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Not Just Black and White

Not Just Black and White: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Immgiration, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States

Nancy Foner
George M. Fredrickson
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 408
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    Not Just Black and White
    Book Description:

    Immigration is one of the driving forces behind social change in the United States, continually reshaping the way Americans think about race and ethnicity. How have various racial and ethnic groups-including immigrants from around the globe, indigenous racial minorities, and African Americans-related to each other both historically and today? How have these groups been formed and transformed in the context of the continuous influx of new arrivals to this country? InNot Just Black and White, editors Nancy Foner and George M. Fredrickson bring together a distinguished group of social scientists and historians to consider the relationship between immigration and the ways in which concepts of race and ethnicity have evolved in the United States from the end of the nineteenth century to the present.

    Not Just Black and Whiteopens with an examination of historical and theoretical perspectives on race and ethnicity. The late John Higham, in the last scholarly contribution of his distinguished career, defines ethnicity broadly as a sense of community based on shared historical memories, using this concept to shed new light on the main contours of American history. The volume also considers the shifting role of state policy with regard to the construction of race and ethnicity. Former U.S. census director Kenneth Prewitt provides a definitive account of how racial and ethnic classifications in the census developed over time and how they operate today. Other contributors address the concept of panethnicity in relation to whites, Latinos, and Asian Americans, and explore socioeconomic trends that have affected, and continue to affect, the development of ethno-racial identities and relations. Joel Perlmann and Mary Waters offer a revealing comparison of patterns of intermarriage among ethnic groups in the early twentieth century and those today. The book concludes with a look at the nature of intergroup relations, both past and present, with special emphasis on how America's principal non-immigrant minority-African Americans-fits into this mosaic.

    With its attention to contemporary and historical scholarship,Not Just Black and Whiteprovides a wealth of new insights about immigration, race, and ethnicity that are fundamental to our understanding of how American society has developed thus far, and what it may look like in the future.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-211-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States: Social Constructions and Social Relations in Historical and Contemporary Perspective
    (pp. 1-20)
    Nancy Foner and George M. Fredrickson

    The United States has seen two massive waves of immigration since the late nineteenth century: 27.6 million immigrants arrived between 1881 and 1930, and then, after a hiatus of more than three decades due to restrictive laws, depression, and war, more than 25 million came between 1965 and 2000, a flow that continues virtually unabated into the twenty-first century (Gerstle and Mollenkopf 2001, 1–9). The two great waves differ in how the race and ethnicity of the majority of the new arrivals have been perceived, but the contrast is not as sharp as is commonly believed. In the late...

  6. Part I Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity

    • Chapter 1 Conceptual Confusions and Divides: Race, Ethnicity, and the Study of Immigration
      (pp. 23-41)
      Stephen Cornell and Douglas Hartmann

      First, a story—a brief anecdote that captures, symbolically at least, the core issue that motivates this chapter. The year was 2000. The place: an academic conference on race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. Scholars on a panel on Asian American studies were making a set of formal presentations on the contribution of the field to the study of U.S. immigration. For the most part, the presentations framed Asian immigration in terms of, among other things, a broad critique of American racial categories and the processes by which those categories have been constructed and applied.

      At the conclusion...

    • Chapter 2 Ethnicity: An American Genealogy
      (pp. 42-60)
      Victoria Hattam

      One cannot go very far when reading popular or academic accounts of American culture and politics without quickly encountering numerous references to ethnic groups and races. Yet the particular meanings of the words “race” and “ethnicity” and the boundary between them usually remain quite vague; most often the two are positioned as a family resemblance rather than a stark opposition. Moreover, the term “ethnic” is a rather permissive one, referring variously to religious, linguistic, cultural, and other subnational identifications as important nodes of difference within the American polity. Despite the permissiveness of the term “ethnic” and its ambiguous positioning vis-à-vis...

    • Chapter 3 The Amplitude of Ethnic History: An American Story
      (pp. 61-81)
      John Higham

      Its volume fluctuates, its sources change. Immigration of some kind, however, is one of the constants of American history, called forth by the energies of capitalism and the attractions of regulated freedom. From the outset those energies and attractions have also characterized the country at large. Capitalism, Carl Degler (1959, 1) once observed, came in the first ships. The same westerly breezes carried the seeds of freedom, which have swelled into the most celebrated, though equivocal, feature of American society and institutions.

      The resulting congruities between immigrants as a type and migration as a national style have nourished both the...

    • Chapter 4 The Great Migration, African Americans, and Immigrants in the Industrial City
      (pp. 82-99)
      Joe W. Trotter

      Domestic and international migration are major themes in U.S. history. Yet these processes did not gain substantive scholarly attention until the interwar years of the twentieth century. After a flurry of scholarship before World War II, migration research declined during the cold war years of the 1950s. The United States had placed stiff legislative restrictions on international migration during the mid-1920s. Over the next two decades the number of newcomers dropped precipitously to its lowest level since the 1840s. By the late twentieth century, however, a new round of scholarship had emerged from the confluence of several social, political, legal,...

    • Chapter 5 Immigration and the Social Construction of Otherness: “Underclass” Stigma and Intergroup Relations
      (pp. 100-116)
      Gerald Jaynes

      Clearly, in the United States during the past few decades, intergroup relations have changed significantly. Moreover, it is just as clear that intergroup stratification, although still sharp, is less rigid than before. Minorities have achieved great advances in occupational mobility, incomes, educational attainments, and acceptance in previously prohibited social roles. Unfortunately, Americans’ unbridled self-congratulation regarding this progress is tempered by the disproportionate numbers of minorities who remain jobless or hold the lowest-status occupations, live in poverty, are school dropouts, and, regardless of status attainments, still encounter differential treatment in public spaces and in access to important social institutions and organizations....

  7. Part II Immigration, Race, and The State

    • Chapter 6 American Gatekeeping: Race and Immigration Law in the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 119-144)
      Erika Lee

      The twin metaphors of “gates” and “gatekeepers” were first introduced into national conversations about immigrants and race beginning in the late nineteenth century, when Americans called on the federal government to “close the door” against Asian and, later, European and Mexican immigrants.¹ By the end of the twentieth century, the metaphor had become embedded in academic and public discourses on immigration, reflecting a renewed restrictionist mood. A wide range of scholars and journalists wrote about “guarding the gate,” the “clamor at the gates,” “the gatekeepers,” and the “guarded gate” (see, for example, LeMay 1987; 1989; Glazer 1985; Zucker and Zucker...

    • Chapter 7 The Census Counts, the Census Classifies
      (pp. 145-164)
      Kenneth Prewitt

      We start with three propositions. In the political and economic life of a nation, it is not simply “how many” but “how many of what” that matters. We count to get a count, but also to classify, to create categories and taxonomies. When the Lord instructs Moses to take a census, it is to learn how many men there are of fighting age. So it has been across the history of census-taking: how many young males, how many taxpayers, how many women of childbearing age, how many noncitizens, and on and on. The constitutional purpose of the U.S. census is,...

  8. Part III Panethnicity

    • Chapter 8 Making New Immigrants “Inbetween”: Irish Hosts and White Panethnicity, 1890 to 1930
      (pp. 167-196)
      David Roediger and James Barrett

      Part of the impulse that generated this collaborative volume is a healthy perception that the longer history of U.S. immigration might deepen our knowledge of more recent migrations. But contemporary immigration and interdisciplinary scholarship also cause historians to ask different and sharper questions about the immigrant past. This essay is structured around issues largely absent from older historical scholarship and poses questions insistently raised by recent immigration. One such question concerns how immigrants come to be classified racially. The recent works of Gary Okihiro (1994), Neil Foley (2000), Charles A. Gallagher (forthcoming), and Mia Tuan (1998) have shown us how...

    • Chapter 9 The Formation of Latino and Latina Panethnic Identities
      (pp. 197-216)
      José Itzigsohn

      This chapter examines the formation of Latino and Latina¹ panethnicities—that is, the emergence of diverse forms of Latino and Latina individual and collective identities, political projects, and social and cultural practices. The broad labeling of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and their children as Latinos and Latinas has generated a great deal of controversy. The Latino and Latina label refers to a diverse group of people from countries with different and sometimes conflicting histories; it includes immigrants and several generations of people born in the United States, middle-class and working-class persons, voluntary immigrants and those who were...

    • Chapter 10 Asian American Panethnicity: Contemporary National and Transnational Possibilities
      (pp. 217-234)
      Yen Le Espiritu

      In an article published inGidra, an activist Asian American news magazine, Naomi Iwasaki (1999, under “Asian American or Not”) writes, “You know, the hardest thing about pan-Asian solidarity is the ‘pan’ part. It forces us all to step outside of our comfort zones, whether they be constructed by ethnicity, class, home city, identity, whatever.” Iwasaki’s statement calls attention to the social constructedness of panethnicity—panethnic identities are self-conscious products of political choice and actions, not of inherited phenotypes, bloodlines, or cultural traditions. In my 1992 publicationAsian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities, I identify the twin roots of...

  9. Part IV Socioeconomic Profiles and Trends

    • Chapter 11 Old and New Landscapes of Diversity: The Residential Patterns of Immigrant Minorities
      (pp. 237-261)
      Richard Alba and Nancy Denton

      An analysis of the residential patterns of immigrants to the United States at the beginning and end of the twentieth century of necessity involves comparing the differences in immigrant streams, the racial hierarchy, and places of residence. All three elements changed over the century and interacted with each other to affect immigrants’ residential opportunities. At the broadest level, we argue that the trend for immigrants and for the racial hierarchy has been toward greater heterogeneity and toward a loosening of once more rigid structures, while for places of residence, despite greater diversity at the neighborhood level, there has been a...

    • Chapter 12 Intermarriage Then and Now: Race, Generation, and the Changing Meaning of Marriage
      (pp. 262-277)
      Joel Perlmann and Mary C. Waters

      Intermarriage has a reasonably long pedigree among American social scientists. There are a few longer pedigrees perhaps; still, when Julius Drachsler (1920) studied the prevalence of intermarriage among the marriage partners of New York City, using the records of 1908 to 1912, he was already asking the crucial questions in a study he calledDemocracy and Assimilation: The Blending of Immigrant Heritages in America.Unions between immigrants and natives, among different subgroups of immigrants, and among the children of all these groups were his special concerns—as well as between Jews and Gentiles, and between blacks and various groups of...

    • Chapter 13 Race, Assimilation, and “Second Generations,” Past and Present
      (pp. 278-298)
      Philip Kasinitz

      Since the resumption of mass immigration in the late 1960s, the United States has incorporated tens of millions of new immigrants, the large majority of whom are non- European. Being neither unambiguously “white,” in the way that term came to be used in late-twentieth-century America, nor African American, most of these newcomers do not fit easily into traditional North American racial categories. Of course, the presence of “nonblack, nonwhite” groups is hardly new. Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians have always been part of the U.S. racial landscape. Yet their presence in such large numbers, the fact that these numbers are...

  10. Part V Intergroup Relations

    • Chapter 14 The Black-Asian Conflict?
      (pp. 301-314)
      John Lie

      Who now reads Allport? Not so long ago, whatever one’s scientific or political predilection, the contact thesis dominated the way in which we understand and explain interethnic relationships in the United States. In Gordon Allport’s (1979, 9) view, manifestations of intergroup conflict—from anger and hatred to discrimination and violence—ultimately stem from prejudice, which “is an antipathy based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization.” In this line of reasoning, racial or ethnic prejudice—however faulty and inflexible a generalization it may be—can be corrected and rendered flexible by the experience of interethnic contact, especially if groups are of...

    • Chapter 15 Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Customers Throughout the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 315-340)
      Steven J. Gold

      Since the late nineteenth century, conflicts between immigrant business owners and their customers have been common in American society, especially in inner cities and isolated rural regions. Because such conflicts are often destructive of human lives, property, and public order, they have been the subject of periodic investigation by politicians, journalists, and social scientists. The resulting body of literature is voluminous but narrow, focusing on the most violent incidents in big cities and limited almost exclusively to the interactions of three ethnic groups—Jews, Koreans, and African Americans—during specific historical periods (the 1930s through the 1960s for Jews and...

    • Chapter 16 Straddling the Color Line: The Legal Construction of Hispanic Identity in Texas
      (pp. 341-357)
      Neil Foley

      The last few decades have witnessed the creation of a new identity for peoples of Latin American descent in the United States that is likely to be with us for some time to come. Used by the 1980 census to designate a free-floating ethnic category of any race, the term “Hispanic” has taken on a life of its own. Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, whites, Asian Americans, and other groups use the term because it simplifies the problem of making distinctions among the numerous peoples of Latin America who reside in the United States.

      The term “Hispanic” has also...

    • Chapter 17 Black and Brown in Compton: Demographic Change, Suburban Decline, and Intergroup Relations in a South Central Los Angeles Community, 1950 to 2000
      (pp. 358-376)
      Albert M. Camarillo

      In the wake of the civil disturbances that rocked Los Angeles in the spring of 1992, many social scientists hurriedly compiled demographic, socioeconomic, and attitudinal data on persons who lived within the South Central Los Angeles region where the destruction of private property and loss of life were concentrated. To the surprise of many scholars and the public at large, the racial and ethnic group composition of this area of metropolitan Los Angeles was different from what was expected. Indeed, many of the communities in the corridor stretching from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach had changed significantly during the...

  11. Index
    (pp. 377-390)