The Monochrome Society

September 13, 1999

269. "The Monochrome Society," The Public Interest, No. 137, (Fall 1999), pp. 42-55.

Various demographers and other social scientists have been predicting for years that the end of the white majority in the United States is near, and that there will be a majority of minorities. CNN has broadcasted a special program on the subject;(2)President Clinton has called attention to it in national dialogue about race relations;(3) and numerous books and articles in recent years have addressed America's changing demography from vastly different--and frequently antagonistic--perspectives. Some have reacted to the expected demise of the white majority with alarm or distress. Dale Maharidge, author of The Coming White Minority: California's Eruptions and America's Future, claims that by the year 2000, California's population will be less than 50% white. As he explains, "'Minorities' will be in the majority, a precursor to the 2050 state of racial composition nationwide, when"the nation will be almost half nonwhite."(4) According to Maharidge, "whites . are scared," especially in California,

The depth of white fear is underestimated and misunderstood by progressive thinkers and the media. Whites dread the unknown and not-so-distant tomorrow when a statistical turning point will be reached that could have very bad consequences for them. They fear the change that seems to be transforming their state into something different from the rest of the United States. They fear losing not only their jobs but also their culture. Some feel that California will become a version of South Africa, in which whites will lose power when minorities are the majority.(5)

Fearing of the 'browning' of America, many whites have already formed residential islands surrounded by vast ethnic communities, foreshadowing, Maharidge claims, "what the rest of America might become."(6) Whites and non-whites alike recently passed the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, which Maharidge links to these same fears about the end of the white majority. "There is ample evidence," he concludes, "that white tension could escalate."

In contrast, John Isbister, a professor of economics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, asks us to ponder whether America is too white. He contends that the decline in the white proportion is a healthy development for the country, because it will gradually replace a majority-minority confrontation with interactions between groups of more equal size and influence."(7) He further notes that the principal case for a falling white proportion is simply this: it will be easier for us to transform a society of hostility and oppression into one of cooperation if we are dealing not with a majority versus several small minorities, but with groups of roughly equivalent size."(8)

One People

As I see it, both views, that of alarm and celebration, are fundamentally wrong because these positions are implicitly and inadvertently racist: They assume that people's pigmentation, or, more generally, racial attributes, determine their visions, values, and votes.(9) In fact, very often the opposite is true. America is blessed with an economic and political system as well as culture and core values and much else that, while far from flawless, are embraced by most Americans of all races and ethnic groups. (To save breath, from here on, race is used to encompass ethnicity.) It is a grievous error to suggest that because American faces or skin tones may appear more diverse some fifty years from now, most Americans who hail from different social backgrounds will seek to follow a different agenda or hold a different creed than a white majority. While, of course, nobody can predict what people will believe or do fifty years hence, there is strong evidence that if they behave in any way that resembles current behavior of white, black, brown, yellow, red or other Americans, they will share the same basic aspirations, core values, and mores. Moreover, current trends in attitudes which currently reflect increases in the proportion of the non-white population further support the thesis that while the American society may well change, whites and non-whites will largely change together.

A 1992 survey finds that most black and Hispanic Americans (86% and 85%, respectively) seek "fair treatment for all, without prejudice or discrimination."(10)One may expect that this value is of special concern to minorities, but white Americans feel the same way. As a result, the proportion of all Americans who agree with the quoted statement about the importance of fairness is a close 79 percent.(11)

A poll of New York residents shows that the vast majority of respondents consider teaching "the common heritage and values that we share as Americans" to be "very important."(12) One may expect this statement to reflect a white, majoritarian value. However, minorities endorse this position more strongly than whites: 88% of Hispanics and 89% of blacks, compared to 70% of whites agree.(13) A nationwide poll finds that equal proportions of blacks and whites--93%--concur that they would vote for a black presidential candidate.(14)Another national poll finds that "over 80% of all respondents in every category--age, gender, race, location, education, and income--agree" with the statement that freedom must be tempered by personal responsibility.(15) Far from favoring placing stress on different heritages, approximately 85% of parents--85% of all parents; 83% of African American parents; 89% of Hispanic parents; and 88% of foreign-born parents--agree with the statement, "To graduate from high school, students should be required to understand the common history and ideas that tie all Americans together."(16)

And far from stressing differences in the living conditions and economic status of different groups, views about the nature of life in America are shared across racial lines. 70 percent of blacks and 60% of whites agree that "The way things are in America, people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living," according to the National Opinion Research Center's (NORC) 1994 General Social Survey.(17) Likewise, 81% of blacks and 79% of whites report to NORC that "the quality of life is better in America than in most other advanced industrial countries."(18) And, roughly 80% of parents surveyed--80% of foreign-born parents, 87% of Hispanic parents, 73% of African American parents, and 84% of all parents--agree, "The U.S. is a unique country that stands for something special in the world."(19)

Even in response to a deliberately loaded question, a 1997 poll shows that similarities between the races are much larger than differences. Asked, "Will race relations in this country ever get better?" 43% of blacks and 60% of whites reply in the affirmative.(20) (Pollsters tend to focus on the 17% who strike a different position rather than on the 43% who embrace the same one. The difference between 57% of blacks and 40% of whites who do not believe that race relations are going to get better is also 17%.)

Not black and white

While Americans hold widely ranging opinions on what should be done about various matters of social policy, people across racial and ethnic categories identify the same issues as important to them, and to the country. For instance, in a 1996 survey whites, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans concur that education is "the most important issue facing [their] community today."(21) Similarly, more than 80% of blacks, Latinos, and whites share the belief that "it is 'extremely important' to spend tax dollars on 'educational opportunities for children.'"(22) In another survey, 54% of blacks and 61% of whites rank "increased economic opportunity" as the most important goal for blacks.(23) And 97% of blacks and 92% of whites rate violent crime a "very serious or most serious problem" in a 1994 poll.(24)

Other problems that trouble America's communities highlight points of convergence among the views of members of various racial and ethnic groups. "Between 80 and 90% of black, white, and 'other' Americans agree that it is 'extremely important' to spend tax dollars on 'reducing crime' and 'reducing illegal drug use' among youth."(25) In addition, some shared public policy preferences emerge. Among whites, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans surveyed by the Washington Post/Kaiser Foundation/Harvard Survey Project, between 75% and 82% of each group feel "strongly" that Congress should balance the budget. Between 30% and 41% are convinced that Congress should instate limited tax breaks for business; between 46% and 55% concur that Congress should cut personal income taxes; between 53% and 58% agree that Congress should reform Medicare (see Table 2).(26) 67% of all parents, 68% of African American parents, 66% of Hispanic parents, and 75% of foreign-born parents--close to 70% of each group--tell Public Agendathat the most important thing for public schools to do for new immigrant children is "to teach them English as quickly as possible, even if this means they fall behind in other subjects."(27)

All this is not to suggest that there are no significant differences of opinion along social lines, especially when matters directly concern race relations. For instance, many whites and many blacks (although by no means all of either group) take rather different views of the guilt of O.J. Simpson. One survey will stand for many with similar findings that could be cited: 62% of whites believe Simpson was guilty of the murder of which he was accused and acquitted, in contrast to 55% of African Americans who believe he was not-guilty.(28)Likewise, concerning affirmative action, 51% of blacks in a 1997 poll "favor programs which give preferential treatment to racial minorities," a much higher percentage than the 21% of whites who favor such programs.(29) And a very large difference appears when one examines voting patterns. For instance, in 1998, 55% of whites versus 11% African Americans voted for Republican Congressional candidates.(30)

Still, if one considers attitudes toward the basic tenets of the American creed, the overwhelming majority of blacks are surprisingly accepting of them. APublic Perspective poll from 1998 finds that: "In the United States today, anyone who works hard enough can make it economically," with 54% blacks and 66% whites affirming. A 1994 national survey reports that: "A basic American belief has been that if you work hard you can get ahead--reach your goals and get more." Sixty-seven percent of blacks respond "Yes, still true," an affirmative response rate only ten percent less than whites. Most blacks (77%) say they prefer equality of opportunity to equality of results (compared to 89% of whites). When it comes to "Do you see yourself as traditional or old fashioned on things such as sex, morality, family life, and religion, or not," the difference between blacks and whites is only 5%, and when asked whether values in America are seriously declining, the difference is down to one point.

A question from an extensive national survey conducted at the University of Virginia, by James Davison Hunter and Carl Bowman, asks: "How strong would you say the U.S. decline or improvement is in its moral and ethical standards?" 23% of blacks and 33% of whites said there was a strong decline, but 29% of blacks and 24% of whites said the standards were holding steady, and 40% of blacks and 38% of whites said there was a moderate decline.(31) When asked "How strong would you say the U.S. decline or improvement is in the area of family life?" 18% of blacks and 26% of whites said there was a strong decline while 42% of blacks and 40% of whites saw a moderate decline and 31% of blacks and 25% of whites said family life was holding steady.(32) Roughly the same percentages of blacks and whites strongly advocate balancing the budget, cutting personal income taxes, reforming the welfare system, and reforming Medicare.(33) Percentages are also nearly even in responses to questions on abortion and marijuana.(34)

Pollsters and commentators tend to play up small differences and downplay large similarities. n most of the figures cited above the differences among the races are much smaller than the similarities. On most issues there are no findings that could be considered, even by a farfetched interpretation, to show a "white" versus a "black" position, nor a single position of any other ethnic group. Race simply does not determine a person's views.

Class trumps race

Most interestingly, differences among social groups that include both blacks and whites are often larger than differences among races. For instance, sociologist Janet Saltzman Chafetz concludes her study with the statement that "in any dimension one wishes to examine--income, education, occupation, political and social attitudes, etc.--the range of difference within one race or gender group is almost as great as that between various groups."(35) A 1994 Kansas City study shows that "income differences between age groups in a given race are greater than income differences between entire races."(36)

Indeed, though African Americans are the least mainstreamed group in America, the black middle class is growing, and many of its members have adopted lifestyles and aspirations similar to those of other middle-class Americans and distinct from those of other black Americans. A 1998 Wall Street Journal public opinion poll shows differences within distinct classes of a single race to be greater than differences among those races, on several, albeit not on all, key issues. For instance, 82% of middle class whites and 70% of non-middle class whites report satisfaction with their personal finances (a disparity of 12%), while 74% of middle class blacks and 56% of non-middle class blacks report such satisfaction (a difference of 18%). The differences of 12% and 18% respectively, are higher than the differences in opinion between the races (8% difference between middle class whites and blacks, and 14% difference between non-middle class whites and blacks).(37)

I am not suggesting that race makes no difference in a person's position, feelings, or thinking. And one can find polls, especially in response to single questions, that show strong racial influence. However, race does not determinea person's response and often, on all important matters, Americans of different social backgrounds share many convictions, hopes, and goals, even in recent years, as we see the beginning of the decline of the white majority. The social construction of race

Many social scientists call into question the very category of race drawn on by those who foresee increasing racial diversity and conflict. Alain Corcos, author of several books on genetics, race, and racism, notes that "race" has no single definition.

Race is a slippery word because it is a biological term, but we use it every day as a social term. . . . Social, political, and religious views are added to what are seen as biological differences. . . . Race also has been equated with national origin. . . . with religion. . . . with language.(38)

The diversity of characteristics by which race is and has been defined points to its unsatisfactory quality as a tool for categorizing human beings. Even anthropological and genetic definitions of race prove inadequate, because while each describes divisions among the human population, each fails to provide reliable criteria for making such divisions. As Corcos notes, they "are vague. They do not tell us how large divisions between populations must be in order to label them races, nor do they tell us how many there are."(39) Importantly, "[t]hese things are, of course, all matters of choice for the classifier."(40)

Corcos also notes that biological divisions by race do not hold up. "Geographical and social barriers have never been great enough to prevent members of one population from breeding with members of another. Therefore, any characteristic which may have arisen in one population at one time will be transferred later to other populations through mating."(41) Corcos further chronicles scientific and social scientific attempts to categorize humans into races by such sundry methods as craniology and evaluating skin coloring, nose size and shape, and other physical characteristics. Despite these efforts, "[s]cientists have been unable to classify humanity into races using physical characteristics such as skin color, shape of nose or hair, eye color, brain size, etc. They also have been unable to use characteristics such as blood type or other genetic markers."(42)

Social anthropologist Audrey Smedley, professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, shares these observations. She admits there are apparent biophysical differences among humans, but reminds us that "race originated as the imposition of an arbitrary value system on the facts of biological (phenotypic) variations in the human species."(43) That is, she suggests race is imposed from without, not generated from within. Race "was the cultural invention of arbitrary meanings applied to what appeared to be natural divisions within the human species. The meanings had social value but no intrinsic relationship to the biological diversity itself."(44)

In other words, at first it seems obvious that there are black, brown, yellow, and white people. But upon second thought, we realize that there are great differences within each group, even if we choose to focus on, for example, skin color rather than on, say, manners. And, these differences do not parallel one another. That is, persons with darker skin are not necessarily short (or tall), and so on. Race, which has been magnified in recent decades by identity politics, is but one imprecise social category, one that does not define human conduct any more than numerous other social attributes (especially income), and often to a much lesser extent.

"Asian Americans" and "Latinos"?

Such social groupings as "Asian Americans" or "Latinos" are really statistical artifacts reflecting the way social data are coded and reported. Many ethnic leaders favor these labels, and the media finds a convenient shorthand. Most so-called Asian Americans do not see themselves as such, and many resent being labeled this way. Many Japanese Americans do not feel a particular affinity to Filipino or Pakistani Americans--or even to Korean Americans.(45)And the feeling is reciprocal. As Paul Watanabe, an expert on Asian Americans and himself an American of Japanese descent, puts it: "There's this concept that all Asians are alike, that they have the same history, the same language, the same background. Nothing could be more incorrect."(46)

The same holds for the so-called Latinos, including three of my sons. Americans of Hispanic origin trace their origins to many different countries and cultures.(47) Eduardo Diaz, a social service administrator, puts it this way: "...there is no place called Hispanica. I think it's degrading to be called something that doesn't exist. Even Latino is a misnomer. We don't speak Latin."(48) A Mexican American office worker remarked that when she is called Latina it makes her think "about some kind of island."(49) Many Americans from Central America think of themselves as "mestizo," a term that refers to a mixture of Indian and European ancestry. Among those surveyed in the National Latino Political Survey in 1989, the greatest number of respondents choose to be labeled by their country of origin, as opposed to "pan-ethnic" terms such as "hispanic" or "latino."(50)

The significance of these and other such data is that far from seeing a country divided into two or three hardened minority camps, we are witnessing an extension of a traditional American picture: Americans of different origins identifying with groups of other Americans from the same country, at least for a while, but not with any large or more lasting group. Far from there being a new coalition of non-white minorities soon to gain majority status (something President Clinton points to and Jesse Jackson dreams about as a rainbow, one that contains all colors but white), the groups differ greatly from each other--and within themselves.

"Nonwhite" states and cities

We can learn about the future, in which non-white majorities will prevail, by examining the states and cities in which minorities already comprise the majorities. They show that people of a given racial background often do not vote for a candidate of their color--and above all, that non-white groups often do not jointly support any one candidate of any one color or racial background. Any suggestion that race or ethnicity determines for whom one casts one's vote is belied by the facts. For example, Peter Skerry notes that "when first elected to the San Antonio City Council in 1975, [the popular Henry] Cisneros was the candidate of the Anglo establishment and received a higher proportion of Anglo than Mexican votes cast."(51)

We often encounter the future first in California.(52) In a 1991 Los Angeles election for the California State Assembly, Korean American, Filipino American, and Japanese American groups each ran their own candidate, thus splitting the so called "Asian American" vote, not deterred by the fact that they thereby ensured the election of a white candidate.(53)

In some nonwhite-majority cities, we find white, black, and Hispanic mayors alternating, despite only relatively small changes in the composition of the city population. For instance, in Los Angeles, which is roughly 64% non-white (specifically, nearly 40% Hispanic, 14% black, nearly 10% Asian, and .5% American Indian according to the 1990 census),(54) Tom Bradley, an African American, served as mayor for 20 years, until 1993, when the citizens elected Richard Riordan, a white politician. New York City and San Francisco also have in recent years alternated between white and black mayors without witnessing any dramatic changes in the racial and ethnic makeup of those cities.

New York City, comprising approximately 29% blacks, 24% Hispanics, and 7% Asians and Pacific Islanders, (nearly 60% non-whites),(55) elected the white Ed Koch, then chose the African American David Dinkins, followed by a white mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.(56) The roughly 55% minority city San Francisco (approximately 11% black, 30% Asian, 14% Hispanic, and .5% American Indian),(57) was served by three white mayors from 1976 through 1995, but elected the African American Willie Brown in 1996. Dallas, which is about 30% black, 21 percent Hispanic, and 2% Asian had no African American mayor until 1995.(58) Philadelphia, long served by white mayors, elected Wilson Goode to serve between 1984 and 1992, the city's first African American mayor. Goode was followed by the white Edward Rendell in this city of nearly 40% blacks, 6 percent Hispanics, and 3% Asians. The fact that cities like D.C. (nearly 66% black(59)) and Detroit (nearly 76% black(60)) tend to elect black mayors is beside the point, because neither comprises a coalition of minorities but one minority, and the only one that usually envisions itself as a single group.

Virginia, in which whites outnumber minorities significantly (1.5 million minorities and 4.8 million whites), has elected a black governor. L. Douglas Wilder served from 1989 to January, 1994.(61) In the rural and conservative Second District of Georgia, a two-thirds white voter majority reelected Sanford D. Bishop Jr., an African American Democrat, to serve as their representative.(62) Washington state, comprising only 4.5% Asian Americans, elected Gary Locke in 1996, putting in office the first Asian American governor in the mainland United States.(63) While one can find counter examples, the examples listed here indicate that the majority of minorities does not necessarily elect people of color, nor does the white majority necessarily elect white officials.

Intermarriage and the rise of "others"

Last but not least, the figures used by those who project a majority of minorities or the end of a white majority are misleading. These figures are based on a simplistic projection of past trends, ignoring the rapidly rising category of racially mixed Americans, the result of the rising number of cross-racial marriages and a rejection of monoracial categories by some others, especially Hispanic Americans. One out of 12 marriages in 1995 (8.4%) were interracial/ethnic marriages. Intermarriage between Asian Americans and whites are particularly common; marriages between Hispanic Americans and whites are also rather frequent, while such marriages with African Americans are the least common. About half of third-generation Mexican Americans marry non-Hispanic whites; even higher numbers of Asian Americans do the same.(64)

Intermarriage between black and other Americans is less common, but also rising. "In 1990, 84% of all married black people over the age of 65 were in both-black marriages, but only 53% of married blacks under 25 were," according to the Statistical Assessment Service.(65) And the Census Bureau finds that over the past 20 years, the number of marriages between blacks and whites has more than quadrupled, increasing from 65,000 in 1970 to 296,000 in 1994.(66)All together, since 1970, the proportion of marriages among people of different racial or ethnic origin increased by 72%. The 1990 Census notes 1.5 million interracial marriages.(67) Some put the number of children of mixed-race parents at 3 million, not including Hispanic mestizos and black Americans who have European or Indian ancestry.(68)

Another indication of some blurring of the lines among the races in American society can be gleaned from the fact that in the 1990 Census, 4%, or 9.8 million Americans, chose to classify themselves as "others," i.e., not members of any particular racial group. Even if the trends already cited do not accelerate and continue only at the present pace, the figures for 2050 may read something like the following: 51% white; 14% multiracial; 35% minorities. Far from dividing the country still further, the rise of the "others," along with the fact that more and more Americans will be of mixed heritage, with divergent backgrounds, will serve to blur the racial lines. That is, while there may well be more Americans of non-European origin, a growing number of the American white majority will have an Hispanic daughter- or son-in-law, an Asian stepfather or mother, and a whole rainbow of cousins. If one must find a simple image for the future of America, Tiger Woods seems more appropriate than Louis Farrakahn or David Duke.

Regrettably, identity politics led the U.S. Census Bureau to drop the category of "other" from its 2000 Census. This in turn makes it more difficult for Americans of mixed background, or those who wish to forgo racial labels, from declaring themselves as what I would like to call "All Americans."(69) Because the way the Census constructs its categories affects the way many others do-- for instance, those overseeing admissions to colleges--the category of other or multiracial Americans may well not be gaining as fast as it would if the Census followed its 1990 format. This in effect forces at least 10 million Americans into racial categories they seek to shed or modify, and makes American society seem more divided along racial lines than it actually is.

Multiculturalism vs. the American creed

In sum, foreseeable changes in America's demography do not imply that the American creed is being or will be replaced by something called "multiculturalism." Roberto Suro, author of Strangers Among Us: How Latino Immigration is Transforming America, reminds us that we do not need to divest ourselves of plurality in order to achieve harmony.

Americans have never thought of themselves as a single people as the Germans do. Although white, English-speaking Christians of European ancestry have set most of the norms for American society, there is still no sense of a Volk (a group that shares a common ancestry and culture and that embodies the national identity.) Ideas, not biology, are what generate oneness and homogeneity in the United States, and so long as faith in those ideas has remained strong, the country has shown an extraordinary capacity to absorb people of many nationalities.(70)

The American creed always has had room for pluralism of sub-cultures, of people upholding some of the traditions and values of their countries of origin, from praying to playing in their own way. But American pluralism is, and best will continue to be, bound by a shared framework if America is to be spared the kind of ethnic tribalism of the kind that--when driven to extremes--tears apart countries as different as Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and has even raised its ugly head in well-established democracies such as Canada and the United Kingdom (where Scottish separatism is on the rise).

The social, cultural, and legal elements that constitute the framework that hold America together the diverse mosaic are well known.(71) They include a commitment by all parties to the democratic way of life, to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and to mutual tolerance.(72) The common culture that underlies America's racial and ethnic pluralism is further fortified by a strong conviction that one's station in life is determined by hard work, saving, and taking responsibility for one's self and one's family. And most Americans still believe that while we are different in some respects, we are joined by the shared responsibilities of providing a good society for our children and ourselves-- one free of racial and ethnic strife, a model of the thriving political order.


1. * I am indebted for research assistance on this paper to Barbara Fusco and Rachel Mears. I am also grateful to Philip Selznick and Alan Ehrenhalt for their comments on this paper. For a previous, but substantially different, publication concerning these ideas, see Amitai Etzioni, "Some Diversity," Society, July/August 1998, 59-61, and Chapter 7 of The New Golden Rule by Amitai Etzioni.

2. Cited in John Leo, "A Dubious 'Diversity' Report," U.S. News & World Report, 23 June 1997, 15.

3. Speech by President Clinton Regarding Race Relations in America, The University of California at San Diego, Federal News Service, 14 June 1997, White House Briefing section.

4. Dale Maharidge, The Coming White Minority: California's Eruptions and America's Future (New York: Times Books/Random House, 1996), 1.

5. Maharidge, The Coming White Minority, 11.

6. Maharidge, The Coming White Minority, 10.

7. John Isbister, "Is America Too White?" in "What, Then, is the American, This New Man?" Center for Immigration Studies Center Paper 13, August 1998, 25.

8. Isbister, "Is America Too White?" August 1998, 29.

9. Donald Gabard and Terry Cooper problematize such determinism, specifically common understandings of race based on the existence of genetic differences among the races. They note, "No discrete package of gene differences has ever been described between two races, only relative frequencies of one or another trait," and, "It is reported today that there are more genetic variations within the separate races than between them." Donald L. Gabard and Terry L. Cooper, "Race: Constructs and Dilemmas,"Administration & Society, September 1998. (Citing R. Cooper and R. David, "The Biological Concept of Race and Its Application to Public Health and Epidemiology," Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 2 (1986): 97-116 at 101 and D.R. Williams, "The Concept of Race in Health Services Research: 1966 to 1990," Health Services Research 29 (1994): 262-74).

10. Democracy's Next Generation II: A Study of American Youth on Race(Washington, D.C.: People for the American Way, 1992), 57-58.

11. Ibid.

12. New York State United Teachers 1991 Education Opinion Survey: Final Report (Albany, New York: New York State United Teachers, 1991), section II, 5, 8.

13. Ibid.

14. Douglas Turner, "Amid the Black-White Divide, Convergence of Some Attitudes," Buffalo News, 11 June 1997, 6A.

15. Stephen Covey, "What Americans Agree On," USA Weekend, 6 July 1997, 4.

16. Public Agenda, "A Lot to be Thankful For: What Parents Want Children to Learn About America," November 1998. Available:

17. Survey by the National Opinion Research Center-General Social Survey, 1994. Cited in "Thinking About Ethnicity," Public Perspective, February/March 1998, 59.

18. Survey by the National Opinion Research Center-General Social Survey, 1994, 58.

19. Public Agenda, "A Lot to be Thankful For" Available:

20. Time/CNN poll from September 23 to October 2, 1997 by Yankelovich Partners Inc. Cited in Time, 24 November 1997, 90.

21. U.S. Department of Justice, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997), 115. Cited in Jennifer Hochschild and Reuel R. Rogers, "Race Relations in a Diversifying Nation," forthcoming in New Directions: African Americans in a Diversifying Nation, ed. James Jackson (Washington, D.C.: National Policy Association).

22. U.S. Department of Justice, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996, 141.

23. Feib and Davidson, "Shades of Gray," A1.

24. Feib and Davidson, "Shades of Gray," A6.

25. U.S. Department of Justice, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996, 141-45.

26. Washington Post/Kaiser Foundation/Harvard Survey Project, The Four Americas.
More specifically, the following percentages of each group felt "strongly" that Congress should take action on each item: balance the budget--whites 82%, African Americans 79%, Latinos 75%, Asian Americans 75%; limited tax breaks for business--whites 39%, African Americans 41%, Latinos 41%, Asian Americans 30%; cut personal income taxes--whites 52%, African Americans 50%, Latinos 55%, Asian Americans 46%; reform Medicare--whites 53%, African Americans 58%, Latinos 59%, Asian Americans 58%.

27. Public Agenda, "A Lot to be Thankful For" Available:

28. Jerelyn Eddings, "Black & White in America," U.S. News & World Report, 16 October 1995, 32.

29. Survey by CBS News, New York Times, and Public Agenda. Available:

30. Survey by Voter News Service, November 1998. Cited in "The Shape of the American Electorate at Century's End," Public Perspective, December/January 1999, 69.

31. James Davison Hunter and Carl Bowman, The State of Disunion: 1996 Survey of American Political Culture, Volume Two: Summary Tables (Ivy, VA: In Medias Res Educational Foundation, 1996), Table 4.E.

32. Hunter and Bowman, The State of Disunion, Table 4.C.

33. Washington Post/Kaiser Foundation/Harvard Survey Project, The Four Americas, 73-74.

34. Hunter and Bowman, The State of Disunion, Table 94, Table 93.I.

35. Janet Saltzman Chafetz, "Minorities, Gender, Mythologies, and Moderation,"Responsive Community, Winter 1993/94, 41.

36. E. Thomas McLanahan, "Do 'Disparities' Always Prove the Existence of Discrimination?" Kansas City Star, 25 October 1994, B5.

37. John Simons, "Even Amid Boom Times, Some Insecurities Die Hard," Wall Street Journal, 10 December 1998, A10.

38. Alain Corcos, The Myth of Human Races (East Lansing, Mich.: Michigan State University Press, 1984), 10-11.

39. Corcos, The Myth of Human Races, 12.

40. Ibid.

41. Corcos, The Myth of Human Races, 201.

42. Ibid.

43. Audrey Smedley, Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1993), 22.

44. Ibid.

45. Lena H. Sun, "Cultural Differences Set Asian Americans Apart: Where Latinos Have Common Threads, They Have None," Washington Post, 10 October 1995.

46. John Powers, "The Myth of the Model Minority," Boston Globe Magazine, 9 January 1994, 8.

47. Rodolfo O. de la Garza, "Introduction," in Ignored Voices: Public Opinion Polls and the Latino Community, ed. Rodolfo O. de la Garza (Austin, Texas: Center for Mexican American Studies, 1987), 4.

48. Ferdinand M. De Leon and Sally MacDonald, "Name Power--Taking Pride, and Control, in Defining Ourselves," Seattle Times, 28 June 1992, A1.

49. ibid.

50. Rodolfo O. de la Garza, "Researchers Must Heed New Realities When They Study Latinos in the U.S.," Chronicle of Higher Education, 2 June 1993, B1.

51. Peter Skerry, Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority (New York: Free Press, 1993), 34.

52. Mirroring many counties in California, between 1992 and 1998, 43 U.S. counties became majority-minority. Overall, 225 counties in the country comprise non-white majorities. (Nancy Cleeland, "Beyond 2000: Orange County Diversity," Los Angeles Times, 28 September 1998, A1.)

53. Matt Miller, "Asian-Americans, A1.

54. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1995 (115th Edition) (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), 45.

55. Ibid.

56. For an insightful analysis of politics, race, and ethnicity in New York City, see Jim Sleeper, The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1990).

57. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1995, 46.

58. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1995, 44; Linda Kanamine, "Dallas Mayor: First for Texas," USA Today, 8 May 1995, 3A.

59. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1995, 46.

60. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1995, 44.

61. 1992 data from Statistical Compendia Branch, Data User Services Division, Bureau of the Census, 1994 County & City Data Book, 2-3. Minorities in theData Book are categorized as black, Hispanic, Asian, and Eskimo or Aleut.

62. Kevin Sack, "In the Rural White South, Seeds of a Biracial Politics," New York Times, 30 December 1998, A1.

63. Henry Weinstein, "Elections '96: 7 Democrats, 4 in GOP Win Governorships," Los Angeles Times, 6 November 1996, A16.

64. Linda Chavez, "Response to Is America Too White?" in "What, Then, is the American, This New Man?" Center for Immigration Studies Center Paper 13, August 1998, 35.

65. Statistical Assessment Service, "Can Intermarriage Make You Smarter and Richer?" Vital STATS, August 1997. Available:

66. Larry Bivins, "Experts: Increase in Mixed Marriages Gives Mixed Signals that Racism's on Rocks," Detroit News, 6 October 1996, B5.

67. Anne-Marie O'Connor, "Race: Diversity at Work Has Role in Sharp Rise,"Los Angeles Times, 27 April 1998, A1.

68. Michael Lind, "The Beige and the Black," New York Times Magazine, 16 August 1998, 38.

69. Amitai Etzioni, "New Issues: Rethinking Race," The Public Perspective, June/July 1997, 39-40. See Appendix.

70. Roberto Suro, Strangers Among Us: How Latino Immigration is Transforming America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 303-04.

71. Peter I. Rose gives us an important understanding of cultural pluralism as first substantially presented by philosopher Horace Kallen in the early 1900s: "The basic premise was that there is strength in diversity, that being proud of one's past and appreciating where one came from complements rather than compromises membership in an ever more heterogeneous society. . . Kallen saw the orchestra--that is, the society--as consisting of groups of instruments (nationalities) playing their separate parts while together making beautiful music resonant with harmony and good feeling." Peter I. Rose, Tempest-Tost: Race, Immigration, and the Dilemmas of Diversity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 65.

72. Amitai Etzioni, The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 189-216.