Stephen Steinberg offers a bold challenge to prevailing thought on race and ethnicity in American society. In a penetrating critique of the famed race relations paradigm, he asks why a paradigm invented four decades before the Civil Rights Revolution still dominates both academic and popular discourses four decades after that revolution.
On race, Steinberg argues that even the language of "race relations" obscures the structural basis of racial hierarchy and inequality. Generations of sociologists have unwittingly practiced a "white sociology" that reflects white interests and viewpoints. What happens, he asks, when we foreground the interests and viewpoints of the victims, rather than the perpetrators, of racial oppression?
On ethnicity, Steinberg turns the tables and shows that the early sociologists who predicted ultimate assimilation have been vindicated by history. The evidence is overwhelming that the new immigrants, including Asians and most Latinos, are following in the footsteps of past immigrants-footsteps leading into the melting pot. But even today, there is the black exception. The end result is a dual melting pot-one for peoples of African descent and the other for everybody else.
Race Relations: A Critique cuts through layers of academic jargon to reveal unsettling truths that call into question the nature and future of American nationality.
About the Author
Table of ContentsPrologue: A Personal Encounter with the Canon 1
The Origins and Ideological Underpinnings of the Race Relations Paradigm 5
Race: The Epistemology of Ignorance 41
Ethnicity: The Epistemology of Wishful Thinking 111
What People are Saying About This
"A compelling critique of the development of the sociology of race. The book makes clear that we still have much to learn, not only about the structural foundations of racism, but also about how careerism can subtly twist our perspectives so that we fail to rise to the intellectual and moral challenges of the sociological project. Steinberg has done us a great service."--(Frances Fox Piven, President, American Sociological Association)
"Stephen Steinberg once again articulates a clear, progressive voice on an important intellectual and political issue. This book joins his other work in making a significant contribution to the unmasking of and struggle against inequality in America."--(Adolph Reed, Jr, University of Pennsylvania)
"In this hard-hitting book, Stephen Steinberg unveils the sociology of ignorance-and shows that we need look no further to find it than mainstream white American sociology's historic evasions on race. A devastating exposé of a century of the discipline's theoretical bad faith, sociological mystification, and conceptual obfuscation of what should have been the central and obvious socio-historical fact of the white oppression of people of color in the United States."--(Charles W. Mills, University of Illinois at Chicago)