Winner, A Choice Outstanding Academic Book, 2002
The history of Mexican Americans is a history of the intermingling of races--Indian, White, and Black. This racial history underlies a legacy of racial discrimination against Mexican Americans and their Mexican ancestors that stretches from the Spanish conquest to current battles over ending affirmative action and other assistance programs for ethnic minorities. Asserting the centrality of race in Mexican American history, Martha Menchaca here offers the first interpretive racial history of Mexican Americans, focusing on racial foundations and race relations from prehispanic times to the present.
Menchaca uses the concept of racialization to describe the process through which Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. authorities constructed racial status hierarchies that marginalized Mexicans of color and restricted their rights of land ownership. She traces this process from the Spanish colonial period and the introduction of slavery through racial laws affecting Mexican Americans into the late twentieth-century. This re-viewing of familiar history through the lens of race recovers Blacks as important historical actors, links Indians and the mission system in the Southwest to the Mexican American present, and reveals the legal and illegal means by which Mexican Americans lost their land grants.
Bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz is one of this country's foremost writers on the ever explosive issue of race. In this gripping and ultimately profound book, Kotlowitz takes us to two towns in southern Michigan, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, separated by the St. Joseph River. Geographically close, but worlds apart, they are a living metaphor for America's racial divisions: St. Joseph is a prosperous lakeshore community and ninety-five percent white, while Benton Harbor is impoverished and ninety-two percent black. When the body of a black teenaged boy from Benton Harbor is found in the river, unhealed wounds and suspicions between the two towns' populations surface as well. The investigation into the young man's death becomes, inevitably, a screen on which each town projects their resentments and fears. The Other Side of the River sensitively portrays the lives and hopes of the towns' citizens as they wrestle with this mystery--and reveals the attitudes and misperceptions that undermine race relations throughout America.
Not all racial incidents are racist incidents, Lawrence Blum says. We need a more varied and nuanced moral vocabulary for talking about the arena of race. We should not be faced with a choice of 'racism' or nothing. Use of the word racism is pervasive: An article about the NAACP's criticism of television networks for casting too few minority actors in lead roles asks, Is television a racist institution? A white girl in Virginia says it is racist for her African-American teacher to wear African attire.
Blum argues that a growing tendency to castigate as racism everything that goes wrong in the racial domain reduces the term's power to evoke moral outrage. In I'm Not a Racist, But..., Blum develops a historically grounded account of racism as the deeply morally charged notion it has become. He addresses the question whether people of color can be racist, defines types of racism, and identifies debased and inappropriate usages of the term. Though racial insensitivity, racial anxiety, racial ignorance and racial injustice are, in his view, not racism, they are racial ills that should elicit moral concern.
Blum argues that race itself, even when not serving distinct racial malfeasance, is a morally destructive idea, implying moral distance and unequal worth. History and genetic science reveal both the avoidability and the falsity of the idea of race. Blum argues that we can give up the idea of race, but must recognize that racial groups' historical and social experience has been shaped by having been treated as if they were races.
From Fouad Ajami, an acclaimed author and chronicler of Arab politics, comes a compelling account of how a generation of Arab intellectuals tried to introduce cultural renewals in their homelands through the forces of modernity and secularism. Ultimately, they came to face disappointment, exile, and, on occasion, death. Brilliantly weaving together the strands of a tumultuous century in Arab political thought, history, and poetry, Ajami takes us from the ruins of Beirut's once glittering metropolis to the land of Egypt, where struggle rages between a modernist impulse and an Islamist insurgency, from Nasser's pan-Arab nationalist ambitions to the emergence of an uneasy Pax Americana in Arab lands, from the triumphalism of the Gulf War to the continuing anguished debate over the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.For anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East, here is an insider's unflinching analysis of the collision between intellectual life and political realities in the Arab world today.
This study examines the ways that states have attempted to pigeon-hole the people within their boundaries into racial, ethnic, and language categories. These attempts, whether through American efforts to divide the U.S. population into mutually exclusive racial categories, or through the Soviet system of inscribing nationality categories on internal passports, have important implications not only for people's own identities and life chances, but for national political and social processes as well. The book reviews the history of these categorizing efforts by the state, offers a theoretical context for examining them, and illustrates the case with studies from a range of countries.
In an effort to deny the ongoing effect of colonialism and imperialism on contemporary political life, the death knell for a multicultural society has been sounded from all sides. That's the provocative argument Paul Gilroy makes in this unorthodox defense of the multiculture. Gilroy's searing analyses of race, politics, and culture have always remained attentive to the material conditions of black people and the ways in which blacks have defaced the "clean edifice of white supremacy." In Postcolonial Melancholia, he continues the conversation he began in the landmark study of race and nation 'There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack' by once again departing from conventional wisdom to examine--and defend--multiculturalism within the context of the post-9/11 "politics of security."This book adapts the concept of melancholia from its Freudian origins and applies it not to individual grief but to the social pathology of neoimperialist politics. The melancholic reactions that have obstructed the process of working through the legacy of colonialism are implicated not only in hostility and violence directed at blacks, immigrants, and aliens but in an inability to value the ordinary, unruly multiculture that has evolved organically and unnoticed in urban centers. Drawing on the seminal discussions of race begun by Frantz Fanon, W. E. B. DuBois, and George Orwell, Gilroy crafts a nuanced argument with far-reaching implications. Ultimately, Postcolonial Melancholia goes beyond the idea of mere tolerance to propose that it is possible to celebrate the multiculture and live with otherness without becoming anxious, fearful, or violent.
One of our country's premier cultural and social critics, bell hooks has always maintained that eradicating racism and eradicating sexism must go hand in hand. But whereas many women have been recognized for their writing on gender politics, the female voice has been all but locked out of the public discourse on race.Killing Rage speaks to this imbalance. These twenty-three essays are written from a black and feminist perspective, and they tackle the bitter difficulties of racism by envisioning a world without it. They address a spectrum of topics having to do with race and racism in the United States: psychological trauma among African Americans; friendship between black women and white women; anti-Semitism and racism; and internalized racism in movies and the media. And in the title essay, hooks writes about the killing rage--the fierce anger of black people stung by repeated instances of everyday racism--finding in that rage a healing source of love and strength and a catalyst for positive change. bell hooks is Distinguished Professor of English at City College of New York. She is the author of the memoir Bone Black as well as eleven other books. She lives in New York City.