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

6
Blockages to Racial Transformation

Since America’s racial disparities remain as deep-rooted after Barack Obama’s
election as they were before, it was only a matter of time until the myth of
postracism exploded in our collective national face.
—Peniel Joseph

All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11.
—Sign at protest over constructing a Muslim community center near the
former World Trade Center

Some of my classmates are all hyped because a black man wants to be
president and my teacher says we should be excited because a woman’s
running. I mean it’s cool for them, or whatever, but at the end of the day
what difference does it really make? Don’t neither one of those people care
about what’s going on in my neighborhood and nobody knows the kind of
stuff we deal with. … I just wanna be heard. To feel like I matter and the
people around me matter.
—Lamont, a high school student

IMMIGRATION, MULTIRACIALISM, GENOMICS, AND COHORT CHANGE are separately and cumulatively challenging the racial order of the late twentieth century. But nothing is certain. We have already discussed countervailing evidence, events, and laws that inhibit transformation and ways in which transformation may be successful but unappealing. However, we have not yet considered deeper structural conditions that could halt creation of a new American racial order or distort it almost beyond recognition.

We see four main impediments to the creation of a new order. First, some people will be harmed by or feel great loss as a consequence of change that weakens racial boundaries, even if—or perhaps because— such a change benefits many members of their group. Second, concentrated poverty, unemployment, poor education, and incarceration may prevent residents of some communities, especially Blacks, from benefiting from the changes occurring elsewhere. Third, wealth disparities among groups contribute to the maintenance of traditional relative group positions even though education and income gaps have narrowed over time. Finally, along the horizontal dimension of inclusion-exclusion, the United States may be inventing new pariah groups; unauthorized immigrants,

-139-

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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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