Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

By Jennifer Hochschild; Vesla Weaver et al. | Go to book overview

5
Cohort Change

I don’t want to say it’s in the cultural DNA, but a lot of us who are older
than 30 have some memory of disappointment or humiliation related to
banks. The white guy in the suit with the same income gets a loan and you
don’t. So you turn to local brokers, even if they don’t offer the best rates.
—Colvin Grannum, explaining why middle-class Blacks frequently
obtain subprime mortgages

[Ayanna] Pressley, [candidate for Boston City Council], sees her generation as
“coalition builders” able to “talk to and relate to other people” from different
backgrounds. … “I think the successes of our parents’ generation have better
positioned us—by being exposed to different opportunities, you’re exposed to
different people, different cultures, different perspectives.”
—a journalist

Even if a few conventions are accepted by one generation, it does not follow
that the next will observe them too, for in a democracy each generation is a
new people.
—Alexis de Tocqueville

Black America, as we knew it, is history.
—Eugene Robinson

DURING A HISTORICAL era with a stable racial order, participants share a few key collective memories that help explain its origins and lineaments. Opinions about these events and the racial order itself will differ, but many people will note the same moments—in the current racial order, the Selma march, Watts riot, grape boycott, fall of Saigon—as meaningful markers of their political period.1 When a collective memory fades or fragments, the moral force of the associated racial order is weakened, although behaviors may not change until something impels them into a new channel. Thus a collective racial memory—distinct from but linked to the passage of time and the process of aging—is central to a society’s racial structure.2

Starting at least with de Tocqueville, thinkers have linked the idea of collective memory to generational transitions. Adolescence and young adulthood “are constitutive of world views and political perspectives that, though not inflexible, tend to be carried forward as individuals age.… One’s sense of self is … stamped by the historically significant

-113-

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Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures and Tables xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I - The Argument 1
  • 1 - Destabilizing the American Racial Order 3
  • Part II - Creating a New Order 19
  • 2 - Immigration 21
  • 3 - Multiracialism 56
  • 4 - Genomics 83
  • 5 - Cohort Change 113
  • 6 - Blockages to Racial Transformation 139
  • Part III - Possibilities 165
  • 7 - The Future of the American Racial Order 167
  • Notes 183
  • References 213
  • Index 255
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