Red, Brown, and Blue

By Cose, Ellis | Newsweek, January 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

Red, Brown, and Blue


Cose, Ellis, Newsweek


Byline: Ellis Cose

America's color lines are shifting.

Would America be so different if blacks, Latinos, and people of Asian descent collectively became the new majority? It's not an idle question. According to the most recent U.S. Census projections, that's precisely where the United States is likely headed--by 2050 or thereabouts. It's important to distinguish this from concerns around the decennial Census scheduled for this year. Communities of color have a history of being undercounted, so advocates are mobilizing to make sure the new count is as accurate as possible. Those numbers, after all, confer power--via allocation of federal dollars and reapportionment of political representation. The Census projections have no power at all. And, truth be told, the future they imagine is unlikely to ever come to pass. For while the projections say much about our current racial assumptions, they are a poor measure for what lies ahead.

In America's early days, it was virtually impossible to conceive of a citizen as being other than white. The first U.S. naturalization act made whiteness a condition of gaining citizenship. So courts heard case after case from would-be white people who appeared to be something else. In 1922, a Japanese national who had lived in the United States for 20 years told the Supreme Court that most Japanese hailed from Caucasian "root stocks." The high court disagreed. Next year, a high-caste Hindu claimed he too was white. The justices found him no more persuasive.

This was during a time when even Europeans were divided into lesser and better grades of white. Italians, Eastern Europeans, and Jews were, in many quarters, deemed to be of altogether different (and inferior) stock. Such ideas, though preposterous, defined debate and shaped immigration laws.

In an essay titled "How Did Jews Become White Folks?" anthropologist Karen Brodkin Sacks asks: "Did Jews and other Euroethnics become white because they became middle class? E Or did being incorporated in an expanded version of whiteness open up the economic doors to middle-class status?" Both tendencies, she concluded, were at work. But her larger point is that nothing about race is static.

That's even more obvious today. A few generations back, racially mixed couples were an anomaly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Red, Brown, and Blue
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.