Audio of Richard Alba’s October 20 talk entitled “Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America” is now available.
“After Civil Rights: Race, Immigration and Law in the American Workplace” is the title of Director John Skrentny‘s seminar at the Program in Law and Public Affairs, located at Princeton University. Read more about Prof. Skrentny’s talk:
“Can civil rights law provide equal job opportunity to people of all races and ethnicities, as well as prevent exploitation, in 21st century America? In 1964, Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to eliminate widespread racial discrimination, segregation and hierarchy in the workplace. Almost half a century later, and after decades of mass immigration, these are all still widespread and arguably more complex and entrenched than before. In this paper,adapted from a book chapter in progress, I document employers’ racial and ethnic stereotypes that lead employers to prefer Latino and Asian workers while discriminating against Black and White workers. With a special focus on the meat-packing industry, which increasingly resembles that described by Upton Sinclair a century ago in The Jungle, I also show the ways these Latino workers are in turn segregated and exploited. Finally, I explore the failure of discrimination law to provide relief, and probe alternatives to protect workers of all backgrounds. Civil rights law– as currently interpreted in the courts–does surprisingly little to prevent racial and ethnic hierarchy in the nation’s workplaces.”
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.
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.
The 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).
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.
Speaking 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.”
On October 15-16, CCIS Director John Skrentny will present at the conference “Entre discrimination et reconnaissance: Ce que racialiser veut dire” at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris, France (co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University)
“…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…”