Catalogue


The social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States /
[edited by] Joan Ferrante, Prince Brown, Jr.
edition
2nd ed.
imprint
Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall, 2001.
description
xvii, 525 p. : ill.
ISBN
0130283231
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall, 2001.
isbn
0130283231
catalogue key
4007909
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Introduction or Preface
PREFACE The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Statesis a five-part book that gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of the U.S. system of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which this system came into being and has been preserved/perpetuated, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances. The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Statesis not just a book of readings. Each of the five parts leads off with an in-depth essay or overview that grounds the set of readings in sociological theory. Readings were selected for their potential to stimulate critical thinking and self-examination. In addition, each reading begins with one or more study questions to help readers clarify/identify key concepts and issues. The idea for this book grew out of our frustration with the misleading way in which the idea of "race" is treated in most textbooks that address this concept. Many authors, for example, accurately point out that race is not a meaningful biological concept, but then they proceed to define race in a way that highlights biological traits and to show photographs suggesting that race is a definitive, clear-cut attribute. This book also developed out of a shared commitment to improve the quality of our teaching and to gain a fuller understanding of the impact that the idea of race has on a society that is consumed by it. The logic, organization, articles, and ideas evolved out of conversations with other teachers and from students responses to class material. As one example of how student input helped to shape this book, we asked students to respond in writing to the idea that "race" is a myth and is based on the false assumption that people can be divided into distinct racial categories. While there are always a few students not surprised by this idea, the majority cannot see how this is possible--as these sample comments show: I don't understand how this is possible but 1 am open-minded about it. If there is no such thing as race, why can I look around at the people in the class and know their race? If race is a myth, why is race such a big deal in this country? Such responses motivated us to ask and answer several difficult questions that are central to this book: (1) How is it that racial categories are treated as mutually exclusive when we can identify many cases in which people have complex biological histories? (2) If classification schemes in fact are based on a false assumption, why do they seem so clear-cut? (3) Why have government officials spent so much physical and mental energy devising rules for classifying people according to race? (4) "Why do we so easily recognize races when walking down the street if race is a myth?" (Haney Lopez 1994:19). (5) If race is a myth, should we dismantle classification schemes? In writing and selecting the readings, we struggled with how to refer to "race." Should we always put the word racein quotation marks? Should we always qualify references to a person's race with the words people classified asblack, white, and so on? In the end, we concluded that the idea of race is real if only because its consequences are real. However, we believe that people must shift their understanding of the meaning of race away from a term referring to clear biological divisions of humanity, to a term referring to "a way in which one group designates itself as 'insider' and other groups as 'outsiders' to reinforce or enforce its wishes and/or ideas in social, economic, and political realms" (Rorhl 1996:96). The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Stateswas created with the goal of
Introduction or Preface
PREFACEThe Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Statesis a five-part book that gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of the U.S. system of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which this system came into being and has been preserved/perpetuated, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances.The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Statesis not just a book of readings. Each of the five parts leads off with an in-depth essay or overview that grounds the set of readings in sociological theory. Readings were selected for their potential to stimulate critical thinking and self-examination. In addition, each reading begins with one or more study questions to help readers clarify/identify key concepts and issues.The idea for this book grew out of our frustration with the misleading way in which the idea of "race" is treated in most textbooks that address this concept. Many authors, for example, accurately point out that race is not a meaningful biological concept, but then they proceed to define race in a way that highlights biological traits and to show photographs suggesting that race is a definitive, clear-cut attribute.This book also developed out of a shared commitment to improve the quality of our teaching and to gain a fuller understanding of the impact that the idea of race has on a society that is consumed by it. The logic, organization, articles, and ideas evolved out of conversations with other teachers and from students responses to class material. As one example of how student input helped to shape this book, we asked students to respond in writing to the idea that "race" is a myth and is based on the false assumption that people can be divided into distinct racial categories. While there are always a few students not surprised by this idea, the majority cannot see how this is possible--as these sample comments show: I don't understand how this is possible but 1 am open-minded about it. If there is no such thing as race, why can I look around at the people in the class and know their race? If race is a myth, why is race such a big deal in this country?Such responses motivated us to ask and answer several difficult questions that are central to this book: (1) How is it that racial categories are treated as mutually exclusive when we can identify many cases in which people have complex biological histories? (2) If classification schemes in fact are based on a false assumption, why do they seem so clear-cut? (3) Why have government officials spent so much physical and mental energy devising rules for classifying people according to race? (4) "Why do we so easily recognize races when walking down the street if race is a myth?" (Haney Lopez 1994:19). (5) If race is a myth, should we dismantle classification schemes?In writing and selecting the readings, we struggled with how to refer to "race." Should we always put the wordracein quotation marks? Should we always qualify references to a person's race with the wordspeople classified asblack, white, and so on? In the end, we concluded that the idea of race is real if only because its consequences are real. However, we believe that people must shift their understanding of the meaning of race away from a term referring to clear biological divisions of humanity, to a term referring to "a way in which one group designates itself as 'insider' and other groups as 'outsiders' to reinforce or enforce its wishes and/or ideas in social, economic, and political realms" (Rorhl 1996:96).The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Stateswas created with the goal of helping readers make this conceptual t
Introduction or Preface
PREFACE The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States is a five-part book that gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of the U.S. system of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which this system came into being and has been preserved/perpetuated, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances. The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States is not just a book of readings. Each of the five parts leads off with an in-depth essay or overview that grounds the set of readings in sociological theory. Readings were selected for their potential to stimulate critical thinking and self-examination. In addition, each reading begins with one or more study questions to help readers clarify/identify key concepts and issues. The idea for this book grew out of our frustration with the misleading way in which the idea of "race" is treated in most textbooks that address this concept. Many authors, for example, accurately point out that race is not a meaningful biological concept, but then they proceed to define race in a way that highlights biological traits and to show photographs suggesting that race is a definitive, clear-cut attribute. This book also developed out of a shared commitment to improve the quality of our teaching and to gain a fuller understanding of the impact that the idea of race has on a society that is consumed by it. The logic, organization, articles, and ideas evolved out of conversations with other teachers and from students responses to class material. As one example of how student input helped to shape this book, we asked students to respond in writing to the idea that "race" is a myth and is based on the false assumption that people can be divided into distinct racial categories. While there are always a few students not surprised by this idea, the majority cannot see how this is possible--as these sample comments show: I don''t understand how this is possible but 1 am open-minded about it. If there is no such thing as race, why can I look around at the people in the class and know their race? If race is a myth, why is race such a big deal in this country? Such responses motivated us to ask and answer several difficult questions that are central to this book: (1) How is it that racial categories are treated as mutually exclusive when we can identify many cases in which people have complex biological histories? (2) If classification schemes in fact are based on a false assumption, why do they seem so clear-cut? (3) Why have government officials spent so much physical and mental energy devising rules for classifying people according to race? (4) "Why do we so easily recognize races when walking down the street if race is a myth?" (Haney Lopez 1994:19). (5) If race is a myth, should we dismantle classification schemes? In writing and selecting the readings, we struggled with how to refer to "race." Should we always put the word race in quotation marks? Should we always qualify references to a person''s race with the words people classified as black, white, and so on? In the end, we concluded that the idea of race is real if only because its consequences are real. However, we believe that people must shift their understanding of the meaning of race away from a term referring to clear biological divisions of humanity, to a term referring to "a way in which one group designates itself as 'insider'' and other groups as 'outsiders'' to reinforce or enforce its wishes and/or ideas in social, economic, and political realms" (Rorhl 1996:96). The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States was created with the goal of helping readers make this conceptual transition. Changes to the Edition This new edition reorganizes the material of the first edition to fit with a major and historical change in the way the United States determines race. On October 30, 1997 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget OMB declared that for the first time in history of the United States, people could identify themselves on the census and other official forms as belonging to more than one racial category. The OMB has yet to decide how it will count people who identify with more than one race. One thing is clear: It will not use the term multiracial. The number of racial categories could change from the official categories of the 1990 census to as many as 63, de pending on how people respond to the race question. This change in policy leads us to ask several questions, including the following: Why did this change occur? And how did the U.S. government account for people who identified with more than one race before October 30, 1997? We have included approximately 20 new readings in the second edition. We have selected readings that speak to the constructed nature of race and the real consequences this social construction has had on people''s life chances and on race relations in the United States. The longstanding belief that people fit neatly into clear-cut racial categories has supported a corresponding belief that the American experience is a series of separate and parallel stories of racial and ethnic groups. The new readings open our eyes to the idea that the American experience is a story of interracial intimacies, shared histories, and interconnected experiences. The system of racial classification, and the ways this system has been formally and informally enforced, has forced disconnections and separations among the "races" and has otherwise worked to keep these intersecting histories a "secret." In addition to adding readings that show the consequences of racial classification, we have also selected readings that strengthen the discussion surrounding ethnic classification. The reading "What''s in a Name?" offers insights into the origins of the term "Hispanic." "Theories of Ethnicity" adds a theoretical dimension. "Are Italian Americans Just White Folk?" uses the case of Italian-Americans to explore the ethnic experience and the many factors that affect that experience. The reading "Americans United by Myths" addresses two important questions: What''s the common identity Americans share and how did this identity emerge? We also added readings that specifically speak to the meaning of "whiteness. They are "Litigating Whiteness," "The Rules of Passing," "White Privilege Shapes the U.S.", and "More Thoughts on Why the System of White Privilege is Wrong."
First Chapter

PREFACE

The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United Statesis a five-part book that gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of the U.S. system of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which this system came into being and has been preserved/perpetuated, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances.

The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States is not just a book of readings. Each of the five parts leads off with an in-depth essay or overview that grounds the set of readings in sociological theory. Readings were selected for their potential to stimulate critical thinking and self-examination. In addition, each reading begins with one or more study questions to help readers clarify/identify key concepts and issues.

The idea for this book grew out of our frustration with the misleading way in which the idea of "race" is treated in most textbooks that address this concept. Many authors, for example, accurately point out that race is not a meaningful biological concept, but then they proceed to define race in a way that highlights biological traits and to show photographs suggesting that race is a definitive, clear-cut attribute.

This book also developed out of a shared commitment to improve the quality of our teaching and to gain a fuller understanding of the impact that the idea of race has on a society that is consumed by it. The logic, organization, articles, and ideas evolved out of conversations with other teachers and from students responses to class material. As one example of how student input helped to shape this book, we asked students to respond in writing to the idea that "race" is a myth and is based on the false assumption that people can be divided into distinct racial categories. While there are always a few students not surprised by this idea, the majority cannot see how this is possible—as these sample comments show:

  • I don't understand how this is possible but 1 am open-minded about it.
  • If there is no such thing as race, why can I look around at the people in the class and know their race?
  • If race is a myth, why is race such a big deal in this country?

Such responses motivated us to ask and answer several difficult questions that are central to this book: (1) How is it that racial categories are treated as mutually exclusive when we can identify many cases in which people have complex biological histories? (2) If classification schemes in fact are based on a false assumption, why do they seem so clear-cut? (3) Why have government officials spent so much physical and mental energy devising rules for classifying people according to race? (4) "Why do we so easily recognize races when walking down the street if race is a myth?" (Haney Lopez 1994:19). (5) If race is a myth, should we dismantle classification schemes?

In writing and selecting the readings, we struggled with how to refer to "race." Should we always put the word race in quotation marks? Should we always qualify references to a person's race with the words people classified as black, white, and so on? In the end, we concluded that the idea of race is real if only because its consequences are real. However, we believe that people must shift their understanding of the meaning of race away from a term referring to clear biological divisions of humanity, to a term referring to "a way in which one group designates itself as `insider' and other groups as `outsiders' to reinforce or enforce its wishes and/or ideas in social, economic, and political realms" (Rorhl 1996:96). The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States was created with the goal of helping readers make this conceptual transition.

Changes to the Edition

This new edition reorganizes the material of the first edition to fit with a major and historical change in the way the United States determines race. On October 30, 1997 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget OMB declared that for the first time in history of the United States, people could identify themselves on the census and other official forms as belonging to more than one racial category. The OMB has yet to decide how it will count people who identify with more than one race. One thing is clear: It will not use the term multiracial. The number of racial categories could change from the official categories of the 1990 census to as many as 63, de pending on how people respond to the race question. This change in policy leads us to ask several questions, including the following: Why did this change occur? And how did the U.S. government account for people who identified with more than one race before October 30, 1997?

We have included approximately 20 new readings in the second edition. We have selected readings that speak to the constructed nature of race and the real consequences this social construction has had on people's life chances and on race relations in the United States. The longstanding belief that people fit neatly into clear-cut racial categories has supported a corresponding belief that the American experience is a series of separate and parallel stories of racial and ethnic groups. The new readings open our eyes to the idea that the American experience is a story of interracial intimacies, shared histories, and interconnected experiences. The system of racial classification, and the ways this system has been formally and informally enforced, has forced disconnections and separations among the "races" and has otherwise worked to keep these intersecting histories a "secret."

In addition to adding readings that show the consequences of racial classification, we have also selected readings that strengthen the discussion surrounding ethnic classification. The reading "What's in a Name?" offers insights into the origins of the term "Hispanic." "Theories of Ethnicity" adds a theoretical dimension. "Are Italian Americans Just White Folk?" uses the case of Italian-Americans to explore the ethnic experience and the many factors that affect that experience. The reading "Americans United by Myths" addresses two important questions: What's the common identity Americans share and how did this identity emerge?

We also added readings that specifically speak to the meaning of "whiteness. They are "Litigating Whiteness," "The Rules of Passing," "White Privilege Shapes the U.S.", and "More Thoughts on Why the System of White Privilege is Wrong."

Summaries
Long Description
For undergraduate courses in race and ethnic relations. This groundbreaking collection of classic and cutting edge sociological research gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which the system came into being and remains, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances.
Main Description
This groundbreaking collection of classic and cutting edge sociological research gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which the system came into being and remains, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances. The readings deal with five major themes: the personal experience of classification schemes; classifying people by race; ethnic classification; the persistence, functions, and consequences of social classification; and a new paradigm: transcending categories. For individuals who want to gain a fuller understanding of the impact the ideas of race has on a society that is consumed by it.
Main Description
This groundbreaking collection of classic and cutting edge sociological research gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which the system came into being and remains, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances.The readings deal with five major themes: the personal experience of classification schemes; classifying people by race; ethnic classification; the persistence, functions, and consequences of social classification; and a new paradigm: transcending categories.For individuals who want to gain a fuller understanding of the impact the ideas of race has on a society that is consumed by it.
Table of Contents
Preface
Introductionp. 1
The Personal Experience of Classification Schemesp. 19
Adventures of an Indian Princessp. 34
Expelled in 1877, Indian Tribe Is Now Wanted as a Resourcep. 39
Black Man with a Nose Jobp. 44
Culture Wars in Asian Americap. 51
A Being Blackanesep. 56
A Rescue Without Cheersp. 59
The Burden of Racep. 62
What Will My Mother Sayp. 67
Choosing Up Sidesp. 74
Identity Matters: The Immigrant Childrenp. 77
How It Was for Mep. 88
Mojado Like Mep. 93
Then Came the Warp. 99
Classifying People by Racep. 109
"Indian" and "Black" as Radically Different Types of Categoriesp. 120
Historical Origins of the Prohibition of Multiracial Legal Identity in the States and the Nationp. 123
Biology and the Social Construction of the "Race" Conceptp. 131
Comparing Official Definitions of Race in Japan and the United Statesp. 139
Federal Statistical Directive No. 15p. 157
The Mean Streets of Social Racep. 161
What Should the Specific Data Collection and Presentation Categories Be?p. 177
Ethnic Classificationp. 187
Questions Related to Ethnicityp. 202
A View from the South: Lands of Immigrantsp. 207
Directive No. 15 and Self-Identificationp. 211
The Mingling of Alaska Natives with "Foreigners": A Brief Historical Overviewp. 216
Ethnicity as Explanation, Ethnicity as Excusep. 223
Ancestryp. 231
Choosing an Ancestryp. 235
Reflections on American Ethnicityp. 239
Resource Competition Theoriesp. 249
The Persistence, Functions, and Consequences of Social Classificationp. 269
On Being Like a Mulep. 287
Article XIX, Chinese: Constitution of the State of Californiap. 291
Persons of Mean and Vile Conditionp. 293
Science and Jewish Immigrationp. 301
Remarks on the First Two Volumes of Sex and Racep. 309
Why "Race" Makes No Scientific Sense: The Case of Africans and Native Americansp. 320
Science, Pseudo-science and Racismp. 326
The Declaration of Athensp. 333
White Reconstruction in the Universityp. 337
Taking Back the Centerp. 355
Plessy v. Fergusonp. 358
Plessyp. 371
Toward a New Paradigm: Transcending Categoriesp. 377
The Anthropology of Race: A Study of Ways of Looking at Racep. 389
The Intermarriage of the Racesp. 402
Letter from Thomas Jefferson: Virginia's Definition of a Mulattop. 405
Ethnic Diversity: Its Historical and Constitutional Rootsp. 407
One Drop of Bloodp. 422
Perceptions and Misperceptions of Skin Colorp. 427
Identifying Ethnicity in Medical Papersp. 435
Selected Discrimination Cases Handled by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1996p. 440
Brain's Use of Shortcuts Can Be a Route to Biasp. 455
Talking Past One Anotherp. 462
Let's Spread the "Fun" Around: The Issue of Sports Team Names and Mascotsp. 465
Another Japanese Version: An American Actor in Japanese Handsp. 470
Toward a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connectionp. 478
White-Blindnessp. 496
Race - The U.S. Bureau of the Census (1996)p. 503
Federal and Program Uses of the Data Derived from Race and Ethnicity Questions - The U.S. Bureau of the Census (1990)p. 509
Referencesp. 515
Text Creditsp. 521
Photo Creditsp. 531
Indexp. 533
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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