Black and Multiracial Politics in America

Black and Multiracial Politics in America

Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh
Lawrence J. Hanks
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Black and Multiracial Politics in America
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-0785-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Dianne Pinderhughes

    Black and Multiracial Politics in Americaexplores, 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 into the twenty-first century. And so, to better understand the current racial topography in the United States, we must ask ourselves certain basic questions: What are the demographic parameters of multiracial America? Which groups are accounting for the explosion in America’s...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh and Lawrence J. Hanks
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Introduction: In Search of Black and Multiracial Politics in America
    (pp. 1-12)
    Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh

    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 make up the largest single American minority group.

    The implications of these demographic shifts are especially dramatic in melting-pot metropolitan areas, that is, urban centers with significant concentrations of two or more minority groups. All of the cities listed in Table I.1 (Frey 1998, p.41) have non-Hispanic white...

  7. PART I Political Incorporation, Racial Polarization, and Interethnic Discord

    • Chapter 1 Afro-Caribbean Immigrants, African Americans, and the Politics of Group Identity
      (pp. 15-59)
      Reuel Rogers

      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 close. Indeed, in absolute numbers, the current wave of immigration already matches and likely will soon exceed in size that earlier historic apex. A few telling details from what is by now a well-documented catalogue of immigration statistics and demographic trends...

    • Chapter 2 Racial Polarization, Reaction to Urban Conditions, and the Approval of Black Mayors
      (pp. 60-83)
      Susan Howell

      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 voting that results in the election of many of these black mayors (Browning and Marshall, 1986; Browning et al., 1984; Huckfeldt and Kohfeld, 1989; Kleppner, 1985; Vanderdeeuw, 1990; Engstrom and Kirkland, 1995). Other changes have also accompanied the election of minority mayors in many cities: crime...

    • Chapter 3 Interminority Relations in Urban Settings: Lessons from the Black–Puerto Rican Experience
      (pp. 84-112)
      José E. Cruz

      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 population in 1990, compared to 29 percent for Blacks; in Chicago, the proportions were 4 and 39 percent, respectively. In Boston Puerto Ricans were close to 5 percent of the population; African Americans were 26 percent. In Paterson,...

    • Chapter 4 Conflict or Cooperation? Africans and African Americans in Multiracial America
      (pp. 113-130)
      Akwasi B. Assensoh

      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 virtue of their common ancestry and, indeed, that their ties are durable across historical time periods, continental divides, and political differences. In contrast are those scholars who argue that their American identity is much more important and...

  8. PART II Political and Media Institutions

    • Chapter 5 Immigrants, Blacks, and Cities
      (pp. 133-164)
      Michael Jones-Correa

      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 immigration. The cast of urban actors has become increasingly diverse and the dynamics of urban politics increasingly complex. This chapter explores the tension between institutional stability and democratic values by focusing on the adaptability of local, particularly urban, political institutions to...

    • Chapter 6 The Portrayal of Black America in the Mass Media: Perception and Reality
      (pp. 165-196)
      Brigitte L. Nacos and Natasha Hritzuk

      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 black neighborhoods. The Commission’s report warned that America was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal” (Report, 1968, 1). While not blaming the press directly or solely for the societal conditions that led to the riots, the Kerner Commission criticized the mass media’s spotty...

  9. PART III Political Behavior

    • Chapter 7 Who Votes in Multiracial America? An Analysis of Voting Registration and Turnout by Race and Ethnicity, 1990–1996
      (pp. 199-224)
      Pie-te Lien

      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 have historically been oppressed in terms of citizenship and related issues regarding immigration, naturalization, suffrage, and political representation. In circumstances where the voting participation of racial and ethnic minorities is researched, attention has been paid mostly to Blacks and/or Latinos¹ (e.g., Verba and Nie 1972;...

    • Chapter 8 Congress, Race, and Anticrime Policy
      (pp. 225-256)
      Marion Orr

      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 Americans from white mob violence made Roosevelt’s support too risky. Roosevelt doubted the political wisdom of challenging the widespread southern belief that states’ rights doctrine precluded Congress from punishing civil rights violations by private individuals. In the 1960s and 1970s, Richard Nixon used the “law and order” theme to energize a white...

    • Chapter 9 Representation, Ethnicity, and Congress: Black and Hispanic Representatives and Constituencies
      (pp. 257-272)
      James W. Endersby and Charles E. Menifield

      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 States. While the literature on congressional representation is vast, however, it frequently omits key variables, such as the ethnic and racial composition of districts and the gender and ethnicity of their representatives (Hill, 1995; Bullock, 1996). The main thrust of this chapter is to determine whether ethnic similarity between members of Congress...

    • Chapter 10 Pride and Pragmatism: Two Arguments for the Diversification of Party Interests
      (pp. 273-285)
      Lawrence J. Hanks

      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 1998, 63–69). Despite the call for loyalty from the Democratically aligned African American leadership, the African American electorate needs to seriously reconsider its relationship with the Democratic party and to orchestrate a calculated redistribution of its support. The call for this redistribution is informed by the guiding principles:

      1. Political power...

    • Chapter 11 Comparing Support for Affirmative Action among Four Racial Groups
      (pp. 286-312)
      Pie-te Lien and M. Margaret Conway

      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 1996 presidential campaign, which emphasized the elimination of affirmative action. Nationwide, the issue has garnered attention because of President Clinton’s review of federal affirmative action programs, the formation and conduct of his panel on race, and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s reluctance to confirm the nomination...

  10. PART IV Race Consciousness and Gender

    • Chapter 12 Expressions of Racial Consciousness in the African American Community: Data from the Million Man March
      (pp. 315-336)
      Joseph McCormick 2d and Sekou Franklin

      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 was charged “with examining race, racism, and the potential for racial reconciliation in America using a process of study, constructive dialogue, and action.”

      One of the themes in the report focused on what was called “the changing face of America.” The report noted that...

    • Chapter 13 War, Political Cycles, and the Pendulum Thesis: Explaining the Rise of Black Nationalism, 1840–1996
      (pp. 337-374)
      Errol A. Henderson

      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 who swing with it always fail to synthesize composite trends” (p. 564). While Cruse relies on historical anecdote to make his point, it is important for scholars to systematically examine the correlates of the putative shifts that Cruse describes. The most challenging aspect of Cruse’s...

    • Chapter 14 Deconstruct to Reconstruct: African American Women in the Post–Civil Rights Era
      (pp. 375-395)
      Mamie Locke

      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 condition and lives of African Americans. It was a call for cessation of the activities that were destroying people and communities. As stipulated in the March’s mission statement, the purpose of the Million Woman March was to go beyond simply being a feel-good event. It was designed to lead African...

  11. Epilogue: Black and Multiracial Politics: A Look Ahead
    (pp. 396-400)
    Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh

    From its conception, one of the guiding principles behindBlack and Multiracial Politics in Americawas 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 country, most notably the U.S. Bureau of the Census, grapple with the practical and theoretical quandaries posed by racial categories, the need to rethink from the ground up such terms as “black,” multiracial,” and “biracial” is of escalating importance.

    For many...

  12. Index
    (pp. 401-404)