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Table of Contents
Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Race and Ethnicity, 10/e
Table of Contents
Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Race and Ethnicity, 10/e
Issue 1. Do We Need a Common Identity?
YES: Patrick J. Buchanan, from "Nation or Notion? as seen in American Conservative article", State of Emergency (2006)
NO: Michael Walzer, from "What Does It Mean to Be an \"American\"?", Social Research (1990)
Patrick J. Buchanan, a syndicated conservative columnist and author of The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilizations (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002), argues that America needs one common identity. He views attempts to change America’s historic identity as fraudulent. Michael Walzer, professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, makes the pluralist argument that America cannot avoid its multicultural identity. He explores the ways in which citizenship and nationality are compatible with the preservation of one’s ethnic identity, culture, and community.
Issue 2. Are Multiculturalism and Assimilation Inevitable Components of the Emerging American Identity?
YES: Stephen Steinberg, from "chapter 40: The Melting Pot and the Color Line", Reinventing the Melting Pot (2004)
NO: Lawrence Auster, from "How the Multicultural Ideology Captured America", The Social Contract (2004)
Stephen Steinberg is a Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He extends and expands the idea of assimilation emerging from the Chicago sociologist Robert Park and argues that inevitable, sometime in the future, assimilation will occur in American society. Lawrence Auster is a conservative writer and blogger. He has written extensively on issues pertaining to national identity and ethnic diversity, including The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism (American Immigration Control Foundation, 1990). He sees that multiculturalism and diversity have gained popularity as an ideology based on a set of false propositions. For Auster, diversity and multiculturalism are real attacks on European culture.
Issue 3. Can the Tendency of Media to Employ Stereotypes Be Reduced?
YES: Weston Kosova, from "The Power That Was", Newsweek (2007)
NO: Alexander Cockburn, from "The Ho Industry", The Nation (2007)
Weston Kosova, former writer for Newsweek, recently joined The Washington Post as national politics editor. He asserts that the powerful media industry reached its limit of tolerance when a popular radio host used a racial and gender slur to identify a group of black female basketball players. Kosova is concerned that the overt and subtle employment of racial and ethnic stereotypes has been, more or less, a constant in the media. Alexander Cockburn is a critic, author and editor of many books. He writes the regular “Beat the Devil” column in The Nation and is co-editor of the political newsletter, CounterPunch. Cockburn argues that the music industry benefits from controversial radio hosts who occasionally use racial and ethnic stereotypes. He asserts that “we live in a racist, profit-driven culture that is getting more degraded by the hour.”
Issue 4. Is the Obama Presidency Moving America Towards a Post-Racial Society?
YES: Alvin Poussaint, from "Obama, Cosby, King, and the Mountaintop", CNN.com (2008)
NO: Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell, from "Black by Choice", The Nation (2010)
Alvin Poussaint is a professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School with a focus on child psychiatry. He argues that the election of Barack Obama may indicate that America is approaching the mountaintop that King preached about. Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell is a professor of politics at Tulane University. She is the author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2004). Harris-Lacewell uses President Barack Obama’s selection of black as his race in filling out the census to argue that we are not ready for a post-racial society.
Issue 5. Is Racism a Permanent Feature of American Society?
YES: Derrick Bell, from "Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Performance of Racism", Perseus Books Group, LLC (1993)
NO: Russell Niele, from "'Postracialism': Do We Want It", Princeton Alumni Weekly (2010)
Derrick Bell, a prominent African American scholar and authority on civil rights and constitutional law, argues that the prospects for achieving racial equality in the United States are “illusory” for blacks. Russell Niele, a lecturer in politics at Princeton, works for the Executive Precept Program sponsored by Princeton’s James Madison Program. He has written on affirmative action and the origins of an urban black underclass. Niele argues that American society is moving toward a meritocracy, which is post-racist (not post-racial). For him, race, ethnicity, and religious identity are less determinant than they were in earlier American history.
Issue 6. Is the Emphasis on a Color-Blind Society an Answer to Racism?
YES: Ward Connerly, from "Don't Box Me In", National Review (2001)
NO: Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, from "Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States", (2003)
Ward Connerly is a strong critic of all attempts at racial classification and believes that in order to achieve a racially egalitarian, unified American society, the government and private citizens must stop assigning people to categories delineated by race. To achieve this goal, Mr. Connerly is supporting the enactment of a “Racial Privacy Initiative.” Eduardo Bonilla-Silva argues that “regardless of whites’ sincere fictions, racial considerations shade almost everything in America” and, therefore, color-blind ideology is a cover for the racism and inequality that persist within contemporary American society.
Issue 7. Is the Claim of White Skin Privilege a Myth?
YES: Paul Kivel, from "White Benefits, Middle Class Privilege", Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice (1995)
NO: Tim Wise, from "The Absurdity (and Consistency) of White Denial: What Kind of Card is Race?", CounterPunch (2006)
Paul Kivel, a teacher, writer, and antiviolence/antiracist activist, asserts that many benefits accrue to whites solely on the basis of skin color. These benefits range from economic to political advantages and so often include better residential choice, police protection, and education opportunities. Tim Wise, an author of two books on race, argues that whites do not acknowledge privilege. Instead, whites are often convinced that the race card is “played” by blacks to gain their own privilege, something that whites cannot do. Hence, whites simply do not see discrimination and do not attach privilege to their skin color.
Issue 8. Are Native American Mascots Racist Symbols?
YES: Sonia K. Katyal, from "The Fight over the Redskins Trademark and Other Racialized Symbols", Findlaw.com (2009)
NO: Arthur J. Remillard, from "Chapter 8: Holy War on the Football Field: Religion and the Florida State University Indian Mascot Controversy ", Horsehide,Pigskin, Oval Tracks And Apple Pie: Essays on Sport And American Culture (2005)
Sonia K. Katyal, professor of law and author of Property Outlaws, discusses the use of Native American mascots in professional sports, with an emphasis on the Washington Redskins and the negative impact of the use of such symbols on Native American peoples and culture. Arthur Remillard, professor of religious studies, recognizes the concern that the use of Native American mascots within non-Native institutions generates. However, he argues that the use of such symbols can be viewed as contributing to respect for Native American culture and its inherent strengths among the American population.
Issue 9. Is Race Prejudice a Product of Group Position?
YES: Herbert Blumer, from "Race Prejudice As A Sense Of Group Position", Pacific Sociological Review (1958)
NO: Gordon W. Allport, from "The Young Child", The Nature of Prejudice (1979)
Herbert Blumer, a sociologist, asserts that prejudice exists in a sense of group position rather than as an attitude based on individual feelings. The collective process by which a group comes to define other racial groups is the focus of Blumer’s position. Gordon W. Allport, a psychologist, makes the case that prejudice is the result of a three-stage learning process.
Issue 10. Does the Digital Divide Reflect American Racism?
YES: Susan P. Crawford, from "The New Digital Divide", The New York Times (2011)
NO: Larry Schweikart, from "Race, Culture, and the Digital Divide", The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty (2002)
Susan P. Crawford, professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cordozo School of Law and former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology, and innovation policy, argues that there is a new digital divide that places African Americans and Latinos at the risk of being left behind the Internet revolution. Larry Schweikart, professor of history at the University of Dayton and conservative writer, asserts that “the racial digital divide is largely a myth.” He points out that African Americans, when including the workplace, have as equal access as whites to computers. However, where a divide occurs is in home computer ownership.
Issue 11. Is Stand Your Ground Legislation Race Neutral?
YES: Patrik Jonsson, from "Racial Bias and 'Stand Your Ground' Laws: What the Data Show", The Christian Science Monitor (2013)
NO: Sabrina Strings, from "Protecting What's White: A New Look at Stand Your Ground Laws", The Feminist Wire (2014)
Patrik Jonsson, a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor who writes about race and gun rights, argues that ‘stand your ground’ laws are not racially biased. He believes that such legislation is a response to the increasing concern with self-defense that has been generated by events such as 9/11 and the high rate of crime. Sabrina Strings, a sociologist at the University of California who teaches in the School of Public Health and Sociology, believes that ‘stand your ground’ laws are not racially neutral and are primarily directed at African Americans. To Strings, ‘stand your ground’ laws are reflective of an historical tendency to protect whites and their property from a perceived threat from African Americans, especially black males.
Issue 12. Does Immigration Contribute to a Better America?
YES: Philippe Legrain, from "The Case for Immigration: The Secret to Economic Vibrancy", The International Economy (2007)
NO: Peter Brimelow, from "Immigration: Dissolving the People", Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster (1995)
Philippe Legrain is a journalist, economist, and author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them and Open World: The Truth about Globalisation. He makes the case that immigration contributes to a better America as well as a better world. His economic argument primarily emphasizes that the flow of immigrants within the global system brings both talent and labor to areas of need. Peter Brimelow, senior editor at Forbes and National Review magazines, argues that the United States is being overrun by a growing tide of aliens who are changing the character and composition of the nation in manners that are threatening and destructive to its well-being and prospects for future advancement.
Issue 13. Do Recent Immigration Trends Challenge Existing Ideas of America’s White Identity?
YES: Charles A. Gallagher, from "Racial Redistricting: Expanding the Boundaries of Whiteness", The Politics of Multiracialism: Challenging Racial ThinkingState University of New York Press (2004)
NO: Ellis Cose, from "What's White, Anyway?", Newsweek (2000)
Charles A. Gallagher, author and sociology professor at Georgia State University, argues that America is currently undergoing a “racial redistricting” in which the boundaries of whiteness are expanding to include lighter-skinned people of color (i.e., Asians and some Latinos). Ellis Cose, an African American journalist, argues that the traditional boundaries that determine race and skin color are not what they once were. Although he does not specifically cite ethnicity, Cose furthers the claim that American identity today is an expanding category. The boundaries of whiteness have expanded and are no longer hard and fast.
Issue 14. Does Bilingual Education Contribute to the Educational and Social Advancement of Latinos?
YES: Kendra Hamilton, from "Bilingual or Immersion? A New Group of Studies is Providing Fresh Evidence That It's Not the Language That Counts, but the Quality of Education", Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (2006)
NO: Rosalie Pedalino Porter, from "The Case Against Bilingual Education", The Atlantic (1998)
Kendra Hamilton, editor of Black Issues in Higher Education, argues that the studies available for assessing the quality of such programs are inconclusive. She makes the argument that the outcomes of bilingual education programs are often jeopardized by the quality of the instruction provided. Thus, the significant question of the quality of the programs is being ignored. Rosalie Pedalino Porter, author of Forked Tongue: The Politics of Bilingual Education and affiliate of The Institute for Research in English Acquisition and Development (READ), makes the case against bilingual education. She presents a negative view of the contributions of such programs to the academic achievement of non–English speaking students. Also, she is greatly concerned that such programs retard the integration of such students within the larger, English-speaking society
Issue 15. Should Children of Undocumented Immigrants Have a Birthright to U.S. Citizenship?
YES: Eric Foner, from "Birthright Citizenship Sets America Apart", The Cap Times (2010)
NO: George F. Will, from "An Argument to be Made about Immigrant Babies and Citizenship", The Washington Post (2010)
Distinguished professor of history at Columbia University, Eric Foner examines the legal and constitutional basis for granting birthright citizenship and argues that this right illuminates the strength of American society. Conservative newspaper columnist and commentator, George F. Will is troubled by the facile tendency to grant birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants. He views this practice as reflecting a misinterpretation of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. He vigorously opposes this policy.
Issue 16. Is There a Need for a Permanent Voting Rights Act?
YES: Richard M. Valelly, from "Ballots in the Balance: Does the 1965 Voting Rights Act Still Matter?", The Two Reconsturctions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (2004)
NO: Abigail Thernstrom, from "Redistricting, Race, and the Voting Rights Act", National Affairs (2010)
Richard M. Valelly, the author of The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (University of Chicago Press, 2004), is a professor of political science at Swarthmore College. Pointing to U.S. history, he fears that without key sections, especially Section 5, of the Voting Rights Act, the black vote will be suppressed. What happened in the 1890s to black disfranchisement can happen again. Abigail Thernstrom, a political scientist, is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York. She has written extensively on race and voting rights. She argues that it is time to end race-driven districting and that certain sections, especially Section 5, of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are no longer needed.
Issue 17. Is Environmental Racism a Reality?
YES: Robert Bullard, from "Environmental Racism Revisited", Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality (2000)
NO: David Friedman, from "The 'Environmental Racism' Hoax", The American Enterprise (1998)
Robert Bullard is dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University. Bullard is known as the father of environmental justice and is a pioneer in the study of environment racism. He strongly supports the claim that environmental racism is an American reality. Within his research on the subject, Bullard presents a number of case studies which demonstrate that this phenomenon is a challenging issue in America today. David Friedman, a writer and an MIT Japan fellow, rejects any claim that environmental racism exists in the nation. He asserts that the research utilized to support the existence of environmental racism is flawed and that the data have not been properly analyzed.
Issue 18. Is the Mass Incarceration of Blacks and Latinos the New Jim Crow?
YES: Michelle Alexander, from "The New Jim Crow", The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2011)
NO: James Forman, Jr., from "Racial Critiques of Mass Incarceration: Beyond the New Jim Crow", Racial Critiques (2012)
Michelle Alexander is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University with a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. She draws attention to the racial imbalance in America’s prison population and presents a compelling analysis of the wide-ranging social costs and divisive racial impact of mass incarceration. James Forman, Jr., a clinical professor of law at Yale Law School and a noted constitutional law scholar, affirms the utility of the new Jim Crow paradigm but argues that it has significant limitations. It obscures significant facts regarding the history of mass incarceration as well as black support for punitive criminal justice policy among other deficiencies.
Issue 19. Is Gentrification Another Form of Segregation?
YES: Jeremiah Moss, from "On Spike Lee and Hyper-Gentrification", Vanishing New York (2014)
NO: Justin Davidson, from "Is Gentrification All Bad?", New York Magazine (2014)
Jeremiah Moss, an urban based writer, views gentrification as a destructive process through which African Americans and others are displaced by affluent whites. He is concerned that communities with a rich culture and stability are experiencing a significant uprooting of their homes and communities due to gentrification. Justin Davidson, a writer for New York Magazine, sees many positive outcomes that result from gentrification. Among these are economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and improvements in standards of living.