This reader focuses on the extremely current, important topic of racial and ethnic experiences in the United States today. Most of the essays were commissioned especially for this reader and have been prepared by some of the brightest voices in this cutting edge field. Instructors in search of a current, comprehensive multicultural reader will find this a valuable student resource whether it is the sole focus of their course or to be integrated into another content area.
Part II: Representations of Race and the Politics of Identity
[Page 97]The selections in Part II focus on race as a socially constructed identity, and in so doing they reveal the ways dominant and subordinate groups attempt to carve out distinctive identities, while locating themselves vis-à-vis other groups. According to most sociologists today, even though there are differences in physical characteristics that one can point to in distinguishing among various groups, these differences are less significant than the meanings that are attached to them. Thus, race as a social phenomenon is distinct from the physical dimension, and the former is more important than the latter insofar as it actually plays a major role influencing and shaping people's lives.
For this ...