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Ethnicity and Race

Human groups are invariably defined by their borders. From families to states, all groups do elaborate work mixing fact, fear, and fancy while deciding who they are by imagining who they are not. Racial/ethnic groupings are systematically arbitrary: They easily could be otherwise, but their borders are often strictly enforced and correspondingly volatile. Certainly, racial/ethnic borders figure large in struggles for equal access to economic and educational resources. Late-20th-century inquiries into how they operate—or who they operated on—have shifted focus from the essential characteristics of the groups to the dynamics of power and privilege along the borders to which they must adapt. The focus has shifted from what the groups know, believe, or desire to the circumstances under which they must make their way.

Racial/ethnic ...

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