Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America

Brookings Institution Press
Free sample

Greater racial diversity is good news for America's future

Race is once again a contentious topic in America, as shown by the divisive rise of Donald Trump and the activism of groups like Black Lives Matter. Yet Diversity Explosion argues that the current period of profound racial change will lead to a less-divided nation than today's older whites or younger minorities fear. Prominent demographer William Frey sees America's emerging diversity boom as good news for a country that would otherwise face declining growth and rapid aging for many years to come.

In the new edition of this popular Brookings Press offering, Frey draws from the lessons of the 2016 presidential election and new statistics to paint an illuminating picture of where America's racial demography is headed—and what that means for the nation's future.

Using the U.S. Census, national surveys, and related sources, Frey tells how the rapidly growing "new minorities"—Hispanics, Asians, and multiracial Americans—along with blacks and other groups, are transforming and reinvigorating the nation's demographic landscape. He discusses their impact on generational change, regional shifts of major racial groups, neighborhood segregation, interracial marriage, and presidential politics.

Diversity Explosion is an accessible, richly illustrated overview of how unprecedented racial change is remaking the United States once again. It is an essential guide for political strategists, marketers, investors, educators, policymakers, and anyone who wants to understand the magnitude, potential, and promise of the new national melting pot in the twenty-first century.

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About the author

William H. Frey is a senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and Research Professor in Population Studies at the University of Michigan. Frey is an internationally regarded demographer with expertise in U.S. demographics and American political demographics whose work has been written about in the Economist, the New Yorker, and New York Times Magazine. He is also a frequent commentator on broadcast media.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jul 24, 2018
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780815732853
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Demography
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
Social Science / Social Classes & Economic Disparity
Social Science / Statistics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The New York Times bestseller
A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016
Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On
NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads
San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016
Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016

“Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary.” —The New York Times

“This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” —O Magazine

In her groundbreaking  bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.
 
“When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.
 
Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
 
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
An instant New York Times bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, this celebrated account of a young African-American man who escaped Newark, NJ, to attend Yale, but still faced the dangers of the streets when he returned is, “nuanced and shattering” (People) and “mesmeric” (The New York Times Book Review).

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.

A compelling and honest portrait of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and the slums of Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all this “fresh, compelling” (The Washington Post) story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and “a haunting American tragedy for our times” (Entertainment Weekly).
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