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Debating Diversity

Clashing Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America

Third Edition

Edited by Ronald Takaki

Publication Date - 13 June 2002

ISBN: 9780195146516

272 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches


In the nineteenth century Herman Melville wrote, "America was settled by peoples of all nations....You cannot spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world. We are not a narrow tribe." At the beginning of the twenty-first century, America is more ethnically diverse than ever before. Will we fear this expanding diversity as the disuniting of America, or will we embrace a more inclusive re-definition of our national identity?
As the nation's preeminent scholar of multicultural studies, Ronald Takaki invites us to address this question by "debating diversity." The overarching theme of his new anthology is the clash of perspectives over the master narrative of American history--the powerful but mistaken story that this country was settled by European immigrants and that Americans are white.
The collection opens with the lively intellectual exchange between Nathan Glazer and Ronald Takaki on ethnicity versus race; it then turns to the contrasting interpretations of the frontier by Frederick Jackson Turner and Takaki. Other debates include: Samuel P. Huntington and Elizabeth Martínez on the diversity of civilizations; Irving Kristol and William Julius Wilson on inner-city blacks; Robert J. Samuelson and Gregory Defreitas on Mexican immigration; Governor Pete Wilson and Chancellor Chang-lin Tien on affirmative action; and James Q. Wilson and Elliott Currie on crime and punishment. The anthology closes with a debate between Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Takaki on whether we as Americans should pursue a vision of our society as a melting pot or as a multicultural democracy. Embedded in all of the essays is the question: "Originating from different shores, can we become one people of the United States of America?" An ideal text for diversity courses in Ethnic Studies, Political Science, American Studies, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and Education, Debating Diversity will stir students to think critically about who we have been and who we are as Americans.

Previous Publication Date(s)

September 1998
June 1980

Table of Contents

    The Twenty-first Century: We Will All Be Minorities
    I. Patterns: Ethnicity versus Race
    The Emergence of an American Ethnic Pattern, Nathan Glazer
    Reflections on Racial Patterns in America, Ronald Takaki
    II. National Identity: The Master Narrative of American History and Its Discontents
    The Significance of the Frontier in American History, Frederick Jackson Turner
    The Significance of the Frontier in Native American History, Ronald Takaki
    The Clash of Civilizations: In the World and the U.S., Samuel P. Huntington
    Reinventing "America": Call for a New National Identity, Elizabeth Martínez
    III. Class: Below the Deck of the Pequod
    Origins of the Southern Labor System, Oscar and Mary F. Handlin
    Why the Switch to Slavery: Fears of Rebellious White Workers, Ronald Takaki
    The Paradoxical Tragedy of White and Black Laborers in the South, W.E.B. DuBois
    Organize Labor and Civil Rights, Harvard Sitkoff
    Racial Domination and Class Conflict in Capitalist Agriculture: The Oxnard Sugar Beet Workers' Strike of 1903, Tomás Almaguer
    Immigrants and Workfare Workers, Grace Chang
    IV. Diversities Within: Gender and Other Differences
    A Bridge to College for Jewish Sons: Daughters in the Sweatshops, Susan A. Glenn
    Double Discrimination for Puerto Rican Women, Lourdes Miranda King
    Race, Class, and Gender: Prospects for an All-Inclusive Sisterhood, Bonnie Thorton Dill
    Stories from the Homefront: Perspectives of Asian American Parents with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons, Alice Y. Hom
    Voices from the Movement: Approaches to Multiraciality, Cynthia L. Nakashima
    V. Policies: Strategies and Solutions
    The Negro Today Is Like the Immigrant Yesterday, Irving Kristol
    The Black Community: Race and Class, William Julius Wilson
    The Limits of Immigration, Robert J. Samuelson
    Fear of Foreigners: Immigrants as Scapegoats for Domestic Woes, Gregory Defreitas
    What to Do About Crime, James Q. Wilson
    What to Do and Not To Do About Crime, Elliott Currie
    Ending Affirmative Action, Pete Wilson
    Defending Affirmative Action, Chang-Lin Tien
    American Blacks, It Turned Out, Are Not Like the Immigrants of Yesterday, Nathan Glazer
    VI. Prospects: E Pluribus Unum?
    The Return to the Melting Pot, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
    A Different Mirror: Multicultural Ties That Bind America, Ronald Takaki