The State of American History

By Herbert J. Bass | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Ethnicity: A Neglected Dimension of American History


Twentieth-century sociological literature is replete with notices of the imminent demise of ethnicity in America. In 1945, W. Lloyd Warner declared: "The future of American ethnic groups seems to be limited; it is likely that they will be quickly absorbed."1 A decade later, Will Herberg confirmed that ethnicity, if not dead, was rapidly dying.2 These epitaphs to ethnicity, like Mark Twain's obituary, have turned out to be premature. Recent events have shattered the assumption that the melting pot has worked its cultural alchemy. Ethnicity, by which I mean group consciousness based on a sense of common origin, has demonstrated renewed vitality in the second half of the twentieth century.

Clearly this resurgence of ethnic consciousness, this "new tribalism," springs from deep-seated social and psychic needs. The "Black Revolution" appears to have served as a catalyst, energizing other groups to both defensive and emulative responses. Just as in Canada, where the French nationalist movement has spurred Slavs and others to assert themselves, so black militancy has elicited responding ethnic nationalisms. "Black Power" brings forth echoes of "Irish Power," "Polish Power," and so forth. Inspired by the example of black Americans, white ethnics tend to see themselves engaged in an analogous struggle for liberation from the stigma and burden of inferiority.3

Only the true believer can any longer sustain his vision of America as a "homogeneous society of undifferentiated men" where race, religion, or national origin do not matter. The inability to transmute


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The State of American History


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 432

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?