Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Race and Ethnicity

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Edition: 5th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2004-08-06
Publisher(s): McGraw-Hill/Dushkin
List Price: $34.45

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This debate style reader is designed to introduce students to controversies in race and ethnicity. The pro and con readings discuss issues such as social identities and cultural conflict; immigration, segregation and leadership; affirmative action and legal issues; and new policies. This fifth edition remains a beneficial tool encouraging critical thinking on important issues concerning racial and ethnic minorities. For additional support, link to our student website Dushkin Online (www.dushkin.com/online/).

Table of Contents

Preface iii
Introduction xiii
Issue 1. Do We Need a Common American Identity?
YES: Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., "E Pluribus Unum?," The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society (New York: W.W. Norton Co. 1992)
NO: Michael Walzer, "What Does It Mean to Be an American?" Social Research (Fall 1990)
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., historian, asserts that America needs a common identity. In that context he views multiculturalism as an attack on the basic values that have made America what it is today. Michael Walzer, professor at the Center of Advanced Study Princeton, makes the pluralist argument that America cannot avoid its multicultural identity. He explores the ways in which citizenship and nationality are compatible with the preservation of one's ethnic identity, culture, and community.
Issue 2. Is Immigration Good for America?
YES: David Cole, "The New Know-Nothingism: Five Myths About Immigration," The Nation (October 17, 1994)
NO: Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster (Random House, 1995)
David Cole, law professor, critically examines and rebuffs significant myths alleging substantial destructive sociocultural and economic impacts of immigrants and policies in this field. Peter Brimelow, Senior Editor at Forbes and National Review magazines, argues that the United States is being overrun by a growing tide of aliens who are changing the character and composition of the nation.
Issue 3. Race Relations in the Nineteenth Century: Will Accommodation Insure Progress?
YES: Booker T. Washington, "The Atlanta Exposition Address," from Atlanta Letter (September 18, 1895)
NO: W.E.B. DuBois, "Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others," from Souls of Black Folk (New York: Fawcett, 1968)
Booker T. Washington, the premier black leader of the period 1896-1915, argues that with the embrace of significant norms of the white culture, the race could make progress in the American South. W.E.B. DuBois, the leading black intellectual and progressive social activist of the first half of the twentieth century, viewed Washington's program as too limited for blacks to progress in the United States.
Issue 4. Does White Identity Define America?
YES: Lillian B. Rubin, "Is This a White Country, or What?" in Families on the Fault Line (Harper Perennial, 1995)
NO: Ellis Cose, "What's White Anyway?" Newsweek (September 18, 2000)
Lillian B. Rubin, senior research fellow at the Institute for Study of Social Change at Berkeley, contrasts current immigrants who are mostly non-white with nineteenth-century European immigrants, almost all of whom were white. She notes that among many descendants of European immigrants currently there is a fear of whites becoming a minority. For these descendants, American identity has always been associated with being white. Ellis Cose, an African American journalist, argues that the traditional boundaries that determine race and skin color are not what they once were. Although he does not specifically cite ethnicity, Cose furthers the claim that American identity today is an expanding category.
Issue 5. Is Skin Color a Proper Determinant of Racial Identity?
YES: Howard Zinn, "Drawing the Color Line" from A people's History of the United States (HarperCollins, 1980)
NO: Marvin Harris, "How Our Skins Got Their Color" from Our Kind: Who We Are. Where We Came From and Where We Are Going (HarperCollins, 1989)
Howard Zinn, eminent historian, asserts that the black skin of the earliest African American was employed by whites to differentiate and establish them as members of a separate, distinct, and inferior race. Marvin Harris, a leading anthropologist, views skin color as a biological phenomenon, and thus he explains differences in skin color as a biological adaptation of humans for dealing with the potentially harmful solar radiation that we face.
Issue 6. Is Race Prejudice a Product of Group Position?
YES: Herbert Blumer, "Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position," The Pacific Sociological Review (Spring 1958)
NO: Gordon W. Allport, "The Young Child," The Nature of Prejudice (Perseus Books, 1979)
Herbert Blumer, a sociologist, asserts that prejudice exists in a sense of group position rather than as an attitude based on individual feelings. Gordon Allport, a psychologist, makes the case that prejudice is the result of a three-stage learning process.
Issue 7. Are Definitions of Race Just Political?
YES: Lawrence Wright, "One Drop of Blood," The New Yorker, July 12, 1993 (Wendy Weil Agency, Inc.)
NO: Clara Rodriguez and Hector Cordero-Guzman, "Placing Race In Context," Ethnic and Racial Studies 15, 4, pp. 523-541, October, 1992 (Routledge)
Lawrence Wright, a writer for The New Yorker, demonstrates the influence of politics upon census categories of race and ethnicity. In the 1990's, multiracial groups who did not fit into the government's traditional categories of race and ethnicity began to challenge them as too narrow and inaccurate. Clara Rodriguez, a professor of sociology at Fordham University, and Hector Cordero-Guzman, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Black and Hispanic Studies at Baruch College of the City University of New York, suggest that race is a much more complex concept. Using responses by Puerto Ricans to questions about racial identity, they argue that racial identity is "more contextually influenced, determined and defined"
Issue 8. Do Minorities Engage in Self-Segregation?
YES: Beverly Daniel Tatum, "Identity Development in Adolescence" in Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (Basic Books, 1977)
NO: Peter Beinart, "Degree of Separation at Yale," The New Republic (November 3, 1997)
Beverly Daniel Tatum, an African-American psychologist, examines identity development among adolescents, especially black youths, and the behavioral outcomes of this phenomenon. She argues that black adolescents' tendency to view themselves in racial terms is due to the totality of personal and environmental responses that they receive from the larger society. Peter Beinart, Senior Editor for The New Republic, in contrast, examines the complexity of the issues of multiculturalism and diversity on the nation's campuses and he asserts that one examine how a broad spectrum of groups responds to the challenges of identity and "fitting in" within increasingly multicultural and diverse communities.
Issue 9. Are Asian Americans a Model Minority?
YES: David A. Bell, "America's Greatest Success Story: The Triumph of Asian-Americans," The New Republic (July 15 & 22, 1985)
NO: Frank H. Wu, "The Model Minority: Asian American 'Success' as a Race Relations Failure," in Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White (Basic Books, 2002)
David A. Bell agrees that Asian Americans are a "model minority" and expresses a great appreciation for the progress and prominence they have achieved within the nation. Frank H. Wu, Howard University law professor, rejects the characterization of Asian Americans as a "model minority" based on the belief that this characterization tends to obscure problems facing Asians in America.
Issue 10. Are Hispanics Making Economic Progress?
YES: Linda Chavez, from Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation (Basic Books, 1991)
NO: Robert Aponte, "Urban Hispanic Poverty: Disaggregations and Explanations," Social Problems (November 1991)
Linda Chavez, writer and former political candidate, argues that Hispanics are making economic progress in America. Robert Aponte, a social scientist, argues that Hispanics are not making economic progress. He presents significant disaggregated data to show that certain Hispanic groups are becoming increasingly poor.
Issue 11. Are America's Schools and Neighborhoods Resegregated?
YES: Gary Orfield and Susan E. Eaton, "Turning Back to Segregation," in Dismantling Desegregation (New York: The New Press, 1996)
NO: Ingrid Gould Ellen, "Welcome Neighbors?" The Brookings Review (Winter 1997)
Gary Orfield, professor of education and social policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Susan E. Eaton, author, demonstrate that America's public schools are resegregating. Their argument is based on a series of legal decisions beginning in the 1970s that have successfully reversed the historic Brown decision. Ingrid Gould Ellen, writer for The Brookings Review, argues that neighborhood racial integration is increasing. She thinks researchers must balance their pessimistic findings of resegregation with increased integration.
Issue 12. Should Race Be a Consideration in College Admissions?
YES: William G. Bowen and Neil L. Rudenstine, "Race-Sensitive Admissions: Back to Basics," in The Chronicle of Higher Education (February 7, 2003)
NO: Dinesh D'Souza, "A World Without Racial Preferences," The Weekly Standard (November 30/December 7, 1998)
William G. Bowen, former President of Princeton University, and Neil L. Rudenstine, former president of Harvard University, make the case for race-sensitive admissions in higher education. With a focus on selective colleges, they cite empirical data that demonstrate the success of beneficiaries of race-sensitive admission policies. Dinesh D'Souza, John M. Olin Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, questions the racial preference argument and argues that merit should decide admission to any organization.
Issue 13. Is a Multicultural Curriculum Essential for Advancing Education?
YES: Gary B. Nash, "The Great Multicultural Debate," in Contention (1992)
NO: Diane Ravitch, "Multiculturalism: E Pluribus Plures," The American Scholar (59, no. 3, Summer 1990)
Gary B. Nash, a historian, sketches the development of American history over the past century, as the research of a new generation of historians sheds light on issues such as class conflict, labor relations, gender roles, and race relations. Nash views the teaching of history with a multicultural emphasis as a positive step in American education. Diane Ravitch, historian of education, fears the incipient weakening of a common knowledge base in American history that is taught in American public schools. This is caused by a particularistic multiculturalism, not the pluralistic multiculturalism that promotes a broad interpretation of a common American culture.
Issue 14. Is Affirmative Action Necessary to Achieve Racial Equality in the United States?
YES: Robert Staples, "Black Deprivation-White Privilege: The Assault on Affirmative Action." The Black Scholar (vol. 25, no. 3, Summer 1995)
NO: Patrick A. Hall, "Against Our Best Interests: An Ambivalent View of Affirmative Action," Blacks in Higher Education (October 1991)
Robert Staples, an African-American sociologist, views affirmative action as a positive policy designed to provide equal economic opportunities for women and other minorities. Patrick A. Hall, an African-American librarian, is opposed to affirmative action based on the belief that it promotes negative stereotypes of African Americans and other minorities, and that it perpetuates the perception that minorities are not advancing based on merit.
Issue 15. Is Racism a Permanent Feature of American Society?
YES: Derrick Bell, "Divining Our Racial Themes," in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (Basic Books, 1992)
NO: Dinesh D'Souza, "The End of Racism" in The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society (Free Press, 1995)
Derrick Bell, a prominent African-American scholar and authority on civil rights and constitutional law, argues that the prospects for achieving racial equality in the United States are "illusory" for blacks. Dinesh D'Souza, media commentator and writer, believes that racial discrimination against blacks has substantially eroded within American society and that lagging progress among them is due to other factors, such as culture, rather than racism.
Issue 16. Should Twenty-First Century Public Policy Be Class Conscious Rather than Race Conscious?
YES: Richard Kahlenberg, "Class, Not Race," in The New Republic (April 3, 1995)
NO: Amy Gutmann, "Should Public Policy Be Class Conscious Rather than Color Conscious?" from Color Conscious (Princeton University Press, 1996)
Richard Kahlenberg, fellow at the Center for National Policy, argues that class-based policies would provide a basis for attacking the problems of poverty and disadvantage that are experienced by members of all groups within society. Amy Gutmann, a political scientist, believes that racial injustices are a continuing reality of society and that class-based preferences tend to dilute their necessary focus on racism and their effects on society.
Issue 17. Is Now the Time for Reparations for African Americans?
YES: Robert L. Allen, "Past Due: The African American Quest for Reparations," The Black Scholar (vol. 28, no. 2, Summer 1998)
NO: "Slavery and the Law: Time and Punishment," The Economist (vol. 363, no. 8268, April 13, 2002)
Robert L. Allen, professor and senior editor of The Black Scholar, argues that reparations for African Americans are necessary to achieve an economically just society within the United States. Staff writers from The Economist oppose reparations and question whether such a policy is appropriate in a nation where the victims of slavery are difficult to identify and the perpetrators of past racial oppressions are no longer among us.
Issue 18. Is Racial Profiling Defensible Public Policy?
YES: John Derbyshire, "In Defense of Racial Profiling," National Review (February 19, 2001)
NO: David A. Harris, "Profiles in Injustice: American Life under the Regime of Racial Profiling" in Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (The New Press, 2002)
John Derbyshire, political commentator for National Review, views racial profiling as a "common sense policy" and a valid response to crime control and national security concerns. David A. Harris, law professor and leading authority on racial profiling, argues that racial profiling is ineffective and damaging to our diverse nation.
Contributors 413(4)
Index 417

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