Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past

By David R. Roediger | Go to book overview

1
All about Eve, Critical White Studies,
and Getting Over Whiteness

Is Race Over?

The cover of a rhapsodic 1993 special issue of Time showed us “The New Face of America. ” Within, the newsmagazine proclaimed the United States to be “the first universal nation, ” one that supposedly was not “a military superpower but …a multicultural superpower. ” Moving cheerfully between the domestic and the global, an article declared Miami to be the new “Capital of Latin America. ” Commodity flows were cited as an index of tasty cultural changes: “Americans use 68% more spices today than a decade ago. The consumption of red pepper rose 105%, basil 190%. ” Chrysler's CEO, Robert J. Eaton, best summed up the issue's expansive mood in a lavish advertising spread:

At the Chrysler Corporation, our commitment to cultural diversity ranges from programs for minority-owned dealerships to the brand-new Jeep factory we built in ethnically diverse downtown Detroit. And our knowhow is spreading to countries from which the immigrants came. We're building and selling Jeep vehicles in China, minivans in Austria and trucks in Mexico. We're proud to be associated with this probing look [by Time] at a multicultural America. We hope you enjoy it. 1

Remarkably, Time sustained such euphoria amid many passages confessing to doubts, troubling facts, and even gloom. In the U. S.-led “global village, ” readers learned, there were more telephones in Tokyo than in the whole of Africa. The “exemplary” Asian American immigrants had succeeded, but at tremendous cost. The host population that

-3-

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