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Black and Multiracial Politics in America

Yvette Marie Alex-Assensoh, Lawrence J. Hanks

Publication Year: 2000

America is currently in the midst of a major racial and ethnic demographic shift. By the twenty-first century, the population of Hispanics and Asians will increase significantly, while the black population is expected to remain relatively stable. Non-Hispanic Whites will decrease to just over half of the nation's population. How will the changing ethnic and racial composition of American society affect the long struggle for black political power and inclusion? To what extent will these racial and ethnic shifts affect the already tenuous nature of racial politics in American society?

Using the literature on black politics as an analytical springboard, Black and Multiracial Politics in America brings together a broad demography of scholars from various racial and ethnic groups to assess how urban political institutions, political coalitions, group identity, media portrayal of minorities, racial consciousness, support for affirmative action policy, political behavior, partisanship, and other crucial issues are impacted by America's multiracial landscape.

Contributors include Dianne Pinderhughes, M. Margaret Conway, Pei-te Lein, Susan Howell, Mack Jones, Brigitte L. Nacos, Natasha Hritzuk, Marion Orr, Michael Jones-Correa, A.B. Assensoh, Joseph McCormick, Sekou Franklin, Jose Cruz, Erroll Henderson, Mamie Locke, Reuel Rogers, James Endersby, Charles Menifield and Lawrence J. Hanks.

Published by: NYU Press

Front matter

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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xii

Black and Multiracial Politics in America explores, in vivid detail, the intersections of race and ethnicity that stem from recent patterns of American immigration. At the end of a century prophetically described by W. E. B. Du Bois as the Century of the Color Line, there seems little doubt that current debates and conflicts over color will extend well...

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pp. xiii-xv

In large measure, the idea for this volume came from Larry, who suggested that we compile a series of essays that would focus on controversial issues in black politics in a form of debate. However, it soon became evident that Larry, who was then finishing the last two years of his five-year term as Dean of Afro-American Affairs at Indiana University...


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pp. xvii-xx

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Introduction: In Search of Black and Multiracial Politics in America

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pp. 1-12

The unprecedented growth in the populations of Latinos and Asians in the United States constitutes one of the most dramatic racial/ethnic shifts in American political history. According to the most recent demographic evidence, the number of Hispanics and Asians is increasing at a faster rate than that of African-Americans, presently considered to...

Part I. Political Incorporation, Racial Polarization, and Interethnic Discord

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Chapter 1. Afro-Caribbean Immigrants, African Americans, and the Politics of Group Identity

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pp. 15-59

For much of its history, America has been a nation of immigrants, although it has not always extended the ready welcome implied by popular mythology and the famous Emma Lazarus poem. Just as it was at the turn of the century, when the country absorbed unprecedented numbers of immigrants, so it remains today as the century draws to a...

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Chapter 2. Racial Polarization, Reaction to Urban Conditions, and the Approval of Black Mayors

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pp. 60-83

Over the past twenty years there has been dramatic growth in the number of African American mayors. Research has documented the positive effects of electing a minority mayor on the attitudes and participation of minority citizens (Bobo and Gilliam, 1990; Howell and Fagan, 1988; Abney and Hutcheson, 1981), as well as the racially polarized...

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Chapter 3. Interminority Relations in Urban Settings: Lessons from the Black–Puerto Rican Experience

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pp. 84-112

The reality of most settings where Blacks and Puerto Ricans concentrate is that neither group has the numbers to achieve, by itself, control of local governments or to tip the balance of power in its favor. The demographics of just a few places—large and small—illustrate the point well. In New York City, Puerto Ricans were 12 percent of the total...

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Chapter 4. Conflict or Cooperation? Africans and African Americans in Multiracial America

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pp. 113-130

The foregoing statements—the first made by an African writer from the continent and the second culled from the work of an African American journalist—provide a snapshot of the conventional wisdom regarding the relationships that have, over the years, existed between Africans and African Americans. On the one hand are scholars, who argue that Africans and African Americans are inextricably linked by...

Part II. Political and Media Institutions

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Chapter 5. Immigrants, Blacks, and Cities

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pp. 133-164

Over the past thirty years, cities in the United States have undergone a series of swift and dramatic changes. Not the least of these has been the departure from the nation’s largest cities of native Whites, who have left for the suburbs; the incorporation of African Americans into the governing coalitions of a number of cities, and concentrated, large-scale...

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Chapter 6. The Portrayal of Black America in the Mass Media: Perception and Reality

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pp. 165-195

In 1967, following a series of devastating riots in America’s inner cities, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (commonly called Kerner Commission after its chairman, Otto Kerner, who was Governor of Illinois at the time) to investigate the underlying causes of the violent outbursts in predominantly...

Part III. Political Behavior

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Chapter 7. Who Votes in Multiracial America? An Analysis of Voting Registration and Turnout by Race and Ethnicity, 1990–1996

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pp. 199-224

Who votes in America, and who does not? Although the concern over the decline in voter turnout since the 1960 election has inspired a long and distinguished line of research, the question has seldom been addressed from the perspective of nonwhite minorities, even though they represent an increasingly large proportion of the U.S. population and...

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Chapter 8. Congress, Race, and Anticrime Policy

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pp. 225-256

Crime and crime policy have traditionally been a subtheme in racial politics. In the 1930s, African American leaders lobbied President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support federal antilynching legislation. Roosevelt refused, fearing such a law would alienate southern white voters. That the antilynching legislation was designed to protect African...

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Chapter 9. Representation, Ethnicity, and Congress: Black and Hispanic Representatives and Constituencies

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pp. 257-272

The number of African American and Hispanic representatives increased dramatically following the 1992 congressional elections. Many attributed this change to the legislative redistricting that followed the 1990 census. Scholars immediately began to assess the effects of this election on representation of these minority ethnic groups in the United...

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Chapter 10. Pride and Pragmatism: Two Arguments for the Diversification of Party Interests

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pp. 273-285

African Americans joined Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Coalition in 1936. Since that time, the majority of the African American electorate has voted for the Democratic nominee for the presidency. Additionally, since 1960, an overwhelming majority of the African American electorate has supported the entire Democratic slate (Walters 1998; Bartels...

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Chapter 11. Comparing Support for Affirmative Action among Four Racial Groups

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pp. 286-311

The issue of affirmative action has become a central part of political and public debate in recent years because of the emergence of several ballot initiatives in California and in other states that threatened to remove basic social services and equal protection from immigrants and minorities. This threat was underlined by California Governor Pete Wilson’s...

Part IV. Race Consciousness and Gender

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Chapter 12. Expressions of Racial Consciousness in the African American Community: Data from the Million Man March

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pp. 315-336

In September 1998 the President’s Initiative on Race issued its final report.1 This advisory panel had been authorized fifteen months earlier, in June 1997, by President Clinton when he issued Executive Order 13050. The panel was created by the President to advise him “on how to build one America for the twenty-first century.” More specifically, it...

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Chapter 13. War, Political Cycles, and the Pendulum Thesis: Explaining the Rise of Black Nationalism, 1840–1996

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pp. 337-374

In his seminal work, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1968), Harold Cruse noted that “American Negro history is basically a history of the conflict between integrationist and nationalist forces in politics, economics, and culture, no matter what leaders are involved and what slogans are used. The pendulum swings back and forth, but the men...

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Chapter 14. Deconstruct to Reconstruct: African American Women in the Post–Civil Rights Era

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pp. 375-395

On October 25, 1997, more than one million African American women from across the United States gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a day of “repentance, resurrection, and restoration.” This Million Woman March called together African American women from all walks of life to express dissatisfaction with the deterioration in the...

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Epilogue: Black and Multiracial Politics: A Look Ahead

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pp. 396-399

From its conception, one of the guiding principles behind Black and Multiracial Politics in America was to assemble a volume that would anticipate future events and controversies and, as such, serve as a harbinger, a primer of sorts on those issues that are likely to dominate the American political scene in the years ahead. As institutions all over the...


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pp. 401-404

E-ISBN-13: 9780814705223
E-ISBN-10: 0814705227
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814706626
Print-ISBN-10: 0814706622

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2000

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Politics and government.
  • Minorities -- Political activity -- United States.
  • Immigrants -- Political activity -- United States.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Political aspects.
  • Group identity -- Political aspects -- United States.
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