Are you racially fluid?

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2018-03-03 02:33Z by Steven

Are you racially fluid?

Cable News Network (CNN)

Story by John Blake, CNN
Video by Tawanda Scott Sambou, CNN

The blurring of racial lines won’t save America. Why ‘racial fluidity’ is a con

(CNN) He was a snappy dresser with slicked back hair and a pencil mustache. A crack bandleader, musician and legendary talent scout, he was dubbed the “Godfather of R&B.”

But Johnny Otis’ greatest performance was an audacious act of defiance he orchestrated offstage.

Most people who saw Otis perform during his heyday in the 1950s thought he was a light-skinned black man. He used “we” when talking about black people, married his black high school sweetheart and stayed in substandard “for colored only” hotels with his black bandmates when they toured the South.

Johnny Otis, though, wasn’t his real name. He was born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes to Greek immigrants in Northern California. He grew up in a black neighborhood where he developed such a kinship with black culture that he walked away from his whiteness and became black by choice.

“As a kid I decided that if our society dictated that one had to be black or white, I would be black,” he wrote in his 1968 book, “Listen to the Lambs.”

“No number of objections such as ‘You were born white … you can never be black’ on the part of the whites, or ‘You sure are a fool to be colored when you could be white’ from Negroes, can alter the fact that I cannot think of myself as white.

“I do not expect everybody to understand it, but it is a fact. I am black environmentally, psychologically, culturally, emotionally, and intellectually.”…

…What if racial fluidity leads not to less racism, but to more?

That’s the warning being issued by many who study racial fluidity — including some who are racially fluid themselves. They say people are naïve if they believe expanding the menu of racial choices will lead to more tolerance; that racism is deeper and more adaptable than people realize.

A brown-skinned man with a white mother can gush all he wants about his DNA mix, but that won’t stop him from being racially profiled, says Rainier Spencer, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who has written extensively about mixed-race identity, including his own.

“If I stand on a corner holding a sign saying, ‘I’m racially fluid,'” says Spencer, “that still doesn’t mean I’m going to get a cab.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Genetic Determinism, Technology Optimism, and Race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-04-10 00:44Z by Steven

Genetic Determinism, Technology Optimism, and Race

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 661, Issue 1, 2015
pages 160-180
DOI: 10.1177/0002716215587875

Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government; Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Maya Sen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Harvard University

We begin with a typology of Americans’ understanding of the links between genetic inheritance and racial or ethnic groups. The typology has two dimensions: one running from genetic determinism to social construction, and the other from technology optimism to technology pessimism. Construing each dimension as a dichotomy enables four distinct political perspectives on the possibilities for reducing racial inequality in the United States through genomics. We then use a new public opinion survey to analyze Americans’ use of the typology. Survey respondents who perceive that some phenotypes are more prevalent in one group than another due to genetic factors are disproportionately technology optimists. Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to hold that set of views, as are self-identified blacks, whites, and Latinos. The article discusses the findings and speculates about alternative interpretations of the fact that partisanship and group identity do not differentiate Americans in their views of the links between genetic inheritance and racial inequality.

Read the entire article here.

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Unmaking Race and Ethnicity: A Reader

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Books, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Religion, Slavery, Social Justice, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-01-30 01:51Z by Steven

Unmaking Race and Ethnicity: A Reader

Oxford University Press
512 Pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780190202712

Edited by:

Michael O. Emerson, Provost and Professor of Sociology
North Park University
also Senior Fellow at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Jenifer L. Bratter, Associate Professor of Sociology; Director of the Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Culture at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Rice University, Houston, Texas

Sergio Chávez, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rice University, Houston, Texas

Race and ethnicity is a contentious topic that presents complex problems with no easy solutions. (Un)Making Race and Ethnicity: A Reader, edited by Michael O. Emerson, Jenifer L. Bratter, and Sergio Chávez, helps instructors and students connect with primary texts in ways that are informative and interesting, leading to engaging discussions and interactions. With more than thirty collective years of teaching experience and research in race and ethnicity, the editors have chosen selections that will encourage students to think about possible solutions to solving the problem of racial inequality in our society. Featuring global readings throughout, (Un)Making Race and Ethnicity covers both race and ethnicity, demonstrating how they are different and how they are related. It includes a section dedicated to unmaking racial and ethnic orders and explains challenging concepts, terms, and references to enhance student learning.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • UNIT I. Core Concepts and Foundations
    • What Is Race? What Is Ethnicity? What Is the Difference?
      • Introduction, Irina Chukhray and Jenifer Bratter
      • 1. Constructing Ethnicity: Creating and Recreating Ethnic Identity and Culture, Joane Nagel
      • 2. The Racialization of Kurdish Identity in Turkey, Murat Ergin
      • 3. Who Counts as “Them?”: Racism and Virtue in the United States and France, Michèle Lamont
      • 4. Mexican Immigrant Replenishment and the Continuing Significance of Ethnicity and Race, Tomás R. Jiménez
    • Why Race Matters
      • Introduction, Laura Essenburg and Jenifer Bratter
      • 5. Excerpt from Racial Formation in the United States From the 1960s to the 1990s, Michael Omi and Howard Winant
      • 6. Structural and Cultural Forces that Contribute to Racial Inequality, William Julius Wilson
      • 7. From Traditional to Liberal Racism: Living Racism in the Everyday, Margaret M. Zamudio and Francisco Rios
      • 8. Policing and Racialization of Rural Migrant Workers in Chinese Cities, Dong Han
      • 9. Why Group Membership Matters: A Critical Typology, Suzy Killmister
    • What Is Racism? Does Talking about Race and Ethnicity Make Things Worse?
      • Introduction, Laura Essenburg and Jenifer Bratter
      • 10. What Is Racial Domination?, Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer
      • 11. Discursive Colorlines at Work: How Epithets and Stereotypes are Racially Unequal, David G. Embrick and Kasey Henricks
      • 12. When Ideology Clashes with Reality: Racial Discrimination and Black Identity in Contemporary Cuba, Danielle P. Clealand
      • 13. Raceblindness in Mexico: Implications for Teacher Education in the United States, Christina A. Sue
  • UNIT II. Roots: Making Race and Ethnicity
    • Origins of Race and Ethnicity
      • Introduction, Adriana Garcia and Michael Emerson
      • 14. Antecedents of the Racial Worldview, Audrey Smedley and Brian Smedley
      • 15. Building the Racist Foundation: Colonialism, Genocide, and Slavery, Joe R. Feagin
      • 16. The Racialization of the Globe: An Interactive Interpretation, Frank Dikötter
    • Migrations
      • Introduction, Sandra Alvear
      • 17. Excerpt from Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945, George J. Sánchez
      • 18. Migration to Europe since 1945: Its History and Its Lessons, Randall Hansen
      • 19. When Identities Become Modern: Japanese Emigration to Brazil and the Global Contextualization of Identity, Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda
    • Ideologies
      • Introduction, Junia Howell
      • 20. Excerpt from Racism: A Short History, George M. Fredrickson
      • 21. Understanding Latin American Beliefs about Racial Inequality, Edward Telles and Stanley Bailey
      • 22. Buried Alive: The Concept of Race in Science, Troy Duster
  • Unit III. Today: Remaking Race and Ethnicity
    • Aren’t We All Just Human? How Race and Ethnicity Help Us Answer the Question
      • Introduction, Adriana Garcia
      • 23. Young Children Learning Racial and Ethnic Matters, Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin
      • 24. When White Is Just Alright: How Immigrants Redefine Achievement and Reconfigure the Ethnoracial Hierarchy, Tomás R. Jiménez and Adam L. Horowitz
      • 25. From Bi-Racial to Tri-Racial: Towards a New System of Racial Stratification in the USA, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
      • 26. Indigenism, Mestizaje, and National Identity in Mexico during the 1940s and the 1950s, Anne Doremus
    • The Company You Keep: How Ethnicity and Race Frame Social Relationships
      • Introduction, William Rothwell
      • 27. Who We’ll Live With: Neighborhood Racial Composition Preferences of Whites, Blacks and Latinos, Valerie A. Lewis, Michael O. Emerson, and Stephen L. Klineberg
      • 28. The Costs of Diversity in Religious Organizations: An In-Depth Case Study, Brad Christerson and Michael O. Emerson
    • The Uneven Playing Field: How Race and Ethnicity Impact Life Chances
      • Introduction, Ellen Whitehead and Jenifer Bratter
      • 29. Wealth in the Extended Family: An American Dilemma, Ngina S. Chiteji
      • 30. The Complexities and Processes of Racial Housing Discrimination, Vincent J. Roscigno, Diana L. Karafin, and Griff Tester
      • 31. Racial Segregation and the Black/White Achievement Gap, 1992 to 2009, Dennis J. Condron, Daniel Tope, Christina R. Steidl, and Kendralin J. Freeman
      • 32. Differential Vulnerabilities: Environmental and Economic Inequality and Government Response to Unnatural Disasters, Robert D. Bullard
      • 33. Racialized Mass Incarceration: Poverty, Prejudice, and Punishment, Lawrence D. Bobo and Victor Thompson
  • Unit IV. Unmaking Race and Ethnicity
    • Thinking Strategically
      • Introduction, Junia Howell and Michael Emerson
      • 34. The Return of Assimilation? Changing Perspectives on Immigration and Its Sequels in France, Germany, and the United States, Rogers Brubaker
      • 35. Toward a Truly Multiracial Democracy: Thinking and Acting Outside the White Frame, Joe R. Feagin
      • 36. Destabilizing the American Racial Order, Jennifer Hochschild, Vesla Weaver, and Traci Burch
    • Altering Individuals and Relationships
      • Introduction, Horace Duffy and Jenifer Bratter
      • 37. A More Perfect Union, Barack Obama
      • 38. What Can Be Done?, Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin
      • 39. The Multiple Dimensions of Racial Mixture in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: From Whitening to Brazilian Negritude, Graziella Moraes da Silva and Elisa P. Reis
    • Altering Structures
      • Introduction, Kevin T. Smiley and Jenifer Bratter
      • 40. The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates
      • 41. “Undocumented and Citizen Students Unite”: Building a Cross-Status Coalition Through Shared Ideology, Laura E. Enriquez
      • 42. Racial Solutions for a New Society, Michael Emerson and George Yancey
      • 43. DREAM Act College: UCLA Professors Create National Diversity University, Online School for Undocumented Immigrants, Alyssa Creamer
  • Glossary
  • Credits
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Raceless Like Me: Students at Harvard Navigate their Way Beyond the Boundaries of Race

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-12 21:41Z by Steven

Raceless Like Me: Students at Harvard Navigate their Way Beyond the Boundaries of Race

The Harvard Crimson
Harvard University

Zoe A. Y. Weinberg, Crimson Staff Writer

One day last fall, Paula M. Maouyo ’14 sat in front of her laptop in Matthews trying to think of a topic for her Expos paper about racial identity.

When Maouyo was a child, she identified as biracial. Her father is black, originally from Chad and her mother is white and American. But by the time she was nine, she began to move away from a biracial identity.

“For a long time I just didn’t identify,” Maouyo said, though she acknowledges that when most people look at her, they immediately categorize her as black.

She had never articulated her non-identification in concrete terms. That is, until she began brainstorming for her Expos paper.

After floating around ideas and fiddling with labels and words, Maouyo suddenly conceived of a term she felt most accurately captured her own identity: araciality.

“People use apolitical and asexual,” Maouyo observed. “Why not aracial?”…


“Transcendent identity” was first described by Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquemore, a former sociology professor and author of Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America. The current working definition of racial transcendence that she offers—and the one that will be used in this article—is the conscious rejection of racial identity altogether. Not “black,” “white,” or “both” —but rather, “none.”

“My journey has taken me past constructions of race, past constructions of mixed race, and into an understanding of human difference that does not include race as a meaningful category,” wrote Rainier Spencer, the founder and director of Afro-American Studies at the University of Nevada, who identifies as racially transcendent.

Spencer grew up in a black neighborhood in Queens in the 60s with a white mother and black father. Over the years, Spencer has identified as everything from Afro-German to New Yorker to academic to baby boomer. It was not until his thirties, when he was a philosophy teacher at a northeastern college, that he began to question racial identity itself.

During the 1990s, debates about the politics of multiracial identity began to emerge in academic circles. According to Spencer, most of the discussion at the time revolved around the relative importance of multiracial versus monoracial identity.

Spencer entered the debate as a racial skeptic. “A lot of the black scholars who are against multiracial identity are very invested in black identity,” Spencer said. “I think all racial identity is bogus, and that makes me kind of unique.”

Race transcendence should not be confused with color-blindness, which advocates ignoring race without confronting the inequality and discrimination it breeds. Color-blindness implies that racism can be solved passively. Racelessness is far more complex, because people who transcend race “are actually aware of how race negatively affects the daily existence of people of color. They have very likely experienced discrimination, yet they respond by understanding those situations as part of a broad societal problem; one in which they are deeply embedded, but not one that leads to their subscription to racial identity,” according to Rockquemore as cited on a website for race transcenders


A lot of people might claim not to have a race for one reason or another. According to professor Jennifer Hochschild, who teaches “Transformation of the American Racial Order?”, there are three groups of people that might refuse to identify by race: 1) disaffected (probably white) people who believe the world is post-racial and that we should all be color-blind; 2) recent immigrants for whom American racial categories simply do not resonate nor make any sense; and 3) bi-racial or multiracial people who do not identify with any particular racial category…

…White students might also check “none” for other reasons. Sometimes white students will check the “other” box is if they are uncomfortable with the social meaning of whiteness, said Natasha K. Warikoo, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Education who studies race, immigration, and inequality in educational contexts. “It signifies privilege and racial exploitation, a history that some white people are uncomfortable with,” she said. In the blank line, these students might write “Italian-American,” or “Jewish-American,” Warikoo said.

To solve this problem, Harvard could have two sections—one in which you identify for the purpose of statistics and civil rights compliance, and one in which you identify in the way that reflects your personal life. This would allow raceless students (and the perplexed white students) to identify by race, and by whatever else they like…

Read the entire article here.

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Has ‘Caucasian’ Lost Its Meaning?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-07 01:09Z by Steven

Has ‘Caucasian’ Lost Its Meaning?

The New York Times

Shaila Dewan, Economics Reporter


As a racial classification, the term Caucasian has many flaws, dating as it does from a time when the study of race was based on skull measurements and travel diaries. It has long been entirely unmoored from its geographical reference point, the Caucasus region. Its equivalents from that era are obsolete — nobody refers to Asians as “Mongolian” or blacks as “Negroid.”

And yet, there it was in the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. The plaintiff, noted Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in his majority opinion, was Caucasian.

To me, having covered the South for many years, the term seems like one of those polite euphemisms that hides more than it reveals. There is no legal reason to use it. It rarely appears in federal statutes, and the Census Bureau has never put a checkbox by the word Caucasian. (White is an option.)…

…The use of Caucasian to mean white was popularized in the late 18th century by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a German anthropologist, who decreed that it encompassed Europeans and the inhabitants of a region reaching from the Obi River in Russia to the Ganges to the Caspian Sea, plus northern Africans. He chose it because the Caucasus was home to “the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgians,” and because among his collection of 245 human skulls, the Georgian one was his favorite wrote Nell Irvin Painter, a historian who explored the term’s origins in her book “The History of White People.”…

Susan Glisson, who as the executive director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation in Oxford, Miss., regularly witnesses Southerners sorting through their racial vocabulary, said she rarely hears “Caucasian.” “Most of the folks who work in this field know that it’s a completely ridiculous term to assign to whites,” she said. “I think it’s a term of last resort for people who are really uncomfortable talking about race. They use the term that’s going to make them be as distant from it as possible.”

There is another reason to use it, said Jennifer L. Hochschild, a professor of government and African-American studies at Harvard. “The court, or some clever clerk, doesn’t really want to use the word white in part because roughly half of Hispanics consider themselves white.” She added, “White turns out to be a much more ambiguous term now than we used to think it was.”

There are a number of terms that refer to various degrees of blackness, both current and out of favor: African-American, mulatto, Negro, colored, octaroon. There are not a lot of options for whites. In Texas, they say Anglo. And there is the pejorative we were so pithily reminded of when a witness in the racially charged George Zimmerman trial said the victim, Trayvon Martin, had called Mr. Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker.”…

Read the entire article here.

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So, What Are You… Anyway?: 2013 Conference on Multiracial Identity

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-06 16:17Z by Steven

So, What Are You… Anyway?: 2013 Conference on Multiracial Identity

Hosted by the Harvard College Half-Asian People’s Association
Harvard University
2013-04-05 through 2013-04-06

The Harvard Half-Asian People’s Association will host its fifth annual conference on mixed-race politics and identity issues, “So…What Are You, Anyway?” (SWAYA) on Friday, April 5, 2013 and Saturday, April 6, 2013 on the Harvard University campus. The event is open to the public and will feature an array of exciting guest lecturers who will speak on issues involving multiracial identity.

The conference will include lectures given by author Pearl Fuyo Gaskins, Harvard professor Jennifer Hochschild, and Eric Hamako, as well as discussion groups led by experts on modern race relations. Last year, the event drew over one hundred students and other guests from colleges and cities around the US.

SWAYA will culminate in a special gala dinner* in honor of the 2013 recipient of the Cultural Pioneer Award, Pearl Gaskins, author of the book What are You?: Voices of Mixed-Race Young People

For more information, click here.

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Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America [Eisenberg Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-12-14 18:50Z by Steven

Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America [Eisenberg Review]

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 36, Issue 5 (May 2013)
pages 923-925
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.748214

Martin Eisenberg
Department of Urban Studies
Queens College, City University of New York

Jennifer Hochschild, Vesla Weaver and Tract Burch. Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2012. xii + 260 pp.

In this book. Hochschild, Weaver and Burch contend that the USA is on the cusp of a democratic transformation of its racial order On the basis of survey data and demographic analyses, they are struck by the increasing heterogeneity and interactions across differences that have developed over the last two decades. Whether a democratic transformation occurs depends upon new policies that make it possible to overcome the obstacles that arc part of the old racial order. There are no certainties, but the authors arc optimistic that major “ethno-racial” boundaries will continue to blur in the near future.

The authors believe that the social forces generating the possibility of change in the racial order are immigration, multiraiialism, genomics, and the current, equalitarian cohort of young adults, all interacting with one another, and underlain by demographic and legal changes. Immigration and multiracialism contribute to blurring the traditional categories of racial difference. Nearly 50 million Latino, Caribbean Asian and African immigrants have settled in the USA since 1970. Some immigrant groups bring with them their own racial categories, and the children of some of these groups intermarry and have children at relatively high rates with whites. The authors see multiracialism as a political movement, and as a public identity. Some Americans have succeeded in asserting the legal right to identify as ‘multiracial’, not just as a single race on the US Census and other official documents. Also, multiracialism generates variations in how people identify in different situations. And, surveys show that young adults possess more democratic attitudes and interact across difference with more frequency, in ways less governed by stereotypes, and without the conflicts of the past in their collective memories.

According to the authors, genomics is the branch of genetics that studies organisms in terms of full DNA sequences. Its goal is mainly medical to discover genes and genomic interactions that cause disease and to develop effective medications. Scientists have confirmed that all human beings share 99.9% of their genetic makeup: that about 94%. of all physical variation lies within the ‘so-called’ racial groups; and that there is much overlapping of genes and phenotypes in neighbouring populations. Yet, despite the overlapping and blurring of boundaries around groups, some concepts like race or ethnicity or bio-geographic ancestry remain useful for genomic purposes to designate clusters of genes. Genomic science answers the question, ‘what is race?’ ambiguously. It thoroughly undermines the older conception of a few biologically distinct and internally homogeneous races. But it also undermines the claim that race, defined genetically, is merely arbitrary. Genomically, the authors write, races are simultaneously real, arbitrary, heterogeneous, and blurred, so it is not surprising that individual classifications are intricate and confused. And, it will continue that way until it becomes possible lo avoid racial classifications by testing for alleles and developing treatments for the genetic components of diseases among individuals. Until those procedures are developed, the authors predict continued contentiousness among biological scientists on how to conceptualize race…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Meet Your Cousin, the First Lady: A Family Story, Long Hidden

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2012-06-17 15:47Z by Steven

Meet Your Cousin, the First Lady: A Family Story, Long Hidden

The New York Times

Rachel L. Swarns

This article is adapted from “American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama” by Rachel L. Swarns, to be published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, on Tuesday.

REX, Ga. — Joan Tribble held tightly to her cane as she ventured into the overgrown cemetery where her people were buried. There lay the pioneers who once populated north Georgia’s rugged frontier, where striving white men planted corn and cotton, fought for the Confederacy and owned slaves.

The settlers interred here were mostly forgotten over the decades as their progeny scattered across the South, embracing unassuming lives. But one line of her family took another path, heading north on a tumultuous, winding journey that ultimately led to the White House.

The white men and women buried here are the forebears of Mrs. Tribble, a retired bookkeeper who delights in her two grandchildren and her Sunday church mornings. They are also ancestors of Michelle Obama, the first lady.

The discovery of this unexpected family tie between the nation’s most prominent black woman and a white, silver-haired grandmother from the Atlanta suburbs underscores the entangled histories and racial intermingling that continue to bind countless American families more than 140 years after the Civil War.

The link was established through more than two years of research into Mrs. Obama’s roots, which included DNA tests of white and black relatives. Like many African-Americans, Mrs. Obama was aware that she had white ancestry, but knew little more.

Now, for the first time, the white forebears who have remained hidden in the first lady’s family tree can be identified. And her blood ties are not only to the dead. She has an entire constellation of white distant cousins who live in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas and beyond, who in turn are only now learning of their kinship to her…

…DNA Testing

The discovery comes as an increasing number of Americans, black and white, confront their own family histories, taking advantage of widespread access to DNA testing and online genealogical records. Jennifer L. Hochschild, a professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard who has studied the impact of DNA testing on racial identity, said this was uncharted territory.

“This is a whole new social arena,” Professor Hochschild said. “We don’t have an etiquette for this. We don’t have social norms.”

“More or less every white person knows that slave owners raped slaves,” she continued. “But my great-grandfather? People don’t know what they feel. They don’t know what they’re supposed to feel. I think it’s really hard.”

Read the entire article here.  Watch the video here.

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Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-01-21 19:51Z by Steven

Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

Princeton University Press
March 2012
282 pages
6 x 9; 17 halftones. 14 line illus. 10 tables
Cloth ISBN: 9780691152998
eBook ISBN: 9781400841943

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Vesla M. Weaver, Assistant Professor
The Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics
University of Virginia

Traci R. Burch, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Northwestern University

The American racial order—the beliefs, institutions, and practices that organize relationships among the nation’s races and ethnicities—is undergoing its greatest transformation since the 1960s. Creating a New Racial Order takes a groundbreaking look at the reasons behind this dramatic change, and considers how different groups of Americans are being affected. Through revealing narrative and striking research, the authors show that the personal and political choices of Americans will be critical to how, and how much, racial hierarchy is redefined in decades to come.

The authors outline the components that make up a racial order and examine the specific mechanisms influencing group dynamics in the United States: immigration, multiracialism, genomic science, and generational change. Cumulatively, these mechanisms increase heterogeneity within each racial or ethnic group, and decrease the distance separating groups from each other. The authors show that individuals are moving across group boundaries, that genomic science is challenging the whole concept of race, and that economic variation within groups is increasing. Above all, young adults understand and practice race differently from their elders: their formative memories are 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Obama’s election—not civil rights marches, riots, or the early stages of immigration. Blockages could stymie or distort these changes, however, so the authors point to essential policy and political choices.

Portraying a vision, not of a postracial America, but of a different racial America, Creating a New Racial Order examines how the structures of race and ethnicity are altering a nation.


  • List of Figures and Tables
  • Introduction
    • 1. Destabilizing the American Racial Order
    • 2. Immigration
    • 3. Multiracialism
    • 4. Genomics
    • 5. Cohort Change
    • 6. Blockages to Racial Transformation
    • 7. The Future of the American Racial Order
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index


A racial order—the set of beliefs, assumptions, rules, and practices that shape the way in which groups in a given society are connected with one another—may seem fixed. Racial orders do change, however. The change may be gradual, as when America evolved over two centuries from being a society with slaves to a slave society, or cataclysmic as when slavery or serfdom is abolished or apartheid instituted. A racial order can change for some groups but not others; the Immigration Act of 1924 denied all Asians and most Kuropcans and Africans, but not Latin Americans, the right of entry to the United States. Change in a racial order is most visible when it results from severe struggle, but it may also occur unintentionally through thousands of cumulative small acts and thoughts. And a racial order can change in some but not all dimensions; American Indians gained U.S. citizenship in 1924 but few have reacquired the land lost through centuries of conquest and appropriation.

Variation in pace, direction, activity, and object makes it difficult to see major change while it is occurring. Nevertheless, we argue that the racial order of the late twentieth century that emerged from the 1960’s civil rights movement, opening of immigration, and Great Society is undergoing a cumulative, wide-ranging, partly unintentional and partly deliberate transformation. The transformation is occurring in locations and laws, beliefs and practices. Its starting point was the abolition of institutional supports and public commitments of the pre-1960s racial order, such as intermarriage bans, legally mandated segregation, unembarrassed racism, and racial or ethnic discrimination. Once those props were removed, the changes broadly signaled by “the 1960s” could develop over the next forty years. They included a rise in immigration, Blacks’ assertion of pride and dignity, Whites’ rejection of racial supremacy (at least in public), a slow opening of schools, jobs, and suburbs to people previously excluded, and a shift in government policy from promoting segregation and hierarchy and restricting interracial unions to promoting (at least officially) integration and equality and allowing interracial unions.

As a consequence, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, new institutions and practices have been moving into place: official records permit people to identify with more than one race, anti-discrimination policies are well established in schools and workplaces, and some non-Whites hold influential political positions. At the same time, the late twentieth century’s understanding of the very meaning of race—a few exhaustive and mutually exclusive groups—is becoming less and less tenable as a consequence of new multiracial identities, immigrants’ rejection of conventional American categories, and genomic science. Social relations, particularly among young Americans, are less driven by stereotypes, more fluid and fragmented, and more susceptible to creation rather than acquiescence. Even deeply seated hierarchies of income, educational attainment and achievement, prestige, and political power are easing for some groups and in some dimensions of life. Race or ethnicity, though still important, is less likely to predict a young person’s life chances than at any previous point in American history; today’s young adults will move through adulthood with the knowledge that one need not be White in order to become the most powerful person in the world…

…Thus the late twentieth-century racial order captures less and less of the way in which race and ethnicity are practiced in the United States today and may be practiced in the foreseeable future. If transformative forces persist and prevail, the United States can finally move toward becoming the society that James Madison envisioned in Federalist #10, one in which no majority faction, not even native-born European Americans, dominates the political, economic, or social arena.

The Madisonian vision must not blind us to two concerns. If it persists, creation of a new racial order will not have only beneficial results. Some Americans are likely to be harmed by these changes and will thereby suffer relative or even absolute losses. Continuing the venerable American pattern, they will be disproportionately African American or Native American, supplemented by undocumented immigrants. All Americans are likely to lose some of the joys and advantages of a strong sense of group identity and rootedness. The greater concern, however, is that the newly created racial order will not persist and prevail. Black poverty and alienation may be too deep; White supremacy may be too tenacious; institutional change may be too shallow; undocumented immigrants may not attain a path to belonging; genomic research may usher in a new era of eugenic discrimination. In short, Americans may in the end lack the political will to finish what demographic change, scientific research, young adults’ worldviews, and the momentum of the past decade have

…Our exploration of transformative forces and their blockages is spread over three parts and seven chapters. Part 1, “The Argument,” has one chapter. Chapter 1 explicates the five components of a societal racial order and suggests what is at stake in the ongoing reinvention of the American racial order. Examples show how immigration, multiracialism, genomics, and cohort change are transforming each component of the late twentieth-century racial order. Chapter 1 also points to elements of American society that could distort or block transformation of the racial order. Perhaps most important, it provides analytic justification for our expectation that creative forces will outweigh blockages, so long as Americans take steps to incorporate those now in danger of exclusion and to improve the life chances of those at the bottom.

Part 2, “Creating a New Order,” consists of five chapters. Chapters 2 through 5 respectively analyze immigration, multiracialism, genomics, and cohort change, in each case using the five components of a racial order to organize the discussion. Despite variation in the content and process of change, a consistent pattern emerges: each transformative force independently (and all of them interactively) is changing how Americans understand what a race is, how individuals are classified, how groups are relatively positioned, how state actions affect people’s freedom of choice, and how people relate to one another in the society. Chapter 6 looks at the opposite side of the creative dynamic—that is, features of the American racial order that reinforce the late twentieth-century order of clear racial and ethnic boundaries, relatively fixed group positions, intermittently prohibitive state actions, and hostile social relations. Chapter 6 focuses on four issues that directly challenge the transformative forces—the costs of a loss in group identity, wealth disparities, unprecedented levels of Black and Latino incarceration, and the possibility that illegal immigrants or Muslims might become the new pariah group. It warns that effective creation of a new racial order can itself deepen the disadvantage of the worst off even while moving toward a more racially inclusive polity.

Finally, part 3, “Possibilities,” consists of one chapter. Chapter 7 concludes by considering the likelihood that the current American racial order will look very different by the time our children reach old age. It also sketches some political and policy directions necessary to promote transformation, expand its benefits, and reduce the proportion of Americans who arc left out or harmed…

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Race and Class in Political Science

Posted in Articles, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2011-10-08 20:09Z by Steven

Race and Class in Political Science

Michigan Journal of Race and Law
Volume 11, Issue 1 (Fall 2005)
pages 99-114

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

As a discipline, political science tends to have a split personality on the issue of whether the driving force behind political action is material or ideational. Put too crudely, White scholars tend to focus on structural conditions as the cause of group identity and action, whereas scholars of color tend to focus on group identity and conflict in order to explain structural conditions. More generally, the relevant debate within political science revolves less around Jacques Derrida versus Karl Marx (as in critical race studies) than around W. E. B. DuBois versus Thomas Hobbes—that is, whether “the problem of the twentieth [and other] centur[ies] is the problem of the color line” or whether people are fundamentally self-interested individualists whose social interaction is shaped by the opportunities presented in a given political structure.
This paper examines those propositions by discussing important recent work by political scientists in several arenas, including ethnic conflict, nationalism, and a belief in linked fate. I then briefly discuss my own research on the relationship between race and class, and on the possible malleability of racial and ethnic concepts and practices to show one way that identity-based and interest-based political analyses interact. I conclude that material forces drive most important political disputes and outcomes, but that politics is best understood through a combination of material and ideational lenses.

The discipline of political science tends to have a split personality on the issue of whether the underlying driving force behind political action is material or ideational. Put too crudely, mainstream (disproportionately White) scholars tend to focus on structural conditions such as laws or the economy, the self-interest of leaders or activists, political incentives, or even geography in order to explain ethnic identification and conflict. Conversely, scholars who study racial politics (disproportionately people of color), tend to start from racial or ethnic identity and conflict in order to explain structural conditions, understandings of self-interest, or political incentives. This generalization, like most, is indeed too crude, and one can immediately identify exceptions; but, it is arguably accurate enough to be a good starting point for further exploration. I develop this argument, with reference to the most prominent work of political scientists in several subfields, in the next two sections below.
Few political scientists, and even fewer in mainstream, high-status departments, focus on discourse analysis growing out of continental European philosophy. Most who do are political philosophers whose central mission does not include explaining empirical phenomena. As a result, the relevant debate within political science revolves less around Derrida versus Marx than around DuBois versus Hobbes—that is, whether “the problem of the twentieth [and other] centur[ies] is the problem of the color line” or whether people are fundamentally self-interested individualists whose social interaction is shaped by the opportunities offered in a given political structure.
This paper begins by examining and illuminating that proposition through discussion of important recent work by political scientists. I then briefly discuss my own prior work on the relationship between race and class, and use my current research to illuminate how tensions between identity-based politics and interest-based politics play out in academic political science as well as in actual political arenas. I conclude roughly where Richard Delgado does: that material forces and access to resources drive most significant political disputes and outcomes, but that politics is most fully understood through a combination of material and ideational lenses…

…Multiracialism shows some of the same effects. The values placed on multiracial identity are at present completely mixed, even contradictory and mutually hostile. Some people of color (and Whites) embrace the new politics and culture of multiracialism as a means of breaking down the old rigid color lines, as a way to enable people to recognize and identify with their full heritage, as a necessity for good medical care, or as a new frontier for civil rights advocacy. Others see the embrace of multiracialism as merely one more attempt by outsiders to undermine Black or Hispanic solidarity, as a strategy to disrupt litigation or legislation around civil rights, voting rights, and employment discrimination, or as an underhanded way to distance oneself from Blackness (or Latino identity). Still others see it as a pragmatic reality, given rates of immigration and intermarriage, that political actors must accommodate as well as they can. Regardless of how one feels about it, there is growing evidence that the fact of being multiracial has important consequences for one’s life chances. For example, the socioecononomic status of biracial children fall consistently between those of their lower status parent and those of their higher status parent. Thus, on the one hand, the fact of having mixed racial or ethnic ancestry has real, material, consequences for one’s life – independent of the language with which we understand that fact. But on the other hand, the growth of and contestation around a multiracial movement show that the mere fact of having parents of different races is politically and personally very different from the claim of a multiracial identity and community…

Read the entire essay here.

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