An impassioned argument for reassessing America's understanding of race and ethnicity
For the first time in U.S. history, the black-white dichotomy that historically has defined race and ethnicity is being challenged, not by a small minority, but by the fastest-growing and arguably most vocal segment of the increasingly diverse American population—Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Arabs, and many more—who are breaking down and recreating the very definitions of race.
Drawing on interviews with hundreds of Americans who don't fit conventional black or white categories, the author invites us to empathize with these "doubles" and to understand why they represent our best chance to throw off the strictures of the black-white division.
The revolution is already under way, as newcomers and mixed-race fusions reject the prevailing Anglo-Protestant culture. Americans face two choices: understand why these individuals think as they do or face a future that continues to define us by what divides us rather than by what unites us.
Jacket design by Savitski Design, winner of the Silver Addy 2008 in the category of Collateral Material, Publication Design (Magazine or Book), Cover from the Ann Arbor Ad Club Addy Competition.
"This book is both powerful and important. Powerful for the testimony it provides from Americans of many different (and even mixed races) about their experiences. And important because there is a racial revolution underway that will upend race as we know it during the twenty-first century."
—John Kenneth White, Catholic University of America
"In this visionary, necessary book, Ronald Fernandez invents a new language to address age-old dilemmas of race and ethnicity. He goes well beyond boxes and labels, easy answers and academic jargon. Fernandez celebrates the unacknowledged reality of multiracial identity, the experience of the people he calls "fusions," and offers eloquent proof that so-called "illegal immigrants" must be included in the national dialogue on race. This is sociology at its best, clear-eyed, compassionate, intelligent and useful. The book is ultimately a clarion call for the embrace of our common humanity."
—Martín Espada, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and author, most recently, of The Republic of Poetry
"Fernandez strongly supports a model of the U.S. as a delightful banquet of cultures—cultural pluralism, multiculturalism, an open road leading to 'cultural liberty.' A timely, insightful, valuable contribution to race and ethnic studies. Highly recommended."
—Choice, D.A. Chekki, emeritus, University of Winnipeg
"...Fernandez, in leading us through this journey through the history of race in the United States, is also able to remind us of the interconnectedness of immigration, culture, and race. He also reminds us of the importance of language, and the need to challenge the reified notions we all have about culture."
—Victor M. Rodriguez, Centro: Journal for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Copyright © 2007, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.