Beyond Black and White

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

978-1-58544-319-2 Paperback
6.125 x 9.25. 176 pp. 3 b&w photos., 2 line drawings., 6 tables.
Pub Date: 11/25/2003

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.

Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures, published for the University of Texas at Arlington by Texas A&M University Press

Published by Texas A&M University Press