Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations

Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations

Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations

Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations


Ethnicity and racial relations are almost universally seen as a prime motivating force behind social conflict and change. Often volatile and complex, racial interaction resonates through all aspects of contemporary society. Social issues which appear to have little connection to race often become entagled with ethnic friction to create far more complex problems. Race is often used by individuals and political organizations to further their own objectives.
Since the 1994 publication of the third edition of this acclaimed reference book there have been enormous changes in the area of race and ethnic relations throughout the world. The Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations deals with these changes through in-depth articles which both define and analyze the terms. For this edition, there has been a total revision of existing entries and many new entries that take account of developments in society and intellectual trends.
Features include: • Fully updated lists of further reading and cross-references.
• New entries include: Black feminism, Causes celebres, Environmental racism, Hybridity, Postcolonialism
• Invaluable teaching and reference tool for students at all levels


What makes race so intractable, so resilient to every known policy, program or provision? More than thirty years after the first legislation designed to reduce the effects of discrimination, we find ample proof of the presence of race in public and private life.

Since the publication of the third edition of this book, four key episodes have reawakened us to the fact that race remains a relentless, enervating issue of our times. There can be few, if any, issues that command so much attention and effort with so little yield. Each time, we relax our concentration, a new disclosure reveals the complexity, virulence and sheer obduracy of what has become arguably the problem of the late twentieth century.

As the trial of O.J.Simpson progressed through 1994–5, research indicated a curious difference in interpretation of the evidence and testimony presented. Only five percent of whites polled believed Simpson was innocent, while twenty percent were convinced he was guilty before the trial had even started. Twenty-eight percent of blacks said they were certain Simpson was innocent of the brutal stabbings which took place on the night of June 12, 1994, on the steps of Nicole Simpson’s Brentwood apartment. (See Causes célèbres for more on the Simpson case.)

Near the conclusion of the trial, a perverse symmetry began to emerge. Sixty four percent of whites interviewed found the evidence against Simpson convincing and would have returned a guilty verdict had they served on the jury; fifty nine percent of African Americans, when presented with the same evidence, opted for an acquittal.

Four years before, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll in 1991 revealed a “chasm in attitudes” between whites and African Americans. Whites saw a country where relations between blacks and themselves had improved over the previous decade; blacks saw exactly the opposite. One of the most emotive issues dividing the two groups was federal government assistance. Many blacks welcomed the government’s efforts, especially affirmative action. But, whites were skeptical of such efforts and encouraged blacks to fend for themselves.

Study after study had depicted the United States as what the writer Andrew Hacker called “two nations,” divided by race. the . . .

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