analysis & history

Affirmative Action (Positions: Education, Politics and Culture)
Tim J Wise, RoutledgeFalmer, 2005
ISBN: 041595049X
Wise’s insightful defense of affirmative action flips the script on the so-called ‘racial preference’ debate. Not only does he respond effectively to the deceptive arguments of the right, but he also proves beyond question that every day is affirmative action day for the dominant group in America. Until that reality is altered, we must fight the ongoing assault on civil rights and equity measures.

A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America
Aristide R Zolberg, Harvard University Press, 2006
ISBN: 0674022181
A Nation by Design explores American immigration policy from the colonial period to the present, discussing how it has been used as a tool of nation building. This is a thorough, authoritative account of American immigration history and the political and social factors that brought it about. With rich detail and impeccable scholarship, it shows how America has struggled to shape the immigration process to construct the kind of population it desires. 

The Arrogance of Race
George M Fredrickson, Wesleyan University Press, 1988
ISBN: 0819562173
This book collects 17 essays written over the past 20 years by a veteran scholar of U.S. race relations. Although respectful of the “class” interpretation of black-white relations, Fredrickson argues that it should not obscure the “cultural and psychological dimensions.” The essays are grouped into three sections: the intellectual history of the race question through Reconstruction; the historiography of slavery; and an examination of the question from a “cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective.” Informative introductory essays to each section help weave the pieces together.

Enter the River: Healing Steps from White Privilege Toward Racial Reconciliation
Tobin Miller Shearer, Herald Press, 1994
ISBN: 0836136608
The Bible tells of Naaman the Syrian, who entered the Jordan River to be cleansed. Comparing the affliction of racism to Naaman’s illness, Enter the River invites readers into their own healing. After asking, “Why be concerned about racism?” Shearer explores definitions of prejudice and racism, the different effects of racism on white persons and people of color, affirmative action, and many other issues. The accessible presentation provides a strong foundation for study and action.

Privilege, Power and Difference
Allan G Johnson, McGraw-Hill, 2001
ISBN: 0767422546
This brief supplemental book provides students with an easily applied theoretical model for thinking about systems of privilege and difference. Writing in accessible, conversational prose, Johnson joins theory with engaging examples in ways that enable students to see the nature and consequences of privilege and their connection to it.

Race Matters
Cornel West, Vintage, 1994
ISBN: 0679749861
Cornel West is at the forefront of thinking about race. In Race Matters he addresses a range of issues, from the crisis in black leadership and the myths surrounding black sexuality to affirmative action, the new black conservatism, and the strained relations between Jews and African Americans. He never hesitates to confront the prejudices of all his readers or wavers in his insistence that they share a common destiny. Bold in its thought and written with a redemptive passion grounded in the tradition of the African-American church, Race Matters is a book that is at once challenging and deeply healing.

Race, Racism, and American Law
Derrick A Bell, Aspen Publishers, 2000
ISBN: 0735512027
Bell, in the newest edition of his work, continues his project of explaining “the law’s role in concretizing racial difference, maintaining racial inequality, and reifying the status quo.” He has updated a significant portion of the material, including the first chapter, introduced in the last edition, on the “nomenclature of race,” which discusses the theoretical underpinnings of the emergence of race and racial meaning in the United States. Among the topics discussed in his treatment of race and American law are the use of “color-blind constitutionalism” to attack affirmative action; the use of history to legitimate American racial legal policy; developments in the areas of public accommodations, housing, and employment; discrimination in the administration of justice (including the death penalty); the state of the right to vote; and the impact of anti-racist and pro-racist protest on the law.

Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s
Michael Omi, Routledge, 1994
ISBN: 0415908647
This book provides a detailed account of the theory of racial formation processes. It includes material on the historical development of race, the question of racism, race-class-gender interrelationships, and everyday life. 

Racism: A Short History
George M. Fredrickson, Princeton University Press, 2003
ISBN: 0691116520
An erudite comparison of racism and anti-Semitism throughout Western history, George M. Fredrickson’s amazingly concise Racism: A Short History explains how medieval anti-Semitism influenced the racist rationalization of the African slave trade; shows how the Enlightenment and Romanticism opened up new avenues for thinking about Jews and slaves; and contrasts American Jim Crow laws, Nazi Germany’s Aryan nation and South African apartheid.

Racism and Cultural Studies: Critiques of Multiculturalist Ideology and the Politics of Difference
E. San Juan Jr., Duke University Press, 2002
ISBN 0-8223-2866-6
In Racism and Cultural Studies E. San Juan Jr. offers a historical-materialist critique of practices in multiculturalism and cultural studies. Rejecting contemporary theories of inclusion as affirmations of the capitalist status quo, San Juan envisions a future of politically equal and economically empowered citizens through the democratization of power and the socialization of property. Calling U.S. nationalism the new “opium of the masses,” he argues that U.S. nationalism is where racist ideas and practices are formed, refined, and reproduced as common sense and consensus.

Racist America: Roots, Current Realities and Future Reparations
Joe R Feagin, Routledge, 2001
ISBN: 0415925320
Provocative and authoritative, Racist America challenges our complacency about current race relations. Based on hundreds of interviews, Feagin dissects the economic, ideological and political structure of contemporary racism. This comprehensive work traces the subtle discriminatory practices of ordinary people, the role of the media in propagating racist images, and the surprising number of mainstream institutions that allow and/or encourage racism.

They Take Our Jobs! and 20 Other Myths about Immigration
Aviva Chomsky, Beacon Press, 2007
ISBN: 0807041564
In exposing the myths that underlie today’s debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think-and have been thinking-about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that non-citizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history. 

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
Cherrie Moraga, Gloria Anzaldua, 3rd Woman Press, 2002
ISBN: 0943219221
This Bridge Called My Back has served as a rallying call for women of color for a generation, and this new edition keeps that call alive at a time when divisions prove even more stubborn and dangerous. The new edition is further brought to life with the incorporation of visual art by seventeen noted women of color artists.

Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal
Andrew Hacker, Scribner, 1992
ISBN: 0684191482
Why, despite continued efforts to increase understanding and expand opportunities, do black and white Americans still lead separate lives, continually marked by tension and hostility? In his much-lauded classic, newly updated to reflect the changing realities of race in our nation, Andrew Hacker explains the origins and meaning of racism and clarifies the conflicting theories of equality and inferiority. He paints a stark picture of racial inequality in America — focusing on family life, education, income, and employment — and explores the current controversies over politics, crime, and the causes of the gap between the races. Illuminating and oftentimes startling, Two Nations demonstrates how race has defined America’s history and will continue to shape its future.

Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America
Jim Carnes, Harry A. Blackmun, Oxford University Press, 1999
ISBN: 0195131258
Us and Them illuminates the dark corners of our nation’s past and traces our ongoing efforts to live up to the American ideals of equality and justice. Fourteen case studies — enhanced through the use of original documents, historical photos, newly commissioned paintings, and dramatic narrative — bring readers a first-hand account of the history and psychology of intolerance. We read about Mary Dyer, executed for her Quaker faith in Boston in 1660. We learn how the Mormons were expelled from Missouri in 1838. The attack on Chinese miners in Wyoming in 1885, the battle of Wounded Knee in 1890, the Ku Klux Klan activities in Mobile, Alabama in 1981, and the Crown Heights riot in 1991 are among the memorable episodes presented in clear, evocative language that brings to life history that is often forgotten or slighted.

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America
Ira Katznelson, W. W. Norton, 2006
ISBN: 0393328511
Katznelson places into contemporary context the cause of racial inequity that is directly related to government policies, which are widely believed to benefit blacks but which have actually benefited whites. He eschews the more generalist focus on slavery and white supremacy as the causes of racial inequality and focuses on government policies of the New Deal and post-World War II distribution of veteran benefits. He identifies in a practical sense government policies, most of which appear neutral on their face, that were designed to restrict blacks and, in fact, impeded them from progressing commensurate with white America. The war economy and labor needs expanded opportunities for blacks and substantially reduced economic disparities. But postwar policies to promote home ownership and labor laws regarding minimum wages deliberately excluded blacks. Other policies providing the engine that produced today’s middle class, including the GI benefits that financed college education, reinforced the discriminatory patterns. By connecting the dots, Katznelson provides the foundational basis that justified affirmative action for blacks, as the disparities are an outgrowth of government policies and practices.

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