In the Shadow of Race: Jews, Latinos, and Immigrant Politics in the United States

In the Shadow of Race: Jews, Latinos, and Immigrant Politics in the United States

by Victoria Hattam
     
 

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Race in the United States has long been associated with heredity and inequality while ethnicity has been linked to language and culture. In the Shadow of Race recovers the history of this entrenched distinction and the divisive politics it engenders. 

Victoria Hattam locates the origins of ethnicity in the New York Zionist movement of the early 1900s.

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Overview

Race in the United States has long been associated with heredity and inequality while ethnicity has been linked to language and culture. In the Shadow of Race recovers the history of this entrenched distinction and the divisive politics it engenders. 

Victoria Hattam locates the origins of ethnicity in the New York Zionist movement of the early 1900s.  In a major revision of widely held assumptions, she argues that Jewish activists identified as ethnics not as a means of assimilating and becoming white, but rather as a way of defending immigrant difference as distinct from race—rooted in culture rather than body and blood. Eventually, Hattam shows, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Census Bureau institutionalized this distinction by classifying Latinos as an ethnic group and not a race. But immigration and the resulting population shifts of the last half century have created a political opening for reimagining the relationship between immigration and race.  How to do so is the question at hand.

In the Shadow of Race concludes by examining the recent New York and Los Angeles elections and the 2006 immigrant rallies across the country to assess the possibilities of forging a more robust alliance between immigrants and African Americans.  Such an alliance is needed, Hattam argues, to more effectively redress the persistent inequalities in American life.

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Editorial Reviews

David R. Roediger
“This is a deeply researched, highly original, and passionately committed study of an important set of topics. It impressively brings together history and social science (and indeed hard science) to offer a dramatically revisionist account of the ways in which the concepts of race and ethnicity became distinct in U.S. intellectual and political life.”—David R. Roediger, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mae M. Ngai
In the Shadow of Race asks us to think about the relationship between ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’ in a wholly new way. In a sweeping analysis that covers historical and contemporary Jewish and Latino politics, census categories, and recent New York and Los Angeles mayoral elections, Victoria Hattam reveals how the assignation of certain groups as ethnicities has served to reinforce the racial inequality of other groups. This is top-rate scholarship and, moreover, a brave statement about the stakes of racial politics in our time.”
Desmond King
“Elegantly structured and persuasively argued, In the Shadow of Race does a brilliant job of showing how the constitutive relationship between race and ethnicity formed over time rather than at a single moment. Victoria Hattam’s analysis of this dynamic is subtle and engaging, the product of a finely researched and well-thought-out project.”
Michael Hanchard
“A suggestive, nuanced account of race and ethnicity’s conceptual double bind, complicating our understanding of group naming, identification, and politics.”
Anne Norton
“Contemporary struggles are brilliantly illuminated by Hattam’s clear-sighted and courageous study. Her readings of Sharpton and Obama, Latino political alliances, the struggle over immigration, and the discourses of racial accusation show what is at stake in the contemporary politics of race and ethnicity.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226319223
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
09/15/2007
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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