Assignment: Fading Group Boundaries
The findings from our analyses of both quantitative and qualitative data suggest that group boundaries are fading more rapidly for Latinos and even more rapidly for Asians than for blacks, signaling that today’s new nonwhite immigrants are not incorporating as racialized minorities whose experiences and situations are more akin to those of blacks than of whites. Our research suggests that Asians and perhaps to a lesser degree Latinos are more closely fol- lowing the pattern of European immigrants, which places them closer to whites at this point in time than to blacks. Thus, a new black-nonblack color line appears to be emerging that places the new nonwhite immigrants on the nonblack side of the line and continues to separate African Americans from all other groups. Hence, although the color line may be fading and becoming more flexible in certain respects, the new color line continues to relegate many
The Diversity Paradox
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blacks to positions of disadvantage, just like the traditional black-white line, pointing to the persistence of a pattern of black exceptionalism in the United States. Paradoxically, the new diversity blurs some color lines more than others, leaving the old line more repositioned than eradicated.
Acknowledging the existence of a contemporary color line dividing black and nonblack Americans does not mean we suggest that “nonblack” is a homo- geneous category synonymous with “white.” In fact, we propose that there are many shades of nonblack, making this category more nuanced and complex than the category often defined as white. Perhaps because whiteness as a cate- gory has expanded in the past to incorporate new immigrant groups, some may presume that it now is stretching again to envelop many Asians and Latinos.
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