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By Abigail M. Thernstrom, Stephan Thernstrom

Twenty-five essays overlaying various parts from faith and immigration to relatives constitution and crime study America's altering racial and ethnic scene. They in actual fact exhibit that previous civil rights concepts won't remedy latest difficulties and supply a daring new civil rights schedule in response to contemporary realities.

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Additional info for Beyond the Color Line: New Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America

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21 And very few of those who reject the white designation identify with any of the other three races; they think of themselves as being of racially mixed origins, rejecting the Census Bureau’s traditional view that everyone belongs in one and only one racial box. ” Federal agencies were required to compile data on Hispanics as well as on the three nonwhite races because “ethnicity” Hoover Press : Thernstrom DP5 HPTHER0100 08-01-01 The Demography of Racial and Ethnic Groups rev1 page 25 25 for Hispanics was presumed to be the functional equivalent of race for blacks, Asians, and American Indians.

Equally dubious was the assumption that the umbrella label “Hispanic” designated a coherent entity with a common historical experience of oppression at the hands of white Americans. What do Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Argentineans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Chileans, and more than a dozen other immigrant nationalities from Central or South America really have in common? Not even some variant of the Spanish language as their mother tongue, because the label has been defined to include people who trace their origins to Portugal or Brazil and are Portuguese-speakers.

Immigrants from Mexico who arrived in the twentieth century encountered prejudice, of course, but whether the hostility was any greater than that met with by Italians, Poles, or Jews is questionable. Certainly they were not subjected to “legal oppression” comparable to what blacks experienced in the Jim Crow South. Because of their strong historical concentration in the Southwest and their traditional employment as farm laborers, Mexican Americans tended to have low incomes and limited opportunities to obtain an education that would facilitate their mobility in the larger society.

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