By Dr. Jason J. McDonald
The us, it's always acknowledged, is among the such a lot ethnically diversified international locations on the earth. yet what, accurately, will we suggest after we communicate of "ethnic" teams or "ethnicity"? what's the contrast, for instance, among "race" and "ethnicity"? How do quite a few teams meld with the remainder of American society? may still we expect by way of assimilation, integration, pluralism, or another courting among ethnic teams and the mainstream? it really is those and plenty of different questions that Jason J. McDonald tackles during this well timed and insightful booklet. Chapters discover a number themes, together with how assorted ethnic teams arrived within the United States--whether via violence and coercion or keen immigration; the ordinary id of local americans as "ethnic," although they're indigenous to the land; even if the yank public's attitudes towards and remedy of distinction has been in step with the nation's professed egalitarian beliefs; and the way elements reminiscent of language, faith, category, gender, and intermarriage play in both strengthening or weakening ethnic identification and workforce team spirit. an interesting and significant examine a time period that continues to be stubbornly ambiguous in either scholarly dialogue and the vernacular, this e-book makes an incredible contribution to the continued debates approximately "difference" in American society.
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Extra info for American Ethnic History: Themes and Perspectives
He or she was certainly not white because of his or her ethnicity. Indeed at times of great identification with homeland and ethnicity, immigrants’ identification with whiteness was often minimal (1994, pp. 182, 184–8). If Roediger’s work can be credited with lending strong support to the case for rejecting the subsumption of race within ethnicity, then Audrey Smedley deserves recognition for providing revisionists with definitions that unequivocally differentiate between the two terms. ‘‘Race’’, asserted Smedley, ‘‘signifies rigidity and permanence of position/status within a ranking order that is based on what is believed to be the unalterable reality of innate biological differences’’.
The debate over the nature of ethnicity becomes even more complex when interpretations of its origins are examined. The primordialist perspective, which depicts ethnic identification as an innate human impulse, offers a convenient explanation for the longevity and continuity of many ethnies, but it cannot account for such phenomena as individuals who exchange one ethnicity for another. Moreover, the charge that primordialism is too impressionistic and over-emphasizes the ‘‘natural’’, indefinable qualities of ethnicity seems to be well founded.
Racism, suggested Fredrickson and Knobel, although it emanates from assumptions of innate differences between groups, is essentially a more ‘‘accentuated’’ form and, therefore, sub-category of ethnocentrism. Louis Ruchames’s ambiguous use of the term ‘‘ethnocentrism’’ gave the impression that it is a synonym for ‘‘racism’’ (1967, pp. 251–3). The central weakness of this fairly conventional viewpoint is that it tends to blur the distinctions between racism and ethnocentrism, permitting the terms to be used almost interchangeably and, critics claim, inappropriately.
American Ethnic History: Themes and Perspectives by Dr. Jason J. McDonald