Synopses & Reviews
With a foreword by Richard E. Vander Ross
In recent years, dramatic increases in racial intermarriage have given birth to a generation who refuse to be shoehorned into neat, pre-existing racial categories. Energized by a refusal to allow mixed-race people to be rendered invisible, this movement lobbies aggressively to have the category multiracial added to official racial classifications.
While applauding the self-awareness and activism at the root of this movement, Jon Michael Spencer questions its ultimate usefulness, deeply concerned that it will unintentionally weaken minority power. Focusing specifically on mixed-race blacks, Spencer argues that the mixed-race movement in the United States would benefit from consideration of how multiracial categories have evolved in South Africa. Americans, he shows us, are deeply uninformed about the tragic consequences of the former white South African government's classification of mixed-race people as Coloured. Spencer maintains that a multiracial category in the U.S. could be equally tragic, not only for blacks but formultiracials themselves.
Further, splintering people of color into such classifications of race and mixed race aggravates race relations among society's oppressed. A group that can attain some privilege through a multiracial identity is unlikely to identify with the lesser status group, blacks. It may be that the undoing of racial classification will come not by initiating a new classification, but by our increased recognition that there are millions of people who simply defy easy classification.
"Offers fascinating new insights to the longstanding debate over racial discrimination in the United States. This important book will undoubtedly be influential in helping us analyze some of the most pressing civil rights issues of the twenty-first century."
"A very thoughtful analysis of the need to move beyond the traditional black/white paradigm to address the dynamic aspects of racialized inequalities. . . . This provocative book will be widely discussed and debated."
"This book joins a growing body of work that challenges essentialist ideas about race while also rejecting the colorblind and end-of-racism theses of conservative commentators...The authors have done an excellent job of articulating the implications of what it means to bring class back into critical race theory."
"...It is a MUST read for any educator."
"Jon Michael Spencer has highlighted a new and rising issue on the scene of race relations. . . . Spencer takes a clear, firm, and well-informed position on this complex and vital issue. It is a challenge that the nation will one day be forced to meet."-Joel R. Williamson,author of New People: Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States
"An excellent work of mediation and reconciliation. A book not only of American importance but of global significance."-Hendrik W. van der Merwe,Director-emeritus of the Centre for Intergroup Studies, University of Cape Town
"Takes on the difficult task of explaining, from a civil-rights perspective, why government should refuse to recognize a [mixed race] category. . . . Thought-provoking."-The New York Times Book Review,
"Argues boldly and convincingly with valid arguments against the creation of amultiracial classification."-Multicultural Review,
pushes us beyond the old "race vs. class" debates to delve deeper into the structural conditions that spawn racism. Darder and Torres place the study of racism forthrightly within the context of contemporary capitalism. While agreeing with those who have argued that the concept of "race" does not have biological validity, they go further to insist that the concept also holds little political, symbolic, or descriptive value when employed in social science and policy research.
Darder and Torres argue for the need to jettison the concept of "race," while calling adamantly for the critical study of racism. They maintain that an understanding of structural class inequality is fundamentally germane to comprehending the growing significance of racism in capitalist America.
About the Author
is professor of educational policy studies and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her books include Culture and Power in the Classroom
, Latinos and Education
, and The Latino Studies Reader
Rodolfo D. Torres is associate professor of Chicano-Latino studies, political science, and planning, policy, and design at the University of California, Irvine. Among his books are Latino Metropolis and Savage State: Welfare Capitalism and Inequality.