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By Dr. Jason J. McDonald

The U.S., it's always stated, is likely one of the so much ethnically different nations on the planet. yet what, accurately, will we suggest after we converse of "ethnic" teams or "ethnicity"? what's the contrast, for instance, among "race" and "ethnicity"? How do numerous teams meld with the remainder of American society? should still we expect when it comes to assimilation, integration, pluralism, or another dating among ethnic teams and the mainstream? it's those and plenty of different questions that Jason J. McDonald tackles during this well timed and insightful ebook. Chapters discover a variety of subject matters, together with how diverse ethnic teams arrived within the United States--whether via violence and coercion or keen immigration; the bizarre id of local americans as "ethnic," although they're indigenous to the land; even if the yank public's attitudes towards and therapy of distinction has been in line with the nation's professed egalitarian beliefs; and the way elements corresponding to language, faith, type, gender, and intermarriage play in both strengthening or weakening ethnic identification and workforce team spirit. an interesting and demanding examine a time period that is still stubbornly ambiguous in either scholarly dialogue and the vernacular, this booklet makes an enormous contribution to the continuing debates approximately "difference" in American society.

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Extra info for American Ethnic History: Themes and Perspectives

Example text

Popular conceptions of this truism were famously encapsulated in John F. Kennedy’s description of the United States as ‘‘a nation of immigrants’’. However, as Donna Gabaccia (2002, p. 1) has pointed out, while Kennedy’s view of the origins of American ethnic diversity included the full range of European nationalities represented among the ranks of immigrants arriving during the period 1820–1920, it excluded many more groups. Moreover, the emphasis on voluntary immigration – as common in standard history texts as it has been in popular thought – creates a very distorted picture of the making of American ethnic diversity, because its hegemonic origins, such as conquest and forced migration, are virtually glossed over.

Indeed, it is misleading to equate the United States’ treatment of Native Americans with, say, the Nazi’s deliberate and organized attempt to exterminate Europe’s Jewish and Romany populations. Undeniably, United States policy – both in intent and outcome – towards certain tribes at certain times did amount to genocide, but this was never the federal government’s plan for all Native Americans at any one time nor for any particular tribal group at all times. Nonetheless, it is now generally agreed that Native-American population decline was a product, either in part or in whole, of white policies, so a great deal of attention has been paid to uncovering and explaining the motivations behind those policies.

Scholars examining this topic have sought to address a the making of american ethnic diversity 39 multitude of questions. Why do people migrate – because they want to or because they have to? What roles are played by, on the one hand, impersonal forces, and on the other, human agency? Is migration an individualistic or collectivist phenomenon? Is the migrant’s relocation temporary or permanent? Do the experiences of migrants conform to a uniform pattern or are they too multifarious to make generalizations about?

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