Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, and Civil Rights Options for America

color-lines(published by University of Chicago Press)
Edited by John Skrentny
Published 2001, 370 pages, paperback

Purchase Color Lines »

A new ethnic order has emerged in the United States. The growing number of Latinos and Asians has rendered the old black-and-white binary obsolete. And yet, political pundits and commentators on both the left and the right continue to overlook the changing face of discrimination and opportunity in today’s new multiethnic, multiracial America. With Color Lines, John David Skrentny brings us a collection of essays that reexamines the role of affirmative action and civil rights in light of this important shift in American demographics. The book explores issues of public policy, equal opportunity, diversity, multiculturalism, pathways to better work and higher learning, and attempts in countries outside the United States to protect minority civil rights. Combining perspectives from specialists in fields as diverse as sociology, history, political science, and law, Color Lines is a balanced and broad-ranging guide for anyone interested in civil rights policy and the future of ethnic relations in America.


  • Erik Bleich
  • Lawrence D. Bobo
  • Frank Dobbin
  • John Aubrey Douglass
  • Hugh Davis Graham
  • Kyra R. Greene
  • Erin Kelly
  • George R. La Noue
  • Jennifer Lee
  • Michael Lichter
  • Deborah C. Malamud
  • Sunita Parikh
  • John C. Sullivan
  • Thomas J. Sugrue
  • Carol M. Swain
  • Steven M. Teles
  • Roger Waldinger
  • Christine Min Wotipka

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

List of Contributors

Introduction, John David Skrentny

Part I: Affirmative Action in Multiethnic America: Policy History and Analysis

1. Breaking Through: The Troubled Origins of Affirmative Action in the Workplace
Thomas J. Sugrue

2. Affirmative Action for Immigrants? The Unintended Consequences of Reform
Hugh Davis Graham

3. Deconstructing Affirmative Action Categories
George R. La Noue and John C. Sullivan

4. How Affirmative Action Became Diversity Management: Employer Response to Antidiscrimination Law, 1961-1996
Erin Kelly and Frank Dobbin

5. Anatomy of Conflict: The Making and Unmaking of Affirmative Action at the University of California
John Aubrey Douglass

Part II: Afro-Americans and Immigrants in the Workplace

6. Producing Conflict: Immigration and Management of Diversity in the Multiethnic Metropolis
Michael Lichter and Roger Waldinger

7. The Racial and Ethnic Meaning behind Black: Retailers’ Hiring Practices in Inner-City Neighborhoods
Jennifer Lee

Part III: The Views of Multiethnic America

8. Race, Interests, and Beliefs about Affirmative Action: Unanswered Questions and New Directions
Lawrence D. Bobo

9. Understanding Racial Polarization on Affirmative Action: The View from Focus Groups
Carol M. Swain, Kyra R. Greene, and Christine Min Wotipka

Part IV: Civil Rights and Affirmative Action beyond America

10. Positive Action or Affirmative Action? The Persistence of Britain’s Antidiscrimination Regime
Steven M. Teles

11. The French Model: Color-Blind Integration
Erik Bleich

12. Affirmative Action, Caste, and Party Politics in Contemporary India
Sunita Parikh

13. Affirmative Action and Ethnic Niches: A Legal Afterword
Deborah C. Malamud


About the Author

John David Skrentny is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture, and Justice in America, also published by the University of Chicago Press.