The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity

Russell Sage Foundation
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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.
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About the author

MARIA KRYSAN is associate professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology. She is a fellow at the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago. AMANDA E. LEWIS is assistant professor in the Departments of Sociology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She is a fellow at the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago. CONTRIBUTORS: Lawrence D. Bobo, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Sharon M. Collins, Korie Edwards, Reynolds Farley, Joe R. Feagin, Tyrone A. Forman, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Karen S. Glover, Nakisha Harris, Maria Krysan, Amanda E. Lewis, Manning Marable, Charles W. Mills, and Geoff Ward.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Russell Sage Foundation
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Published on
Nov 11, 2004
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781610443425
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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"Race in the Schoolyard is a wonderful book for social scientists studying race, education, and childhood studies. The book showcases the talents of a gifted fieldworker whose theoretically rich work sits on the cutting edge of a growing body of scholarship examining the social worlds of children. School officials, parents, and, most especially, a new generation of teachers will benefit from these lessons on race."-American Journal of Sociology

"Instructors may recommend this book to students to whom the topic is surely vital and engrossing and for whom the text will be lively and engaging."-Contemporary Sociology

"Lewis moves beyond traditional research methods used to examine achievement gaps and differences in test scores to look closely at the realities of schooling. I highly recommend this work for every person involved in teaching and learning."-Multicultural Review

"Through eloquent case studies of three California elementary schools-a white-majority 'good' school, a mostly minority 'tough' school, and an integrated 'alternative' school-[Lewis] demonstrates that schools promote racial inequalities through their daily rituals and practices. Even the notion of a "color-blind" America-an especially popular ideal in the white school-perpetuates racism, Lewis argues, because it denies or dismisses the very real constraints that schools place on minorities. Lewis is nevertheless an optimist, insisting that schools can change ideas of race. . . . Highly recommended. Undergraduate collections and above."-Choice

"In this pioneering ethnography in elementary schools, Lewis shows brilliantly how racism is taught and learned in the small places of everyday life."-Joe Feagin, University of Florida and author of Racist America

"A wonderful and timely book. Ethnographically rich, theoretically sophisticated, and clearly written, this book addresses the ubiquitous issue of race in all its complexity."-Michèle Foster, author of Black Teachers on Teaching

"A compelling ethnography of the racial landscape of contemporary schools."-Barrie Thorne, author of Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School

Could your kids be learning a fourth R at school: reading, writing, 'rithmatic, and race?

Race in the Schoolyard takes us to a place most of us seldom get to see in action¾ our children's classrooms¾ and reveals the lessons about race that are communicated there. Amanda E. Lewis spent a year observing classes at three elementary schools, two multiracial urban and one white suburban. While race of course is not officially taught like multiplication and punctuation, she finds that it nonetheless insinuates itself into everyday life in schools.

Lewis explains how the curriculum, both expressed and hidden, conveys many racial lessons. While teachers and other school community members verbally deny the salience of race, she illustrates how it does influence the way they understand the world, interact with each other, and teach children. This eye-opening text is important reading for educators, parents, and scholars alike.

Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer)

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER | NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER | PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST | NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • New York • Newsday • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Praise for Between the World and Me

“Powerful . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Eloquent . . . in the tradition of James Baldwin with echoes of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man . . . an autobiography of the black body in America.”—The Boston Globe

“Brilliant . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders.”—The Washington Post

“Urgent, lyrical, and devastating . . . a new classic of our time.”—Vogue

“A crucial book during this moment of generational awakening.”—The New Yorker

“Titanic and timely . . . essential reading.”—Entertainment Weekly
On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latino students continue to lag behind their peers? Through five years' worth of interviews and data-gathering at Riverview, John Diamond and Amanda Lewis have created a rich and disturbing portrait of the achievement gap that persists more than fifty years after the formal dismantling of segregation. As students progress from elementary school to middle school to high school, their level of academic achievement increasingly tracks along racial lines, with white and Asian students maintaining higher GPAs and standardized testing scores, taking more advanced classes, and attaining better college admission results than their black and Latino counterparts. Most research to date has focused on the role of poverty, family stability, and other external influences in explaining poor performance at school, especially in urban contexts. Diamond and Lewis instead situate their research in a suburban school, and look at what factors within the school itself could be causing the disparity. Most crucially, they challenge many common explanations of the 'racial achievement gap,' exploring what race actually means in this situation, and why it matters. An in-depth study with far-reaching consequences, Despite the Best Intentions revolutionizes our understanding of both the knotty problem of academic disparities and the larger question of the color line in American society.
New York Times Bestseller • Notable Book of the Year • Editors' Choice Selection
One of Bill Gates’ “Amazing Books” of the Year
One of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of the Year
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction
An NPR Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Hillman Prize for Nonfiction
Gold Winner • California Book Award (Nonfiction)
Finalist • Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
Finalist • Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize

This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

 

Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, “virtually indispensable” study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed housing discrimination by race and provided an important tool for dismantling legal segregation. But almost fifty years later, residential segregation remains virtually unchanged in many metropolitan areas, particularly where large groups of racial and ethnic minorities live. Why does segregation persist at such high rates and what makes it so difficult to combat? In Cycle of Segregation, sociologists Maria Krysan and Kyle Crowder examine how everyday social processes shape residential stratification. Past neighborhood experiences, social networks, and daily activities all affect the mobility patterns of different racial groups in ways that have cemented segregation as a self-perpetuating cycle in the twenty-first century.

Through original analyses of national-level surveys and in-depth interviews with residents of Chicago, Krysan and Crowder find that residential stratification is reinforced through the biases and blind spots that individuals exhibit in their searches for housing. People rely heavily on information from friends, family, and coworkers when choosing where to live. Because these social networks tend to be racially homogenous, people are likely to receive information primarily from members of their own racial group and move to neighborhoods that are also dominated by their group. Similarly, home-seekers who report wanting to stay close to family members can end up in segregated destinations because their relatives live in those neighborhoods. The authors suggest that even absent of family ties, people gravitate toward neighborhoods that are familiar to them through their past experiences, including where they have previously lived, and where they work, shop, and spend time. Because historical segregation has shaped so many of these experiences, even these seemingly race-neutral decisions help reinforce the cycle of residential stratification. As a result, segregation has declined much more slowly than many social scientists have expected.

To overcome this cycle, Krysan and Crowder advocate multi-level policy solutions that pair inclusionary zoning and affordable housing with education and public relations campaigns that emphasize neighborhood diversity and high-opportunity areas. They argue that together, such programs can expand the number of destinations available to low-income residents and help offset the negative images many people hold about certain neighborhoods or help introduce them to places they had never considered. Cycle of Segregation demonstrates why a nuanced understanding of everyday social processes is critical for interrupting entrenched patterns of residential segregation.
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