Beyond Black and White
Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest
Southern History - Multicultural Studies
6.125 x 9.25, 176 pp.
3 b&w photos., 2 line drawings., 6 tables.
Pub Date: 11/25/2003
Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures, published for the University of Texas at Arlington by Texas A&M University Press
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Beyond Black and White

Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest

Edited by Stephanie Cole and Alison M. Parker

Although Americans have traditionally treated race relations as a matter of black and white, race in this country is much more complex. Beyond Black and White: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest brings new perspectives to the oversimplification of racial categories and new insight into the complexity of social relationships in these two important regions. Although the topics covered range from law in the South in the nineteenth century to political activism by Mexican Americans in the twentieth century, they begin with a common viewpoint: If we are to understand the complexity of race in the United States, we must go beyond thinking in black and white.

A product of the Walter Prescott Webb Lectures held at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2000, this volume provides links between ideas and events within Southern history to that of the Southwest. In their various chapters, the seven contributors illustrate that elites' common (and inaccurate) use of dichotomous categories to describe social relationships—not only black and white, but also male and female, slave and free, dependent and independent—have shored up white power in both regions. Together they illustrate multilevel social diversity, and demonstrate that acceptance then and now of simple binaries has impeded efforts by groups outside those categories to claim recognition, rights, and privileges on their own terms.

All those interested in race and public policy as well as social activism concerning with racial, ethnic, and gender issues will find in these thought-provoking analyses a doorway to deeper understanding.

Stephanie Cole, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, is the author of the forthcoming book, Servants and Slaves: Domestic Service in the North/South Antebellum Border Cities.Alison Parker, associate professor of history at SUNY-Brockport, is the author of Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and ProCensorship Activism, 1873–1933.

What Readers Are Saying:

“The complex, changing and oppressive ‘multiracisms’—to use Ronit Lentin's term—of the U.S. South and Southwest are brilliantly captured in this powerful collection of linked essays. So too are the ways in which differing but overlapping experiences of race, citizenship and terror created both common ground and grounds for division among racialized groups.”--David Roediger, University of Illinois, and author, Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past

Beyond Black and White is an impressive and inspiring collection of essays. Each selection is interesting in its own right and even more informative when read as part of the whole. Together, the essays remind students and historians that stretching geographical and tropical specialties can provide a fuller and sometimes radically different picture of the past (and the present)... adding new diversity and depth to the history of racial construction and the struggle for civil rights.” --The North Carolina Historical Review

“. . . is an erudite work. It takes an exciting avenue of United States history and wonderfully communicates it to a broader scholarly audience.” --The Journal of American History

“. . . a most timely contribution to a subject that is sure to attract interest when the country is experiencing increased racial diversity.” --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“. . . the authors expose the inadequacy of a language centered on a black-white dichotomy to describe social interactions in the American South.” --The Journal of Southern History

“This book succeeds admirably in engaging the racial diversity of the Southwest, exposing the socially constructed limitations and dilemmas of America’s insistent racial dichotomy, and enhancing the scholarship on race and class negotiation. . . . this fine collection raises the challenge for further research into the perplexing history of race in America.” --American Historical Review

“...draws us into new lines of thinking about that gauzy perception, race, that has shaped us as much as any other historical force.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“…a fascinating book that makes an important contribution to this dialogue…The essays in this collection skillfully demonstrate how lived realities confounded efforts to place people into neatly defined categories even in places where Jim Crow ruled over social relations.” --Journal of American Ethnic History


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