Race statistics: how to get from where we are to where we should be: a rejoinder

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-28 00:59Z by Steven

Race statistics: how to get from where we are to where we should be: a rejoinder

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1852-1856
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932413

Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs
Columbia University

America’s race statistics are inadequate to the policy challenges of the twenty-first century, especially for social justice and immigrant incorporation policy. But inertial forces – technical and political – complicate change. Overcome technical barriers by taking advantage of an experiment fielded in 2010. To miss that opportunity would be a huge failure. Political barriers are more difficult. Start with what is familiar – more emphasis on national origin – and add flexibility and granularity, both are politically desirable. Introduce change without disrupting the existing policy practices. Phase in improvements gradually, taking advantage of generational turnover. One generation changes the statistical basis for policy. The next generation, which has grown up with the new statistics, implements the policy changes. An example of how this works is found in the multiple-race option introduced in the 2000 census but probably not put to policy use until after the 2030 census.

Read the entire rejoinder here.

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The United States of the United Races: a rejoinder

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-27 23:09Z by Steven

The United States of the United Races: a rejoinder

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1857-1861
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932414

Greg Carter, Associate Professor of History
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

I respond to a review by C. Matthew Snipp, revisiting how my book connects abolitionist leanings to acceptance of racial mixing in the Early Republic. I reiterate that, contrary to the reviewer’s claims, the book does not suggest that the defence of interracial marriage has been a thriving social movement. I correct his reading of my chapter on the Civil War era, referring to both the variety of voices present, and the claims of reformers’ opponents, who were the only ones who claimed racial mixing was an aim of the abolitionist movement. Lastly, I defend The United States of the United Races against Professor Snipp’s characterization of it as a work anticipating a ‘post-racial’ ideal, embodied by racially mixed people, who would be the end point of the obsolescence of race as a relevant analytic tool.

Read the entire rejoinder here.

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Utopian visions of racial admixture

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-27 21:19Z by Steven

Utopian visions of racial admixture

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1847-1851
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932409

C. Matthew Snipp, Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Sociology
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

In a world unbounded by racial divisions, the choice of a lover, a spouse and the children that come from that union should transcend the schemes devised by others to oppress and exploit. Racial admixtures, to the extent that they blur and obscure entrenched ideas from the past, are things to be celebrated and embraced. Both of these books, as different as they are, embrace the essential value of racial admixture but from very different perspectives, for very different reasons, and with very different emphases.

The United States of the United Races traces the history of interracial relationships in this country. Carter begins his narrative with a close reading of the French author Hector St John de Crèvecoeur. Crèvecoeur penned a very popular work titled Letters from an American Farmer that was intended to describe everyday life in the new nation. Carter’s discussion makes it clear that Crèvecoeur was an opponent of slavery and portrayed it in the vilest possible terms. However, Carter takes Crèvecoeur’s opposition to slavery and tries to make something more of it. Carter writes:

Crèvecoeur’s most important legacy… suggested that true Americans cast off the old ways of their ancestors and consented to a new way of life based on equality. In this, mixture was a positive. The American was new and mixed, just as the society was new and mixed and the way of life was new and mixed. (26, emphasis added)

Carter’s insistence that Crèvecoeur’s abolitionist leanings represent an early endorsement of racial amalgamation is a logical leap for which he provides no justification.

Taking a benign view of this logical lapse, a reader could conjecture that important links in this argument fell victim to an editor’s delete key. However, I dwell on this point because it is the first instance of something that happens in other parts of the book. That is, Carter wishes to convince us that the proponents of racial amalgamation, the formation of intimate personal relationships across racial lines have been a thriving social movement throughout the nation’s history. In places, Carter’s ebullient embrace of this theme causes him to stretch a point that sorely tests a reader’s credulity.

In a similar though subtler fashion, Carter situates the movement for racial amalgamation within the larger movement to abolish slavery. Chapter 2 is titled ‘Wendell Phillips, Unapologetic Abolitionist, Unreformed Amalgamationist’ and focuses on the life of a single abolitionist to assert the centrality of interracial marriage within the movement, invoking the affairs of Frederick Douglass with white women as additional evidence. Carter is careful to point out that ‘racial amalgamation’ was a controversial position and one that could incite violence. This chapter vacillates between making interracial marriage a focal point of the movement to abolish slavery and acknowledging that this was an extremely unpopular position. Nonetheless, the narrative of this chapter too often seeks to make us believe that the freedom to form interracial intimate relationships was one of the core objectives of the abolitionist movement. To be sure, there were abolitionists who subscribed to this view. Carter delivers evidence that at least one existed, but the argument in chapter 2 does little to dispel the view that this was little more than the lunatic fringe of the abolition movement…

What is Your Race? takes on a problem in US public policy that seems poised to only grow more serious over time. Namely, the USA has a set of public policies anchored to a racial classification system with categories that are increasingly out of step with a twenty-first-century experience and understanding of the American racial order. Prewitt has written a policy brief that consists of three parts: (1) it begins by laying out the origins of the existing system; (2) it then turns to the growing problems connected with the status quo; and (3) it concludes with recommendations for modifying the existing system along with a strategy for deploying these recommendations. The book contains eleven chapters and it would not be unfair to say that the first nine chapters are a prologue and justification for chapters 10 and 11. However, before turning to the final and most important chapters of this book, the first nine chapters deserve notice.

The official racial classification used by the federal government does not emanate from the Census Bureau. It is instead, a product of the Office of Management and Budget and articulated in a document known as Directive No. 15 (revised October 1997). Prewitt is well aware of this fact and, indeed, discusses this document at length. However, the focus of this book is on the way that the US Census Bureau collects information about race, and the recommendations that he makes are most applicable to the Census Bureau. This is not surprising partly because Prewitt is a former Census Bureau director. He writes with an insider’s deep knowledge about the workings of this complex organization. More significantly, the Census Bureau is arguably the single largest producer of data about race in the nation. Much if not most of what Americans know about race in their nation originates at the Census Bureau.

Prewitt begins by presenting a concept that he calls ‘statistical races’. Statistical races were first created by the Constitutional mandate that a census be taken every ten years. Constitutional language embedded whites and African American slaves, and excluded American Indians in the first census taken in 1790. In every census since, race has been a prominent feature. Prewitt acknowledges that racism and prejudice are indeed social realities that frame the everyday lives of Americans. However, statistical races, he argues, are classificatory artifacts manipulated to serve public policy interests…

Read the review of both books here.

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The collection of race-based data in the USA: a call for radical change

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-27 20:27Z by Steven

The collection of race-based data in the USA: a call for radical change

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1839-1846
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932407

Peter Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, United Kingdom

Two important new books by Greg Carter and Kenneth Prewitt provide detailed historical perspectives on how understandings of race and race categories have evolved since the founding of the republic. Prewitt focuses on an analysis of racial classification in the US census – the so-called ‘statistical races’ –and its changing role in US policy, culminating in recommendations for radical change. Carter takes as his theme population mixing across the races, offering a positive, even celebratory, but little known account of the moments and movements that have praised mixing. As pressures mount on the ‘statistical races’ in the late twentieth century, Prewitt uses the political space opened up by these debates to offer fundamental changes to US methods of ethno-racial data collection, including the removal of these questions from the census. The jury is in recess for further deliberations.

Read the review of both books here.

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“What Are You?”: Racial Ambiguity, Stigma, and the Racial Formation Project

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-27 16:09Z by Steven

“What Are You?”: Racial Ambiguity, Stigma, and the Racial Formation Project

Deviant Behavior
Volume 35, Issue 12, 2014
pages 1006-1022
DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2014.901081

Tiffanie Grier, Career Placement Director & Garden to Groceries Project Director
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, Memphis Tennessee

Carol Rambo, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Memphis, Memphis Tennessee

Marshall A. Taylor
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

Using interview data from individuals who were frequently asked some version of the question “What are you?” in regards to their race, we apply a deviance perspective to frame these encounters as micro level racial formation projects. Racial formation projects are problematized when one’s race is not readily classifiable. These data suggest that when race is perceptibly ambiguous, stigma is assigned and normativity is enforced through discursive constraint and other means. Racially ambiguous individuals use many forms of resistance to navigate these encounters and make identity claims that either affirm or endanger the normative racial formation order.

Read or purchase the article here.

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And you thought we had moved beyond all that: biological race returns to the social sciences

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-08-27 15:45Z by Steven

And you thought we had moved beyond all that: biological race returns to the social sciences

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1676-1685
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.931992

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

Recently, sociologists have argued in high-profile journals that racial categories are linked to genetically distinct clusters within the human population. They propose theorizing race as a socially constructed categorization system that is related to biological groupings within our species. This work overlooks, however, the extent to which statistically inferred genetic clusters are themselves socially constructed, making it impossible to juxtapose ‘subjective’ social categories with ‘objective’ biological ones. This editorial urges social scientists to take a critical look at claims about the genetic underpinnings of race, and to contribute their insights to ongoing debates about the nature of race.

Read the entire article here.

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“Everyone Knows It’s a Social Construct”: Contemporary Science and the Nature of Race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-08-27 15:32Z by Steven

“Everyone Knows It’s a Social Construct”: Contemporary Science and the Nature of Race

Sociological Focus
Volume 40, Issue 4, 2007
pages 436-454
DOI: 10.1080/00380237.2007.10571319

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

Sociological literature frequently claims that scientists across the disciplinary spectrum have arrived at the common conclusion that race is socially constructed, not biologically anchored. I investigate contemporary scientific thinking about race by interviewing more than 40 biologists and anthropologists at four northeastern universities. Contrary to sociologists’ expectations, racial constructionism is revealed to be a minority viewpoint. Moreover, this research shows that the usual “constructionist” versus “essentialist” dichotomy a blunt tool for characterizing the debate about race; a third platform—“antiessentialism”—must be taken into account. Recognizing antiessentialist discourse calls for a reevaluation of prior research that emphasizes socioeconomic status and professional affiliation as influences on interviewees’ concepts of race; this project demonstrates that such tectors do little to distinguish essentialist from antiessentialist veiwpoints.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling: The Fifth Minority

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2014-08-27 14:27Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling: The Fifth Minority

Routledge
2015-07-31
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-13-802191-4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-13-802193-8

Sandra Winn Tutwiler, Professor of Education
Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas

This timely, in-depth examination of the educational experiences and needs of mixed-race children (“the fifth minority”) focuses on the four contexts that primarily influence learning and development: the family, school, community, and society-at-large.

The book provides foundational historical, social, political, and psychological information about mixed-race children and looks closely at their experiences in schools, their identity formation, and how schools can be made more supportive of their development and learning needs. Moving away from an essentialist discussion of mixed-race children, a wide variety of research is included. Life and schooling experiences of mixed-raced individuals are profiled throughout the text. Rather than pigeonholing children into a neat box of descriptions or providing ready made prescriptions for educators, Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling offers information and encourages teachers to critically reflect on how it is relevant to and helpful in their teaching/learning contexts.

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Hapa-palooza 2014 is coming: Mark Your Calendars!

Posted in Canada, Forthcoming Media, Live Events on 2014-08-26 19:45Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza 2014 is coming: Mark Your Calendars!

Vancouver, Canada
2014-09-24 through 2014-09-28

Hapa-palooza is Canada’s biggest festival celebrating mixed-roots identity, scheduled for every September in Vancouver, Canada.

This year, Hapa-palooza takes place September 24-28, 2014, marking our four year anniversary.

Hapa-palooza Festival is organized by the Hybrid Ancestry Public Arts Society, a non-profit society dedicated to bringing public programming that explores and celebrates mixed ancestry.

For details on 2014 programming, click here!

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White Papers

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Passing, Poetry, United States on 2014-08-26 19:16Z by Steven

White Papers

University of Pittsburgh Press
January 2012
80 pages
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 9780822961840

Martha Collins

Winner of the 2013 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry

White Papers is a series of untitled poems that explore race from a variety of personal, historical, and cultural perspectives, questioning what it means to be “white” in a multi-racial society.

White Papers is a series of untitled poems that deal with issues of race from a number of personal, historical, and cultural perspectives. Expanding the territory of her 2006 book Blue Front, which focused on a lynching her father witnessed as a child, this book turns, among other things, to Martha Collins’ childhood. Throughout, it explores questions about what it means to be white, not only in the poet’s life, but also in our culture and history, even our pre-history. The styles and forms are varied, as are the approaches; some of the poems address race only implicitly, and the book, like Blue Front, includes some documentary and “found” material. But the focus is always on getting at what it has meant and what it means to be white—to have a race and racial history, much of which one would prefer to forget, if one is white, but all of which is essential to remember and to acknowledge in a multi-racial society that continues to live under the influence of its deeply racist past.

Read a section from the book here.

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