Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations

By James S. Frideres | Go to book overview

13.
AMERICAN ETHNICITY IN THE YEAR 2000

Peter I. Rose

The changes in Canada described by Raymond Breton in his chapter "Canadian Ethnicity in the Year 2000" sound very similar to those in the United States--with one exception. We have seen a tremendous influx of immigrants and refugees since 1965. Some two million persons have come into the United States. There was social ferment in the 1960s. There was increasing government involvement at almost every level, particularly in those areas that I discuss in my chapter "Asian Americans: From Pariahs to Paragons." (The "voluntary" refugee agencies could not exist without government support. They now receive 95 percent of their budgets from the federal government.) Of course, we did not have Quebecois nationalism, but we did have the growth of Black Power, a very important issue and a very important watershed in the history of American racial and ethnic relations. The Black Power movement served to accelerate the shift away from an old meritocratic idea or ideal to one of group rights. That movement itself was the result of the convergence of black nationalism, or what I have called a movement of "ethnocentric blackwardness," and the civil rights effort, a movement of "soulless militancy." The latter was not very black; instead, it was very whitewardly oriented. The idea was essentially to integrate. The two streams merged in the mid- 1960s when, after the attempt was made to kill James Meredith (who tried to walk across Mississippi), the black leadership got together in a church in the South. There Stokley Carmichael said into a microphone, actually breathed into a microphone, two words: "black

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