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Race and Ethnicity in Modern America. History 17B Lecture 21. Introduction. The Browning of America By 2056, the “average” American will not be white. Whites 46.7% in California (2000 Census) Asian and Latino populations surged nationally according to census. Lecture Questions

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  • The Browning of America
    • By 2056, the “average” American will not be white.
      • Whites 46.7% in California (2000 Census)
    • Asian and Latino populations surged nationally according to census.
Lecture Questions

U.S. always a land of immigrants, but are post-1965 immigrants different?

Have they changed the “color” of America?

How have native Americans reacted?

How have race relations been redefined in post-1965 decades?

Will changes bring tolerance or social discord?


Group Formation Process based on culture and descent.

Culture: religion, language, customs, nationality.

Descent: heredity and a sense of group origins.

Ethnicity is “socially constructed.”

Its definition is agreed upon by society at a given time.

But aren’t blacks as ethnically diverse as whites?



We believe “race” is important because of what we see on the surface.


Racial ideas useful in structuring society by whites over nonwhites.


“Race” is artificial – a social construction.

No scientific consensus that race can be defined biologically.

the new new immigrants
The New, New Immigrants
  • 1965 Immigration Act
    • Abolished racist origins quotas set in 1924.
    • Hemispheric and country caps.
      • But immediate family members of U.S. citizens exempt from caps.
the new new immigrants7
Beneficiaries of Reform: Asians

Asian American population:

1 million in 1965 to 10.2 million in 2000 (3.6%)

10.8% of California’s population

Changing Communities

New Asian immigrant often skilled and/or highly educated.

Suburban Chinatowns/Koreatowns

The New, New Immigrants
the new new immigrants8
Latino Immigration

1950: 4 million Latinos in U.S.

2000: 35.3 million Latinos (12.5%)

Political and economic instability in Latin America.

Illegal immigration will continue to be a concern.

The New, New Immigrants
growing racial tension
Economic Restructuring

Deindustrialization hurt low-skilled workers in manufacturing.

End of Cold War hurt highly paid defense workers.

1990 recession hurt everyone.

Political opportunism

Politicians courted the “angry white male” through thinly-veiled racist campaign rhetoric.

Pete Wilson and anti-immigration campaign.

Growing Racial Tension
case study los angeles
Demographic and Economic Changes

Deindustrialization ravaged growing minority community.

200,000 jobs lost between 1978 and 1992.

Low-wage service jobs and unemployment among minorities.

Growing anger and racial tension.

Case Study: Los Angeles
case study los angeles11
L.A. Riots (April 1992)

Spark was “not-guilty” verdict against police officers who beat Rodney King

Political leadership in disarray and police lacked direction as city was looted and burned for 4 days.

Case Study: Los Angeles
case study los angeles13
Case Study: Los Angeles
  • Riots in Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, and other inner-cities.
  • But LA most destructive:
    • Four days of rioting.
    • 58 dead
    • 2,383 injured
    • 25,000 jobs wiped out.
    • 850 families left homeless.
    • $735 million to - $1 billion in damage
analyzing the riots
Analyzing the Riots
  • Despite Civil Rights advances, race relations still strained.
  • We must broaden our conception of race.
    • America’s first multi-ethnic riot.
      • African Americans vs. Koreans.
      • Latinos both victims and vandals:
        • 51% of those arrested and 30% of those who died.
redefining race in america
Minority-Minority Conflict

Potential conflict for a browning America?

Race free issues like social security can become racial issues over non-white workers supporting white retirees.

Minority groups will often be in competition with one another for jobs, status, and public services.

Redefining Race in America
redefining race in america16
Interracial Relationships

Loving vs. Virginia (1967)

4% of all marriages today are mixed marriages.

California twice the national average.

Los Angeles 5 times the national average!

20% of Generation X-ers marry outside their race or ethnicity.

Some Americans still oppose interracial marriage.

Redefining Race in America
redefining race in america17
Redefining Race in America
  • Bob Jones University
    • “God has separated people for His own purpose. He has erected barriers between the nations, not only land and sea barriers, but also ethnic, cultural, and language barriers. God has made people different one from another and intends those differences to remain. Bob Jones University is opposed to intermarriage of the races because it breaks down the barriers God has established.”
  • Note: Bob Jones University rescinded its ban on March 3, 2000.
redefining race in america18
Redefining Race in America
  • Racial Politics and the 2000 Census
    • Racial categorization determines allocation of public resources and race-based policies (i.e., affirmative action.)
  • Mixed Race classification
    • Minority groups opposed such a category.
      • But Multiracial Americans demanded it.
    • 6.82 million Americans identified themselves as “multiracial.”