Richard Alba – Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, presented his new book Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America at this CCIS research seminar October 20th. The audio of his talk is available below or subscribe to our podcast to automatically receive audio of CCIS research seminars.

 
blurring-the-color-line

The next quarter century will offer an unusual chance to undermine ethno-racial divisions and to narrow the social cleavages that separate Americans into distinct and unequal ethno-racial groups. This little-comprehended opportunity will arise from a massive and predictable demographic process: the exodus from the labor market of the baby boom. The turnover in the labor market will produce what might be called “non-zero-sum” mobility: a situation where minorities can advance socioeconomically without threatening very much the opportunities that whites take for granted for themselves and their children.

Non-zero-sum mobility is a critical element in new theory of ethno-racial change. We can identify the empirical foundations for the theory by looking back to another period of profound social change: the mass assimilation of the so-called white ethnics, Irish Catholics and southern and eastern European Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews, in the decades following World War II. These changes also took place during a period of massive non-zero-sum-mobility, originating then in an extraordinary period of prosperity.

However, for minorities to be able to benefit from the opportunity ahead, the nation will have to address the barriers that stand in their way. It is worthwhile nevertheless to attempt to envision how ethno-racial distinctions might appear if U.S. society becomes much more diverse in its middle and upper strata.


richard-alba-full-headshotThe seeds of Richard Alba’s interest in ethnicity were sown during his childhood in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s and nurtured intellectually at Columbia University, where he received his undergraduate and graduate education, completing his Ph.D. in 1974. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Besides ethnicity, his teaching and research focus on international migration in the U.S. and in Europe, and he has done research in France and in Germany, with the support of Fulbright grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, and Russell Sage Foundation. His books include Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America (1990); Italian Americans: Into the Twilight of Ethnicity (1985); Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (2003), written with Victor Nee; and, most recently, Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America (September, 2009).

He has been elected President of the Eastern Sociological Society (1997-98) and Vice President of the American Sociological Association (2000-01).

Cornelius Speaks at University of Chicago

uchicago-logo

CCIS Director Emeritus Wayne Cornelius delivered the Fourth Annual Pastora San Juan Cafferty Lecture on Race and Ethnicity in American Life, at the University of Chicago on October 1. His lecture was titled “Toward a Smarter and More Just U.S. Immigration Policy: What Mexican Migrants Can Tell Us.”

Listen to the full audio of Cornelius’ speech below or download the full text.

 

Border Crosser Deaths Rising, Despite Reduction In Illegal Immigration (KPBS)

kpbs_logo2_2Speaking on the KPBS program These Days, KPBS reporter cited research from the Mexican Migration Field Research program: “… Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and people cross the border even who know that – Wayne Cornelius from UCSD did a study recently and he was down in the Yucatan talking to migrants who wanted to – who were thinking about crossing and about more than 40% of them knew someone who had died crossing the border and the grand majority of them said we know it’s difficult and we know that it’s hard to get around the Border Patrol but, they said, regardless of that, they’re going to do it.”

Read the full article »

Border-death numbers remain steady (SD Union Tribune)

SanDiegoUnionTribune

“…There are different reasons why border-crossing arrests are down, said  Wayne Cornelius, director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration  Studies at UCSD.

Those who can afford it are also paying as much as $5,000 to be smuggled through border ports of entry, he said, seen as a safer alternative to treks through increasingly remote routes in the desert and mountains.

The depressed U.S. job market is a key factor, and even border security appears to have an economic factor. Tighter security has led to steeper smugglers’ fees, Cornelius said, often $3,000 just to cross on foot…”

Read full article »

Reviews of A Nation of Emigrants

emigrantsCCIS associate director David FitzGerald’s new book A Nation of Emigrants has been reviewed in several prestigious academic journals. Writing in the summer 2009 edition of International Migration Review, Dietrich Thranhardt calls the book a “seminal and systematic analysis of Mexican emigration.” Alexandra Délano writes in the July 2009 edition of the Journal of Politics that “scholars in the fields of migration and Mexican studies will find this a readable and engaging book that raises provocative questions and presents original arguments that enrich the burgeoning literature on migrant-sending states.” Susan Greenhalgh writes in Population and Development Review that “A Nation of Emigrants is an important contribution to the literature on emigrant citizenship in an age of globalization. Many others have explored the responses of governments of receiving countries, yet few have examined, as FitzGerald does, the responses of the governments of origins.” Finally, Ernesto Castañeda writes in Contemporary Sociology, “This book will stimulate further research on the relation between culture, institutions, and migrant- sending and receiving states and is a wel- come addition to the literature on migration and nation formation.”

Full reviews

International Migration Review »

Journal of Politics »

Population and Development Review »

Contemporary Sociology »

Two Arrested in Attempt to Crash Border (NY Times)

new-york-times-logo…The federal agency in charge of patrolling the borders, Customs and Border Protection, has added 11,212 agents in the last three years. In a recent study, Wayne Cornelius, co-director of a center on migration at the University of California, San Diego, found that 28 percent of Mexican immigrants he surveyed in early 2009 had slipped into the United States through a border station, including 52 percent who were hidden inside a vehicle and 39 percent who used fraudulent documents.

“This is now a well-established mode of illegal entry,” Mr. Cornelius said, preferred by women and children and anyone else seeking to minimize the dangers of crossing.

But the study showed that smugglers charge significantly more for passage through a border station, Mr. Cornelius said, up to $5,000 per person compared with $3,000 for a crossing outside a station.

With more than 225 million crossings annually through Southwest border stations, Mr. Cornelius said, “close scrutiny of this massive flow is impossible…”  Read full article »