year: 2004

The legal institutions of overt racism in the United States have been eliminated, but social surveys and investigations of social institutions confirm the continuing significance of race and the enduring presence of negative racial attitudes. This shift from codified and explicit racism to more subtle forms comes at a time when the very boundaries of race and ethnicity are being reshaped by immigration and a rising recognition that old systems of racial classification inadequately capture a diverse America. In The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity, editors Maria Krysan and Amanda Lewis bring together leading scholars of racial dynamics to study the evolution of America’s racial problem and its consequences for race relations in the future. The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity opens by attempting to answer a puzzling question: how is it that so many whites think racism is no longer a problem but so many nonwhites disagree? Sociologist Lawrence Bobo contends that whites exhibit what he calls “laissez faire racism,” which ignores historical and structural contributions to racial inequality and does nothing to remedy the injustices of the status quo. Tyrone Forman makes a similar case in his chapter, contending that an emphasis on “color blindness” allows whites to be comforted by the idea that all races are on a level playing field, while not recognizing the advantages they themselves have reaped from years of inequality. The book then moves to a discussion of the new ways that Americans view race. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Karen Glover argue that the United States is moving from a black-white divide to a tripartite system, where certain light-skinned, non-threatening minority groups are considered “honorary whites.” The book’s final section reexamines the theoretical underpinnings of scholarship on race and ethnicity. Joe Feagin argues that research on racism focuses too heavily on how racial boundaries are formed and needs to concentrate more on how those boundaries are used to maintain privileges for certain groups at the expense of others. Manning Marable contends that racism should be addressed at an institutional level to see the prevalence of “structural racism”—deeply entrenched patterns of inequality that are coded by race and justified by stereotypes. The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity provides an in-depth view of racism in modern America, which may be less conspicuous but not necessarily less destructive than its predecessor, Jim Crow. The book’s rich analysis and theoretical insight shed light on how, despite many efforts to end America’s historic racial problem, it has evolved and persisted into the 21st century.

Published by: Russell Sage Foundation

Title Page

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiii

THIS BOOK EMERGES from a set of conversations that began in the fall of 2000 with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). During these conversations, we discussed and debated what were the most pressing questions facing those trying to understand present day race relations and racial inequality. That group, initially convened...

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1. Introduction: Assessing Changes in the Meaning and Significance of Race and Ethnicity

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pp. 1-10

THE MEANING AND significance of race and ethnicity in the United States have been of enduring interest inside and outside the halls of academia. Early social scientific work focused on such concerns as dismantling notions of biological determinism, identifying the deleterious consequences of legal segregation and blatant racial prejudice for...


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2. Inequalities That Endure? Racial Ideology, American Politics, and the Peculiar Role of the Social Sciences

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pp. 13-42

AS PART OF research on the intersection of poverty, crime, and race, I conducted two focus groups in a major eastern city in early September 2001, just prior to the tragic events of September 11. The dynamics of the two groups, one with nine white participants and another with nine black participants, drove home for me very powerfully just...

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3. Color-Blind Racism and Racial Indifference: The Role of Racial Apathy in Facilitating Enduring Inequalities

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pp. 43-66

THE CIVIL RIGHTS movement prompted several important changes in American society. One significant change has been the decline in overt expressions of racial prejudice over the past four decades (Schuman et al. 1997). This decline has led some observers to argue that white racial antipathy has virtually disappeared in the United States...

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4. Institutional Patterns and Transformations: Race and Ethnicity in Housing, Education, Labor Markets, Religion, and Criminal Justice

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pp. 67-119

WHERE PEOPLE LIVE, go to school, work, and pray—as well as the system purported to protect them as they go about these and other pursuits—continues to be fundamentally shaped by race and ethnicity. An individual’s race and ethnicity shapes how he or she is treated by the institutions of housing, education, labor markets, religion, and the criminal justice...


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5. Identifying with Multiple Races: A Social Movement That Succeeded but Failed?

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pp. 123-148

THE CIVIL RIGHTS revolution of the 1960s fundamentally changed how racial information is used. Prior to that decade, race was used to assign students to schools, to determine where people could live, to determine which job, if any, candidates were offered, and even whom people could marry. The litigation strategy of the National Association for the...

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6. “We Are All Americans”: The Latin Americanization of Race Relations in the United States

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pp. 149-183

“WE ARE ALL Americans! ” This, we contend, will be the racial mantra of the United States in years to come. Although for many analysts, because of this country’s deep history of racial divisions, this prospect seems implausible, nationalist statements denying the salience of race are the norm throughout the world. Countries such as Malaysia and...


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7. Race, Gender, and Unequal Citizenship in the United States

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pp. 187-202

IN ITS FOUNDING documents, the United States declared its dedication to ideals of universal freedom and equality. Today, after more than two centuries of struggle to realize these ideals, race, gender, and class inequality remain pervasive and deeply entrenched in American society. Their very persistence indicates that rather than being either surface...

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8. Toward an Integrated Theory of Systemic Racism

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pp. 203-223

IN THE UNITED STATES, theories about racial and ethnic matters often take the form of theories of assimilation and ethnicity (seen as an umbrella category including nationality and “race”), theories dealing with “race” and stratification issues (for example, middleman minorities theory), and theories dealing with the social or ideological construction of...

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9. The Political and Theoretical Contexts of the Changing Racial Terrain

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pp. 224-234

AT THE FIRST Pan-African Conference held in London in August 1900, the great African American scholar W. E. B. DuBois (1970, 125) predicted that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, the question as to how far differences of race . . . will hereafter be made the basis of denying to over half the world the right...

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10. Racial Exploitation and the Wages of Whiteness

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pp. 235-262

DISCUSSIONS IN THE academy in general, and in philosophy in particular, of racial injustice have come a long way over the past decade or two. More senior African American philosophers in normative theory, such as Bernard Boxill (1984/1992) and Howard McGary (1999), can testify far better than I can how little interest there was in these matters...


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pp. 263-273

E-ISBN-13: 9781610443425
Print-ISBN-13: 9780871544919
Print-ISBN-10: 0871544911

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 794701227
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Subject Headings

  • Minorities -- United States -- Social conditions -- Congresses.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1980- -- Congresses.
  • Racism -- United States -- Congresses.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations -- Congresses.
  • Ethnicity -- United States -- Congresses.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Congresses.
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