Beyond the Color Line

Beyond the Color Line

New Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America

Editors: Abigail Thernstrom, Stephan Thernstrom
ISBN: 978-0-8179-9872-1
Publication Date: 1/5/2002
Pages: 438

The American racial and ethnic landscape has been radically transformed over the past three decades. A generation ago, blacks had much less education, much poorer jobs and were more likely to live in solidly black neighborhoods than they are today.

Yet the old notion of "two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal" still persists thirty years after it first appeared in the misguided diagnosis of the Kerner Commission report. America's changing racial and ethnic scene is the central theme of Beyond the Color Line.

In essays covering a range of areas including education, law, religion, immigration, family structure, crime, economics, politics, and more, this volume examines where we've been, where we are, and where we're going. Along the way, the authors attempt to illuminate how we have moved from Dr. Martin Luther King's dream of all Americans being judged solely by the "content of their character, not the color of their skin" to today's vaguely Orwellian civil rights orthodoxy—that it is necessary to treat some persons differently in order to treat them "equally."

The product of the Citizens' Initiative on Race and Ethnicity—formed in 1998 as an alternative to the one-sided official "dialogue" on questions of color—many of these twenty-five brief essays offer either explicit or implicit public policy recommendations. A common theme unites them—new realities require new thinking, and old civil rights strategies will not solve today's problems. Beyond the Color Line takes the first steps toward a new civil rights agenda.


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Abigail Thernstrom

Abigail Thernstrom is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and coauthor of America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible (Simon & Schuster, 1997). Her previous book, Whose Votes Count: Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rights (Harvard University Press, 1987) won four academic prizes. She has been a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education since 1995 and writes frequently for a variety of journals and newspapers, including the New Republic, Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Public Interest.

Stephan Thernstrom

Stephan Thernstrom is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Winthrop Professor of History at Harvard University, where he teaches American social history. His most recent book, coauthored with Abigail Thernstrom, is American in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible (Simon & Schuster, 1997). He is also the editor of the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Harvard University Press, 1980).

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Foreword          ix
John Raisian and Larry Mone

Contributors          xi

Introduction          1


The Demography of Racial and Ethnic Groups          13
Stephan Thernstrom
copyright © 2001 by Stephan Thernstrom

Immigration and Group Relations          37
Reed Ueda

What Americans Think About Race and Ethnicity          53
Everett C. Ladd

Wrestling with Stigma          69
Shelby Steele


Residential Segregation Trends          83
William A. V. Clark

African American Marriage Patterns          95
Douglas J. Besharov and Andrew West

Crime          115
James Q. Wilson

Health and Medical Care          127
Sally Satel

Supporting Black Churches          153
John J. DiIulio Jr.


Discrimination, Economics, and Culture          167
Thomas Sowell
copyright © 2001 by Thomas Sowell

Half Full or Half Empty? The Changing Economic Status of African Americans, 1967–1996          181
Finis Welch

Discrimination in Public Contracting          201
George R. La Noue


Desegregation and Resegregation in the Public Schools          219
David J. Armor and Christine H. Rossell

The Racial Gap in Academic Achievement          259
Abigail Thernstrom
copyright © 2001 by Abigail Thernstrom

Schools That Work for Minority Students          277
Clint Bolick

Preferential Admissions in Higher Education          293
Martin Trow


Racial and Ethnic Classifications in American Law          309
Eugene Volokh
copyright © 2001 by Eugene Volokh

Illusions of Antidiscrimination Law          319
Nelson Lund


Race, Ethnicity, and Politics in American History          343
Michael Barone

The Politics of Racial Preferences          359
David Brady

From Protest to Politics: Still an Issue for Black Leadership          369
Tamar Jacoby


The New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation          383
Linda Chavez

In Defense of Indian Rights          391
William J. Lawrence

The Battle for Color-Blind Public Policy          405
C. Robert Zelnick

One Nation, Indivisible          415
Ward Connerly

Index          425

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