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What Is "Your" Race?The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans$
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Kenneth Prewitt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157030

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157030.001.0001

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The Problem of the Twenty-first Century Is the Problem of the Color Line as It Intersects the Nativity Line

The Problem of the Twenty-first Century Is the Problem of the Color Line as It Intersects the Nativity Line

Chapter:
(p.151) Chapter 9 The Problem of the Twenty-first Century Is the Problem of the Color Line as It Intersects the Nativity Line
Source:
What Is "Your" Race?
Author(s):

Kenneth Prewitt

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157030.003.0009

This chapter argues that the center of gravity is shifting because of an intricate interplay between America's color line and its nativity line. It uses the color line concept to ask whether America has the right policy tools to fully erase the line that separated whites and racial minorities throughout America's history. If they merge—if immigrants are racialized—the future sadly repeats America's past. If, instead, America's population becomes so diverse and multiracial that the color line disappears, an altogether different future is in store, perhaps the promised postracial society. However, it is not certain whether this social process will strengthen or weaken a color line inherited from the eighteenth century, strengthened across the next century and a half, and then challenged but not fully erased by the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.

Keywords:   color line, nativity line, America, racial minorities, diversity, multiraciality, postracial society

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