The economics of book size and the limits of a college semester place constraints on how many different selections and topics we can cover in a collection such as this. In the previous edition, we had a small section on the civil disorders in Los Angeles. It was current and a hot topic: There were many lessons for intergroup relations that could be learned from such large-scale ethnoviolence.
In this edition, we selected three topics for special focus. The first is the social function of the news media. The second deals with the conflict over the control of education, and the third concerns the role of the right wing.
In the first essay, Howard J. Ehrlich details the role of the news media in reporting on issues of conflict and ethnoviolence. Using many case illustrations, he builds a sociological picture of the news media as a central institution in creating and maintaining intergroup tensions.
We continue with Mike Long's essay on "ebonics." In exploring the struggle over language usage, Long places it in the context of discrimination, of assimilation, and of the efforts of the state to control education. "The elites speak the official state language . . . which they made official or standard; the oppressed groups are decreed by the same elites to speak a less acceptable . . . language."
In the final essay, Abby Ferber reviews the right-wing, white supremacist movement in America--in a sense, the logical sociological extreme of prejudice and discrimination. She describes the range and history of this movement, exposes its ideology, and sketches the major hate groups.