The United States boasts scores of organizations that offer crucial representation for groups that are marginalized in national politics, from women to racial minorities to the poor. Here, in the first systematic study of these organizations, Dara Z. Strolovitch explores the challenges and opportunities they face in the new millennium, as waning legal discrimination coincides with increasing political and economic inequalities within the populations they represent.
Drawing on rich new data from a survey of 286 organizations and interviews with forty officials, Strolovitch finds that groups too often prioritize the interests of their most advantaged members: male rather than female racial minorities, for example, or affluent rather than poor women. But Strolovitch also finds that many organizations try to remedy this inequity, and she concludes by distilling their best practices into a set of principles that she calls affirmative advocacy—a form of representation that aims to overcome the entrenched but often subtle biases against people at the intersection of more than one marginalized group. Intelligently combining political theory with sophisticated empirical methods, Affirmative Advocacy will be required reading for students and scholars of American politics.
“This book is both powerful and important. Powerful for the testimony it provides from Americans of many different (and even mixed races) about their experiences. And important because there is a racial revolution underway that will upend race as we know it during the twenty-first century.”
—John Kenneth White, Catholic University of America
America Beyond Black and White is a call for a new way of imagining race in America. For the first time in U.S. history, the black-white dichotomy that has historically defined race and ethnicity is being challenged, not by a small minority, but by the fastest-growing and arguably most vocal segment of the increasingly diverse American population—Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Arabs, and many more—who are breaking down and recreating the very definitions of race.
Drawing on interviews with hundreds of Americans who don’t fit conventional black/white categories, the author invites us to empathize with these “doubles” and to understand why they may represent our best chance to throw off the strictures of the black/white dichotomy.
The revolution is already underway, as newcomers and mixed-race “fusions” refuse to engage in the prevailing Anglo- Protestant culture. Americans face two choices: understand why these individuals think as they do, or face a future that continues to define us by what divides us rather than by what unites us.
Take an economically and racially diverse urban school district emerging from a long history of segregation. Add an energetic, capable, bridge-building superintendent with ambitious district-wide goals to improve graduation rates, school attendance, and academic performance. Consider that he was well funded and strongly supported by city leaders, teachers, and parents, and ask how much changed in a decade of his tenure—and what remained unchanged?Larry Cuban takes this richly detailed history of the Austin, Texas, school district, under Superintendent Pat Forgione, to ask the question that few politicians and school reformers want to touch. Given effective use of widely welcomed reforms, can school policies and practices put all children at the same academic level? Are class and ethnic differences in academic performance within the power of schools to change?Cuban argues that the overall district has shown much improvement—better test scores, more high school graduates, and more qualified teachers. But the improvements are unevenly distributed. The elementary schools improved, as did the high schools located in affluent, well-educated, largely white neighborhoods. But the least improvement came where it was needed most: the predominantly poor, black, and Latino high schools. Before Forgione arrived, over 10 percent of district schools were failing, and after he left office, roughly the same percentage continued to fail. Austin’s signal successes amid failure hold answers to tough questions facing urban district leaders across the nation.
"The most belated of nations," Theodore Roosevelt called his country during the workmen's compensation fight in 1907. Earlier reformers, progressives of his day, and later New Dealers lamented the nation's resistance to models abroad for correctives to the backwardness of American social politics. Atlantic Crossings is the first major account of the vibrant international network that they constructed--so often obscured by notions of American exceptionalism--and of its profound impact on the United States from the 1870s through 1945.On a narrative canvas that sweeps across Europe and the United States, Daniel Rodgers retells the story of the classic era of efforts to repair the damages of unbridled capitalism. He reveals the forgotten international roots of such innovations as city planning, rural cooperatives, modernist architecture for public housing, and social insurance, among other reforms. From small beginnings to reconstructions of the new great cities and rural life, and to the wide-ranging mechanics of social security for working people, Rodgers finds the interconnections, adaptations, exchanges, and even rivalries in the Atlantic region's social planning. He uncovers the immense diffusion of talent, ideas, and action that were breathtaking in their range and impact.The scope of Atlantic Crossings is vast and peopled with the reformers, university men and women, new experts, bureaucrats, politicians, and gifted amateurs. This long durée of contemporary social policy encompassed fierce debate, new conceptions of the role of the state, an acceptance of the importance of expertise in making government policy, and a recognition of a shared destiny in a newly created world.
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