One Nation Indivisible: How Ethnic Separatism Threatens America by J. Harvie Wilkinson III, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
One Nation Indivisible: How Ethnic Separatism Threatens America

One Nation Indivisible: How Ethnic Separatism Threatens America

by J. Harvie Wilkinson III
     
 

One Nation Indivisible is a warning about the future of America: If we continue to pursue policies of racial separation, our children and grandchildren may no longer be citizens of one great and united land.Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson warns that we are courting racial and ethnic separation at the very moment we should be seeking unity. Both majorities and

Overview

One Nation Indivisible is a warning about the future of America: If we continue to pursue policies of racial separation, our children and grandchildren may no longer be citizens of one great and united land.Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson warns that we are courting racial and ethnic separation at the very moment we should be seeking unity. Both majorities and minorities are adopting separatist practices, and even our courts endorse separatist principles at the expense of equal treatment under the law. For Wilkinson, these policies are chilling echoes of the rigid division he recalls from growing up in a segregated state. Rather than unite us, even well-intended separatism solidifies racial barriers and guarantees our country a future of ethnic strife.Wilkinson praises the multiculturalism of New America, criticizing those who assail immigration or belittle the contributions of minorities. But he laments the dangers of affirmative action based on racial goals and the pitfalls of education that does not help immigrants acculturate. He uses his own run for Congress to show how voting districts drawn on racial lines marginalize minorities. Rejecting the notion of an Inaccessible Racial Experience, he warns that speech codes based on that idea prevent us from even discussing our problems.One Nation Indivisible challenges us as Americans—do we want to enter the twenty-first century united or separate? “If we do not change our course,” Wilkinson warns, “our hopes for national unity will be overtaken by the reality of racial division.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Given that multiculturalism and national unity are well-debated topics, any new book should take the discussion further. Unfortunately, this effort by federal Judge Wilkinson (From Brown to Bakke) does so only intermittently. On immigration, the author places himself in the sensible center-between pessimists, who embrace nostalgia, and optimists, who ignore the value of national unity. Multiculturalism, he says, makes the American affirmative-action model-developed for a biracial society-even more difficult. Recalling the "integrative ideal" emanating from the Brown desegregation case, he suggests that the minority separatism of today stems in part from more stubborn white separatism. He goes on to criticize racial gerrymandering, affirmative action, bilingual education and campus speech codes-a familiar though underdeveloped litany. Citing separatism in Quebec as an object lesson, Wilkinson urges "[n]ationalism [as] an antidote to racialism"; yet he ignores the soak-the-rich policy prescriptions of Michael Lind (The Next American Nation), who makes a much deeper nationalist argument. Wilkinson's book would be more complete if it addressed creative thinkers such as Lani Guinier, who suggest ways to overcome racial redistricting, and those such as David Hollinger, who propose that, in a multicultural America, people must embrace multiple identities.
Kirkus Reviews
A contradictory book of social and legal commentary that attempts to embrace so-called New America's increasingly multiracial character and deal with the author's lingering doubts about Americans' real capacity to live with our ethnic differences.

A son of Richmond, Va.'s WASP elite, a former deputy attorney general for civil rights under President Reagan, and a federal judge since 1984, Wilkinson has seen the handwriting on the wall, recognizing that America's customary bipolar, black-and-white concept of race is not appropriate for a multiracial society where Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing population and Hispanic- Americans will soon surpass African-Americans as the largest minority. But Wilkinson fears that increased diversity has simply multiplied the racial fault lines in this country, and he dreads what he sees as the continuing evolution of a contentious society where race becomes a "premier civic credential." He notes with real alarm the fading of the integrative ideal that once lived in the hearts of most black Americans. He also says that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has become "a runaway train of racial separation" and argues against the entrenchment of what he views as a system of racial shares and entitlements in affirmative-action policy. In the most illuminating sections of the book, however, Wilkinson describes how his father's generation of enlightened men among Richmond's great white city fathers inadequately faced the leadership challenge of stemming the resistance that welled up in response to Brown v. Board of Education and the prospect of school integration.

Wilkinson clearly doesn't want his own generation of establishment leaders to be found wanting in the same ways, but he still finds it difficult not to underplay the reality of white domination and its restrictions. Consequently, he circles around and then disappointingly evades the critical question: If ethnic separatism threatens America, whose separatism is it anyway, and what do we do about it?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780201180725
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/07/1997
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.05(d)
Lexile:
1270L (what's this?)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >