By Dr. Jason J. McDonald
The USA, it's always stated, is among the so much ethnically varied international locations on this planet. yet what, accurately, will we suggest once we converse of "ethnic" teams or "ethnicity"? what's the contrast, for instance, among "race" and "ethnicity"? How do a variety of 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's those and plenty of different questions that Jason J. McDonald tackles during this well timed and insightful booklet. Chapters discover quite a number issues, together with how diversified ethnic teams arrived within the United States--whether via violence and coercion or prepared immigration; the strange id of local american citizens as "ethnic," although they're indigenous to the land; even if the yankee public's attitudes towards and remedy of distinction has been in keeping with the nation's professed egalitarian beliefs; and the way components equivalent to language, faith, type, gender, and intermarriage play in both strengthening or weakening ethnic identification and crew unity. a fascinating and demanding examine a time period that is still stubbornly ambiguous in either scholarly dialogue and the vernacular, this publication makes a major contribution to the continuing debates approximately "difference" in American society.
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Extra info for American Ethnic History: Themes and Perspectives
However, an older tradition of viewing slavery as the cause and not the effect of racism was resurrected in the late 1960s. In Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams presented the classic exposition of this interpretation: ‘‘Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery. Unfree labor in the New World was brown, white, black and yellow; Catholic, Protestant and pagan’’ (1966 , p. 7). Oscar and Mary Handlin (1950) subsequently put forward a similar argument, as did Edmund Morgan (1975) and George Fredrickson (1981), all of whom suggested that imported Africans were initially not treated any differently to white servants in colonial America.
4). As we will see, subsequent scholarship has confirmed the accuracy of Jones’s assertions. A more enduring, yet equally fallacious and invidious distinction is the one that posits white and nonwhite ethnies on opposite sides of the immigrant– sojourner divide. Once again, Asian and Mexican immigrants are united in being the two ethnies most commonly viewed through the prism of an artificial dichotomy. Gunther Barth’s influential Bitter Strength (1964), for example, characterized Asian immigrants as voluntary sojourners.
Moreover, the charge that primordialism is too impressionistic and over-emphasizes the ‘‘natural’’, indefinable qualities of ethnicity seems to be well founded. Conversely, the aim of the situational perspective is to demystify ethnicity by revealing how it emerges out of identifiable real life contexts and historical experiences. Ethnicity, according to this view, is a social construction not a natural human trait. Although occasional efforts have been made to broach the differences between the primordialist and situationalist perspectives by acknowledging the fact that pre-existing loyalties and immediate social circumstances both play a role in the formation of new ethnies, these attempts at synthesis usually founder upon the realization that even apparently primal allegiances must at some point have been socially constructed.
American Ethnic History: Themes and Perspectives by Dr. Jason J. McDonald
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