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  Irén Annus

“How does it feel to be a problem?”

Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary US Society

Irén Annus is Senior Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair of the Department of American Studies, University of Szeged. E-mail:




“How does it feel to be a problem?” goes the famous question Du Bois posed to Blacks in his The Souls of Black Folk[1] in 1903, referring to the contemporary American Black experience, that of segregation and exploitation. Du Bois considered it the major task for the 20th century to find a solution to the racial problem. But here we are now, some 100 years later, witnessing that the racial problem not only remains unsolved, but has intensified and been exacerbated.



1. Debating race and ethnicity


Undoubtedly, the most significant attempts in the direction of solving the racial problem Du Bois had been hoping for were tied to the Civil Rights Movement, but the legal and political measures taken have in fact been unable to transform the cultural and mental frameworks within which Americans understand themselves and each other. Instead of establishing racial equality and a color-blind society, (1) these measures were regarded by much of the Black population as incomplete and insufficient to establish their real equal standing in society and (2) as these measures themselves drew on racial categorization, inherently and unintentionally contributed to the emergence of a newer series of experiences, problems and argumentations regarding racial inequality.


As a result, heated debates over the problem of race and ethnicity continued after the 1960s, in the mist of which new conceptualizations were framed and discarded. One of the new concepts evolving was that of new ethnicity. Michael Novak,[2] based on a series of research conducted among the population of large cities and drawing on the theoretical assumptions presented by structural pluralists, such as Milton Gordon,[3] concluded that American society had remained an ethnically and racially diverse culture, one in which these categorizations cement individuals to permanent social, economic and political positions, are tied to life chances, stereotypes and discriminatory views.


One response to these serious problems aimed at equalizing the various differences was captured by the notion of multiculturalism within which “minority groups demand[ed] recognition of their identity, and accommodation of their cultural differences.”[4] Kymlicka argued that multiculturalism had been used also to “encompass a wide range of non-ethnic social groups which have, for various reasons, been excluded or marginalized from the mainstream of society … such as the disabled, gays and lesbians, women, the working class, atheists, and Communists.”[5] Their struggle in the political realm for equal recognition was paralleled with efforts to establish the wide acceptance of and respect for diversity and difference in a number of areas of identification.


Multiculturalism was captured by two models: that of (1) pluralism, which echoed Horace M. Kallen’s[6] early, utopian argument for cultural pluralism, calling for a peaceful coexistence of various cultural groups in society, which were organized around ethnic categories, thus membership in them were determined by birth[7]; and that of (2) cosmopolitanism, which “argued for voluntary group associations, as opposed to prescribed traditional group membership and thus promoted individual choice and conceptualized individual identity as an intersection of multiple identities. As such, it also allowed for the notion of flexibility, both in individuals and groups, thus enabling and entitling the individual to choose from among various identities as well as to change them, as no absolute social locations were accepted as binding with regard to identity.”[8] Despite these claims, however, multiculturalism operated with categories that maintained ethnic and racial divisions, expected a high sense of homogeneity within each group as well as a sense of unity based on unified desires and united action shared by each member. Moreover, yet another factor putting a halt to the success of multiculturalism was that, as David Hollinger pointed out, by the late 1980s, “diversity has become too diversified”[9] to be dealt with thoroughly by multiculturalism.


As a possible new conceptualization, Hollinger offered his postethnic perspective which “prefers voluntary to prescribed affiliations, appreciates multiple identities, pushes for communities of wide scope, recognizes the constructed character of ethno-racial groups, and accepts the formation of new groups as a part of the normal life of a democratic society.”[10] He argued for a society in which traditional concepts like ethnicity or race are decentralized, the hierarchies they constitute are destroyed, thus freedom, democracy and equality may in fact be established.


Hollinger’s claim on ethnicity being a type of socially constructed category had already been shared by other scholars, some of whom studied the highly symbolic nature of racial and ethnic identities. Herbert Gans in his work[11] argued against Novak when proposing that third- and fourth-generation members of various ethnic communities had indeed been integrated into the American society. He found that this process was completed through them sharing in the experience of social and economic upward mobility, as a result of which they became “less and less interested in their ethnic cultures and organizations…and are instead more concerned with maintaining their ethnic identity…[by] finding ways of feeling and expressing that identity in suitable ways.”[12] This takes place primarily in regularly tailored, symbolic ways; therefore the model for this new identification came to be known as symbolic ethnicity. This model contends that ethnicity emerges as a social construction, as a process in which the semantic field of ethnic identification is always in flux, in the state of being re-located within the social and re-filled with new meanings, aims and sentiments.


Joanne Nagel emphasized the political in the construction of ethnicity,[13] binding categories of ethnicity to commonly shared aims and desires which may be best achieved within the political realm; thus, ethnicity is regarded as primarily organized around political struggles. Others, such as George Bond and Angela Gilliam[14] claimed that ethnicity and race are merely cultural constructions, which present power, which enhance further power. Werner Sollors[15] argued not only for the socially constructed nature of ethnic identities, but regarded them as inventions, social self- positionings always in the changing, “subject to the continuous play of history, culture and power,”[16] as Stuart Hall concluded. Therefore, the specific conditions under which an ethnic or racial group is constituted as a permanent, historically unified social entity determine its position and power.


Whiteness Studies also emerged within the same theoretical understanding, claiming that whiteness is an invented category, operating through a created ideological fiction having emerged from a historical set of practices of white supremacy.  This field of study aims (1) to unfold the history of the creation of whiteness, through the examination of various economic and political circumstances that shaped the emergence of this category; and (2) to critically analyze current practices, especially within the realm of culture, which are prominent in perpetuating this fiction. It hopes to reveal the artificially created nature of whiteness, to decentralize and deconstruct it as an epistemological category and source of power, thus dismantling racial hierarchies and attitudes in general.


Another set of theorizations tied to the mixed-race/multiracial movement offered perhaps an even more visible example for the constitution of racial/ethnic identities. Although mixed race was acknowledged legally only in 2000, the social and cultural position of multiracial population and the boundaries outlining the possibility of who they may be regarded as are still determined by traditional racist attitudes, such as the “one drop of blood” rule, thus they are limited in the categories available to them in their self-positioning in the public space and discourses – even if they could pass as their “other.”[17]


Before multiracial identity was acknowledged, mixed-race people had to choose identity from among the available racial and ethnic identifications, at least from among the options given to them by social conventions, and many of them continue to do so. Miri Song[18] found that the selection, negotiation and affirmation of ethnicity, more viable within a given racial group than between them, are determined by internal as well as external factors and are the outcome of a complex series of self-negotiation.


The other response to multiracial realities was the emergence of multiracial pan-ethnicity which, according to Cynthia Nakashima,[19] is featured by the desires “(1) to gain acceptance and legitimacy within traditional racial and ethnic groups; (2) to shape the identity and agenda of various mixed-race people into a common multiracial community; and (3) to establish connections in order to bridge differences between various ethnic and racial groups in order to form “a community of humanity”[20] and with that, initiate a new dialogue, leading to the dismantling of traditional dominant ideologies and their positioning of racial and ethnic groups.”[21]



2. Mapping the debates


This overview served to assist me in mapping various mental frameworks, which tend to underlie conceptualizations of race and ethnicity in the US. Overall, three basic approaches may be located: (1) the first draws on these traditional categories of race and ethnicity and models a society which maintain these, but with a major transformation; (2) the second aims at modeling a society in which these categories are non-existent; and (3) the third builds on the increasing particularism and variety in the racial and ethnic landscape.



2.1. Re-constituting ethnic/racial categories


The various models, which may be regarded as representing this type of approach, would be new ethnicity, multiculturalism, identity politics and symbolic ethnicity. All these approaches share in drawing on traditional categorizations of race and ethnicity in their intellectual undertaking: their assessment of contemporary social tensions center around these categories and they persist in engaging in a traditionalist discourse in formulating their claims as for how the re-constitution of the various racial and ethnic categories should result in the emergence of a fairer society in which existing racist approaches are corrected and exclusive patterns of behavior are defeated. That is, they use racial/ethnic categories to fight the very same categories, as a consequence of the natural assumption that racial and discriminatory attitudes are based on these categorizations; it is through these, therefore, that such attitudes can be transformed, from within, by reversing the meaning of the negative categories, their representation and perception, elevating their position and, in doing so, the possible power invested in them.


The Civil Rights Movement demonstrated the organizational power inherent in these identifications as well as the power of representation through which political power is accessed. Civil Rights legislation injected legal power into these categories and initiated slow but steady transformations with the purpose of correcting historical injustices, framing choice structures and achieving social reconciliation. Many, including Amy Gutmann[22] and Elazar Barkan,[23] welcomed these actions since they maintained that race-based discrimination may be overturned by race-based legislation, especially if the group does not to wish to practice what Jason Hill called its “right to forget.”[24]


However, these arguments must also be accompanied by the recognition that preferential treatment inherently carries the seeds of another type of discrimination, something that became known as negative or reverse discrimination. For that matter, I find that the implied act of legal minoritization of whites in the Civil Rights Act figures prominently in the emergence of white supremacist discourses which Robyn Wiegman[25] attributed to the civil rights language and logic. Moreover, Thomas Sowell,[26] for one, interpreted affirmative action as the dawn of a new type of racism: programs continued to distinguish between people along the color line and offered preferential treatment to Blacks with which, in fact, it denied them equality and positioned them as indeed inferior, implying that they would fail to compete under equal circumstances.


It comes as no surprise, then, that these theorizations assume that race and ethnicity will remain formative in the realm of the social and are thus treated as a continuing site for people’s identity, self-organization, representation and negotiation, a site in which these groups are able to gain voices and fight their “counter-hegemonic war of maneuver”[27], as Stuart Hall put it, in order to reposition themselves. Sowell’s argumentation also suggests that equality has not been established even in legal terms and thus the efforts in that direction must also persist.


Within the Civil Rights context and legacy other categorizations of marginality have emerged, such as “the disabled, gays and lesbians, women, the working class, atheists, and Communists,”[28] to quote Kymlicka again. Each of these groups presented their claim for their distinct ontological and epistemological conditions, arguing in the Civil Rights language and logic for a public voice and recognition. In this general move towards particularism, however, specific sets of combinations came into play as sets of positionings out of which even more specific truth claims and demands emerged. In all of these, however, racial and ethnic identifications remained central, reflecting the extent to which they have remained fundamental segments of postmodern identity models, also shaping newer, highly energetic and provocative academic discourses.[29] One excellent example may be Gloria Anzaldua, whose self-definition as “a tejana patlache (queer) nepantlera spiritual activist”[30] and its meaning has indeed defined the direction of her academic work.



2.2. De-centering race and ethnicity


Through a de-centering of racial and ethnic categories, Hollinger’s notion of post-ethnicity, similarly to Hill’s radical cosmopolitanism, envisions a state of society where these social markers lose their signifying position. Both agree in that this ideal social state would emerge through a process, the first stage of which is what Hill defines as moderate cosmopolitanism, where racial and ethnic identifications prevail but not in a hierarchical fashion, without specific, negative connotations and stereotypes. However, they both place this utopian stage somewhere in the far future, without actually elaborating on the specifics of the actualization of this program:  what particular conditions would lead to the emergence of the sentiment and consensus framing this ideal state of being[31] and why society may be viewed as a homogeneous whole and would develop in a uniform manner in a predetermined direction towards an ideal social formation.


Multiracial pan-ethnicity also envisions a society as a community in which humanity and not racial or ethnic identifications would position and unite people – yet another proposition assuming homogeneity and uniformity in future social change with a predetermined outcome. It is argued that this may be realized through the full legitimation and inclusion of the various racial and ethnic communities.


Inherent in the conceptualization of race or ethnicity as a form of construction and/or invention is, by definition, the possibility of its re-construction or deconstruction. The paradox, yet again, is that these processes remain constructions in, through and out of racial and ethnic categories. This reflects the fact that there was a set of historical conditions and reasons in and for which these categories were invented and constructed, and as long as these prevail the basis and need for the existence of these categorizations by the powers instituting them as well as by the people signified by them will also prevail. In order to maintain current power structures, the first group would insist on the maintenance of these categories, thus positioning them as essential in a possible struggle aimed at transforming and/or nullifying them.


This informs, as Madan Sarup concluded, “politics which works with and through difference, a politics which does not suppress the real heterogeneity of interests and identities.”[32] This politics, according to Amy Gutmann and Iris Young,[33] fights for a color-blind society, but as color-conscious policies and attitudes still dominate the public sphere, color-conscious policies must be fought for and implemented in order to be able to attain a just, color-blind society, which indeed treats all its citizens as civic equals. That is, racial categories must be mobilized in order to achieve advancements in politics, which will result in the emancipation and social inclusion of these groups.


Whiteness Studies attempted to deconstruct whiteness as the race of power, the only race towards which Americans have become color blind, as Gregory Jay noted.[34] Moreover, it also hoped to deprive white race of its power, through which it also strived to dismantle contemporary racial philosophy, hierarchy and exclusion. However, this field of study is only able to operate by discussing whiteness, that is, by centering whiteness, the act of which, as some critics claim, reverses the direction of the currents which may lead to a halt in racial attitudes and policies. Moreover, much work on Whiteness Studies relates the development of whiteness to the development of class, especially the working class, basing the argumentation on Marxist assumptions, which have also attracted much criticism.



2.3. Particularizing race and ethnicity


For a while I was entertaining the idea that a multiracial population will be the key to solving the race problem in the US. Mixed race people, I thought, would provide the best example for why essentialist approaches must be discredited as well as prove to be the best activists to turn the constructed nature of identity to their advantage and transform the representation as well as the reception of these categories. I believed that they had performed border-crossing in the biological sense and thus gained access to what Homi Bhabha defined as “a liminal space, a pathway”, a possible site for challenging and negotiating fixed identifications.[35] I believed that they may become the people whose mere existence will be the basis for a truly tolerant, all-embracing, inclusive, mutually respectful, and fair society.


However, this has not been the case. For one, the mixed-race population is an enigma in US society, as they cannot be placed into the familiar racial system; thus, they present yet a newer problem. This “inability to conceptualize multiethnic persons reflects a colonial ideology of categorization and separation based on a “pure blood” criterion” as Alsultany[36] claimed, going on to say: “Multiethnic identity comes as a surprise and a danger within this framework as people attempt to place us, to make sense within the schemas available for understanding people and the world”[37]


But it is not only society, which has not been able to cope with multiracial positionings. A number of scholars argued that a multiracial and multiethnic population often used this position to choose their identity. Miri Song found that “the issue of affiliating with a particular group is unlikely to be determined by an individual’s desires and choices alone.”[38] It is rather a matter of intersubjective negotiations, which take the complex dynamics of ethnic/racial representation, ethnic options and power positions as well as social perceptions and status into consideration. Therefore, choosing one ethnicity or race and abandoning the other(s) is based on the cultural tradition, i.e. what one may choose to be; is informed by the classification of racial/ethnic hierarchies; and expressive of the nature of their social positionings. Moreover, it contributes to the reproduction of these as choices made tend to strengthen the existing views and resultant structures/hierarchies.


Sundstrom[39] classified criticisms of multiracial identities and theories in four groups. (1) It is claimed that a mixed racial position is essentially used to express individual desire to move upward on the racial hierarchy based on hypodescent, which preserves racial hierarchy and expresses a negative stereotype towards those at the bottom, as, for example, individuals tend to distance themselves from Black identity and locate themselves on the scale closer to Whites. (2) The second argument contends that these theories and identities will eventually undermine and perhaps even reverse the various advances, which were the outcome of the Civil Rights Movement. (3) The third set of objections maintained that these theories, far from subverting the existing mono-racial hierarchy and racist attitudes, reaffirm both them and essentialist claims in general as these theories, by speaking in biological terms of mixed blood and features, return to the already discredited biological essentialism in the categorization and identification of people. (4) Naomi Zack in her “philosophy of anti-race”[40] also claimed that these theories involve the reification of race, which indicates that people, instead of developing an authentic life and personality, continue to draw on old, mistaken categorizations, such as race or ethnicity. Since racial/ethnic categorizations are not based on scientific evidence, they should be discredited and people should realize how they cannot have racial/ethnic identities at all.


Zack’s utopianism notwithstanding, what is fascinating about these arguments is that they actually place mixed race theories under attack because they may upset the current racial hierarchy or racial status quo and power structure and thus threaten the known or accepted methods and achievements of negotiations. Mixed-race people, their movement and theories threaten the comfort many feel regarding current positions and inherent possibilities of further moves, the certainty if not fixity attached to that which, as Homi Bhabha argued, presents the Other through a stereotype, seemingly in clear, simple terms, as known, predictable and permanent in its place.[41]





These discourses clearly express that race and ethnicity still remain as central to the academic debate as they do to contemporary existence and identifications. These categories still impact other fragments of identification, a number of discourses, representations and negotiations. Social and political identifications, economic positionings, belief systems, and gender roles all develop intertwined with ethnic and racial categories. I see these as part of what Appiah[42] calls the “tool kit” which our culture and society make available to us and which we use when constructing our identities.


The plurality of positionings and general move towards particularism in terms of identification, as also reflected in the academic discourses, is complicated further by global tendencies which, as Don Mitchell argued, have contributed to the emergence of a new type of transnational social structure in which the cosmopolitan, hyper-mobile, privileged “globalized class” is taking the lead, not being “tied to any locale but at home in many.”[43] Arjun Appadurai,[44] however, mapped the disjunctions in global processes and argued that homogenizational tendencies occur in five dimensions or spaces which may be located as the sites for the negotiation and analysis of these: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, finanscapes and ideoscapes. These may become instrumental in the analysis of global racism, which, according to Bhattacharyya et al.,[45] exists to safeguard the economic interest of older cultures’ privilege.


Gloria Anzaldua in her preface to this bridge we call home called for a mentality which refuses to walk the color line or maintain the gender line, not by arguing for their disappearance but by “honoring people’s otherness in ways that allow us to be changed by embracing that otherness rather than punishing others”[46] for their differences. This can be attained by changing “notions of identity, viewing it as part of a more complex system covering a larger terrain, and demonstrating that the politics of exclusion based on traditional categories diminishes our humanness.”[47] Alsultany proposed that this can be achieved through the decolonization of essentialized frameworks, the transformation of “dislocation into location”[48] and the reconstruction of “belonging” to embrace the experiences of all human beings.”[49]


The reconstruction of race and ethnicity from a fixed hierarchical system to a flexible, relational structuring may indeed be a possible next step. These categories are unlikely to disappear in the near future, especially since they have not been transformed and equalized yet. We are still at a stage where, as Banerjee’s example signifies, not acknowledging race or ethnicity seems pretentious and disingenuous: “Nobody ever told me I was different. And yet maybe their denial was actually proof.”[50]


The problem evolving around the category of race pointed out by Du Bois, in a way, indeed resulted in an equalizing or democratizing process. The problem and racial/ethnic categorizations, instead of disappearing, have been intensifying and multiplying, establishing an equality not in terms of diminishing racial and ethnic categorizations, but in terms of becoming all-embracing and presenting sets of issues and problems for everyone. As a result, instead of Du Bois’s powerful question having become obsolete in the American society, now everybody may be asked the same old question: “How does it feel to be a problem?”






- Alsultany, Evelyn. “Los Intersticios: Recasting Moving Selves.” In Anzaldua, Gloria and Analouise Keating eds. this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation. New York: Routledge, 2002, 106-110.

- Annus, Iren. Social Realities in the Making: The Structuration of Society and the Constitution of American Identity . Szeged: JATEPress, 2005.

- Anzaldua, Gloria and Analouise Keating eds. this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation. New York: Routledge, 2002.

- Appadurai, Arjun. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” In Seidman, Steve and Jeffrey Alexander eds. The New Social Theory Reader. London: Routledge, 2001, 253-66.

- Appiah, Anthony and Amy Gutmann. Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

- Banerjee, Mita. “The Hipness of Mediation: A Hyphenated German Existence.” In Anzaldua, Gloria and Analouise Keating eds. this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation. New York: Routledge, 2002, 117-125.

- Barkan, Elazar. The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices. New York: Norton, 2000.

- Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1993.

- ---. “The Other Question: Stereotype, Discrimination and the Discourse of Colonialism.” In Seidman, Steven and Jeffrey C. Alexander eds. The New Social Theory Reader. London: Routledge, 2001, 388-402.

- Bhattacharyya, Gargi et al. Race and Power: Global racism in the twenty-first century. London: Routledge, 2002.

- Bond, George C. and Angela Gilliam eds. Social Construction of the Past: Representation as Power. New York: Routledge, 1994.

- Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Gates, Henry L. and Terri H. Oliver eds. New York: Norton, 1999.

- Gans, Herbert J. “Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups and Cultures in America (1979).” In Sollors, Werner ed. Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader. London: Macmillan, 1996, 425-59.

- Gordon, Milton M. Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion and National Origins. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964.

- Hall, Stuart. “Cultural identity and diaspora.” In Rutherford, Jonathan ed. Identity, Community, Cultural Difference. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1990, 222-37.

- Hill, Jason. Becoming a Cosmopolitan: What it Means to Be a Human in the New Millenium. Lenham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

- Hollinger, David A. Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

- Jay, Gregory. “Who Invented White People?” Access: Nov 17, 2004.

- Kallen, Horace M. “Democracy versus the Melting-Pot: A Study of American Nationality (1915).” In Sollors, Werner ed. Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader. London: Macmillan, 1996, 67-92.

- Kymlicka, Will. Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

- Mitchell, Don. Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.

- Nagel, Joanne “The political construction of ethnicity.” In Olzak, Susan and Joanne Nagel eds. Competitive Ethnic Relations. New York: Academic Press, 1986, 93-112.

- Nakashima, Cynthia. “Voices from the movement: Approaches to multiraciality.” In Root, M. ed. The Multiracial Experience. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996, 79-100.

- Novak, Michael. The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

- Rojek, Chris. Stuart Hall. Cambridge: Polity, 2003.

- Sanches, Maria Carla and Linda Schlossberg eds. Passing: Identity and Interpretation in Sexuality, Race, and Religion. New York: New York University Press, 2001.

- Sarup, Madan. Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996.

- Sollors, Werner. “Foreword: Theories of American Ethnicity.” In Sollors, Werner ed. Theories of Ethnicity. London: Macmillan, 1996, x-xliv.

- ---. ed. The Invention of Ethnicity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

- Song, Miri. Choosing Ethnic Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003.

- Sowell, Thomas. Preferential Policies: An International Perspective. New York: Morrow, 1990.

- Sundstrom, Ronald R. “Being and Being Mixed Race.” Social Theory and Practice 27(2001): 2(Apr).

- Wiegman, Robyn. “Whiteness Studies and the Paradox of Particularity.” Boundaryy 2, 26(1999): 3: 115-150.

- Young, Iris Marion. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press,1990.

- Zack, Naomi. Race and Mixed Race. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.


[1]]The Souls of Black Folk: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism, Henry L. Gates and Terri H. Oliver eds.  (New York: Norton, 1999).

[2] Michael Novak, The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics (New York: Macmillan, 1972).

[3] Milton Gordon, Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion and National Origins (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964).

[4] Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 10..

[5] Kymlicka 1995, 14.

[6] Kallen, Horace M. “Democracy versus the Melting-Pot: A Study of American Nationality (1915),” in Werner Sollors ed., Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader (London: Macmillan, 1996), 67-92.

[7] David A. Hollinger in his criticism of cultural pluralism pointed out how this model relied only on cultural and social components in establishing equality as well as how it seemed to operate with fixed, biologically and historically given positionings. This essentialist approach failed to recognize the real plurality and the racial and ethnic mixture of the American population. Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (New York: Basic Books, 2000)

[8] Iren Annus, Social Realities in the Making: The Structuration of Society and the Constitution of American Identity ( Szeged: JATEPress, 2005), 144.

[9] Hollinger 2000, 12.

[10] Hollinger 2000, 116.

[11]Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader (London: Macmillan, 1996), 425-59.

[12] Gans 1996, 434.

[13] Joanne Nagel, “The political construction of ethnicity,” in Susan Olzak and Joanne Nagel eds., Competitive Ethnic Relationss (New York: Academic Press, 1986), 93-112.

[14] George C. Bond and Angela Gilliam eds., Social Construction of the Past: Representation as Power (New York: Routledge, 1994), 1.

[15] Werner Sollors, “Foreword: Theories of American Ethnicity,” in Werner Sollors ed., Theories of Ethnicity (London: Macmillan, 1996), x-xliv.

[16]Identity, Community, Cultural Difference (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1990), 222-37, 225.

[17] Linda Schlossberg, for example, argued that “[T]heories of identity and subject formation in the Western culture are largely structured around the logic of visibility…[where] passing becomes a highly charged site for anxieties regarding visibility, invisibility, classification and social demarcation.” Sanches, Maria Carla and Linda Schlossberg eds., Passing. Identity and Interpretation in Sexuality, Race, and Religionn (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 3.

[18] Miri Song, Choosing Ethnic Identity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003).

[19] Cynthia Nakashima, “Voices from the movement: Approaches to multiraciality,” in M. Root ed., The Multiracial Experience (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996), 79-100.

[20] Nakashima 1996, 81.

[21] Annus 2005, 148.

[22] Anthony Appiah and Amy Gutmann, Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).

[23] Elazar Barkan, The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (New York: Norton, 2000).

[24] Jason Hill, Becoming a Cosmopolitan: What it Means to Be a Human in the New Millenium (Lenham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000), 5.

[25]] Robyn Wiegman, Whiteness Studies and the Paradox of Particularity,” Boundary 2, 26(1999): 3: 115-150.

[26] Thomas Sowell, Preferential Policies: An International Perspective (New York: Morrow, 1990).

[27] Quoted in Chris Rojek, Stuart Hall (Cambridge: Polity, 2003), 178.

[28] Kymlicka 1995, 14.

[29] Based on ethnic and racial identification, a variety of feminist theories emerged, theologies, gay and queer studies, in all of which the specific racial and ethnic positionings were often basis for a variety of experiences within marginalizations as well.

[30] Gloria Anzaldua and Analouise Keating eds., this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation (New York: Routledge, 2002), 602.

[31] Hill claimed that this ideal, non-racial and non-ethnic society may come about when people choose to practice their right to forget their past and origin, along with the historical baggage attached to these identifications.

[32] Madan Sarup, Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), 61.

[33] Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 166.

[34] Gregory Jay, “Who Invented White People?” Access: Nov 17, 2004.

[35] Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1993), 4.

[36] Evelyn Alsultany, “Los Intersticios: Recasting Moving Selves,” in Gloria Anzaldua and Analouise Keating eds., this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation (New York: Routledge, 2002), 106-110, 109.

[37] Alsultany 2002, 110.

[38] Song 2003, 42.

[39] Ronald R. Sundstrom, Being and Being Mixed Race,” Social Theory and Practice 27(2001): 2(Apr).

[40] Naomi Zack, Race and Mixed Race (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993).

[41]] Homi Bhabha, The Other Question: Stereotype, Discrimination and the Discourse of Colonialism,” in Steven Seidman and Jeffrey C. Alexander eds., The New Social Theory Reader (London: Routledge, 2001), 388-402.

[42] 1996, 7.

[43] Don Mitchell, Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 280.

[44] Arjun Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” in Steve Seidman and Jeffrey Alexander eds., The New Social Theory Reader (London: Routledge, 2001), 253-66.

[45] Gargi Bhattacharyya et al., Race and Power: Global racism in the twenty-first century (London: Routledge, 2002).

[46]] 2002, 4.

[47] Anzaldua 2002, 2.

[48] 2002, 109.

[49] 2002, 110.

[50] Mita Banerjee, “The Hipness of Mediation: A Hyphenated German Existence,” in Gloria Anzaldua and Analouise Keating eds., this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation (New York: Routledge, 2002) 117-125, 117.


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