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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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Racial Justice Finds a Policy Tool

Racial Justice Finds a Policy Tool

(p.83) Chapter 6 Racial Justice Finds a Policy Tool
What Is "Your" Race?

Kenneth Prewitt

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how there were four national statistical races as of the twentieth century: European White, African Black, American Indian Red, and Asian Yellow. They were put to policy work in restricting immigration in the 1920s and for racial segregation more generally until the civil rights challenge dramatically arrived in the 1960s. The chapter traces how a policy instrument used to politically, economically, and socially exclude since the nation's founding made a 180-degree turn and was used to include the racial groups historically sent to the back of the bus—both literally and figuratively. It is a story of how proactive policies of racial justice were shaped with racial statistics never intended for the policy uses to which they were put.

Keywords:   statistical races, Asian Yellow, American Indian Red, African Black, European White, immigration, civil rights, policy instrument, racial justice

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