The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.
Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.
Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.
Below are some recently-released books that highlight the challenges and the rewards associated with racial/ethnic diversity in U.S. society. Almost all types of heterogeneity is likely to produce strain and tension, but if dealt with in certain ways, can also result in many positive changes and greater cohesion as well. These books provide some glimpses into how these dynamics are taking place as we speak. A book’s inclusion is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean a full endorsement of its contents.
The sweeping forces of globalization present new challenges for higher education but also represent a clear mandate for change. Because of the unfinished business of remedying the underrepresentation of minorities and women in higher education, this book is designed to assist campus leaders and educators in the difficult process of cultural transformation in support of diversity and inclusion. The book explores the model of reciprocal empowerment as a moral framework linking the institution’s values, culture, and workplace practices to the outside world through the prism of diversity.
Bridging the Diversity Divide is a practical guide that provides concrete approaches to the creation of a genuinely inclusive campus. Its focus is on research-based strategies that will enable institutions of higher education to assess current practices, create successful action plans, and move beyond structural representation to true reciprocal empowerment. The measurement strategies, organizational learning tools, and best practices included here will assist institutions of higher education in building a flexible repertoire of institutional approaches to reciprocal empowerment and inclusion.
Only by systemic organizational change will universities bridge the diversity divide and create a campus culture that values and celebrates the contributions of all its members. This is a must-read for educators seeking to translate diversity principles into practice.
Postville is an obscure meatpacking town in the northeast corner of Iowa. Here, in the most unlikely of places, unparalleled diversity drew international media. Now people declare the town’s experiment in multiculturalism dead. It was not native Iowans, or the newly-arrived Orthodox Jews, or the immigrant workers who made Postville fail.
Postville was stopped in its tracks by a massive raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 12th 2008. 20% of the population was arrested, forcing the closure of the town’s kosher meatpacking plant. The raid exposed the disastrous enforcement of immigration policy, the exploitation of Postville by activists, and disturbing questions about the packing house’s operators.
This innovative work provides a new model for the analysis of ethnic and racial settlement patterns in the United States and Canada. Ethnoburbs — suburban ethnic clusters of residential areas and business districts in large metropolitan areas — are multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual, and often multinational communities in which one ethnic minority group has a significant concentration but does not necessarily constitute a majority. Wei Li documents the processes that have evolved with the spatial transformation of the Chinese American community of Los Angeles and that have converted the San Gabriel Valley into ethnoburbs in the latter half of the twentieth century, and she examines the opportunities and challenges that occurred as a result of these changes.
Traditional ethnic and immigrant settlements customarily take the form of either ghettos or enclaves. Thus the majority of scholarly publications and mass media covering the San Gabriel Valley has described it as a Chinatown located in Los Angeles’ suburbs. Li offers a completely different approach to understanding and analyzing this fascinating place. By conducting interviews with residents, a comparative spatial examination of census data and other statistical sources, and fieldwork—coupled with her own holistic view of the area—Li gives readers an effective and fine-tuned socio-spatial analysis of the evolution of a new type of racially defined place. The San Gabriel Valley tells a unique story, but its evolution also speaks to those experiencing a similar type of ethnic and racial conurbation. In sum, Li sheds light on processes that are shaping other present (and future) ethnically and racially diverse communities.
Understanding of cultural diversity is essential to a healthy multicultural society. Fundamental to this book’s approach is the belief that a comparative, cross-cultural view of human differences and similarities enhances understanding of diversity and multiculturalism within contemporary North America.
On Being Different provides an up-to-date, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary account of diversity and multiculturalism in the United States and Canada. Conrad Kottak and Kathryn Kozaitis clarify essential issues, themes, and topics in the study of diversity, including ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. The book also presents an original theory of multiculturalism, showing how human agency and culture work to organize and change society. The authors use rich and varied ethnographic examples, from North America and abroad, to help students apply the material to their own lives, and thus gain a better understanding of diversity and multiculturalism.
More than forty years have passed since Congress, in response to the Civil Rights Movement, enacted sweeping antidiscrimination laws in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. As a signal achievement of that legacy, in 2008, Americans elected their first African American president. Some would argue that we have finally arrived at a postracial America, but The Imperative of Integration indicates otherwise.
Elizabeth Anderson demonstrates that, despite progress toward racial equality, African Americans remain disadvantaged on virtually all measures of well-being. Segregation remains a key cause of these problems, and Anderson skillfully shows why racial integration is needed to address these issues. Weaving together extensive social science findings–in economics, sociology, and psychology–with political theory, this book provides a compelling argument for reviving the ideal of racial integration to overcome injustice and inequality, and to build a better democracy.
Considering the effects of segregation and integration across multiple social arenas, Anderson exposes the deficiencies of racial views on both the right and the left. She reveals the limitations of conservative explanations for black disadvantage in terms of cultural pathology within the black community and explains why color blindness is morally misguided. Multicultural celebrations of group differences are also not enough to solve our racial problems. Anderson provides a distinctive rationale for affirmative action as a tool for promoting integration, and explores how integration can be practiced beyond affirmative action.
Offering an expansive model for practicing political philosophy in close collaboration with the social sciences, this book is a trenchant examination of how racial integration can lead to a more robust and responsive democracy.
Between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, the attitudes of white Californians toward their Asian American neighbors evolved from outright hostility to relative acceptance. Charlotte Brooks examines this transformation through the lens of California’s urban housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian Americans, which initially stranded them in segregated areas, eventually facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that rejected other minorities.
Against the backdrop of cold war efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who saw little difference between Asians and Asian Americans increasingly advocated the latter group’s access to middle-class life and the residential areas that went with it. But as they transformed Asian Americans into a “model minority,” whites purposefully ignored the long backstory of Chinese and Japanese Americans’ early and largely failed attempts to participate in public and private housing programs.
As Brooks tells this multifaceted story, she draws on a broad range of sources in multiple languages, giving voice to an array of community leaders, journalists, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.
How do you tell the difference between a “good kid” and a “potential thug”? In Dangerous or Endangered?, Jennifer Tilton considers the ways in which children are increasingly viewed as dangerous and yet, simultaneously, as endangered and in need of protection by the state.
Tilton draws on three years of ethnographic research in Oakland, California, one of the nation’s most racially diverse cities, to examine how debates over the nature and needs of young people have fundamentally reshaped politics, transforming ideas of citizenship and the state in contemporary America. As parents and neighborhood activists have worked to save and discipline young people, they have often inadvertently reinforced privatized models of childhood and urban space, clearing the streets of children, who are encouraged to stay at home or in supervised after-school programs. Youth activists protest these attempts, demanding a right to the city and expanded rights of citizenship.
Dangerous or Endangered? pays careful attention to the intricate connections between fears of other people’s kids and fears for our own kids in order to explore the complex racial, class, and gender divides in contemporary American cities.
“Undocumented Immigrants” is on Time’s shortlist for Person of the Year 2012. Many of the editors’ picks in the past few years have been abstract, collective entities–last year was the year of the Protester, and 2006 was the year of You. Why should undocumented immigrants be the Person of the Year 2012? Time writes:
An invisible population stepped forward on June 15, 2012, to stake its claim to the American Dream. On that day, President Obama declared that certain undocumented immigrants — a group simply labeled “illegal” by many — would not be subjected to deportation, under broad-ranging conditions. Suddenly the logjam of immigration reform shifted, as more than 1 million undocumented young people who had been in the country for the past five years found themselves with new opportunities. What is more, the sympathies of other groups of people who have undocumented relatives — and thus are mindful of their plight — may have clearly shifted to a President on a campaign for re-election, as evidenced by the preponderance of Hispanic and Asian-American voters casting their ballots for Obama.
I’m glad that Time made a shout-out to Asian Americans in this blurb, and featured undocumented Filipino American journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas so prominently in their June 25 issue. While the mainstream media often portray unauthorized immigration as a Latino or Mexican issue, not all undocumented migrants are from Mexico or Latin America. According to Department of Homeland Security estimates for January 2011, 10% of undocumented immigrants in the US were born in five major Asian sending countries: China, the Philippines, India, Korea, and Vietnam. That adds up to just shy of 1.2 million people.
That shocking figure does not include people coming from other Asian countries, and some people of Asian descent born in Latin America. Many Latin American countries have long-settled populations of Asian people. There are also many contemporary migrants who use Latin America as a stepping-stone to the US. The high-profile case of San Francisco student Steve Li brought this issue into the limelight. Li’s family was scheduled to be deported, but to different places; US immigration authorities were prepared to send him to his birthplace of Peru while the rest of his family were deported to China.
The Asian American population (monoracial and mixed-race) grew from 11.9 million in 2000 to 17.3 million in 2010. This represents an increase of 45.6% since 2000. This proportional increase from 2000 is the highest of all the major racial/ethnic groups (in comparison, the Latino/Hispanic population grew 43% from 2000 to 2010.
Increases Within Each Ethnic Group
Among the six largest Asian ethnic groups (monoracial and mixed-race), who collective make up over 87% of the total Asian American population, Indians experienced the largest increase — 67.6% — since 2000. All Asian ethnic groups (monoracial and mixed-race) that had a population of at least 1,000 in 2000, Nepalese experienced large increases in their population — from 9,399 to 59,490 in 2010, an increase of 533%. Overall, the largest Asian ethnic group is the Chinese at 3.8 million (monoracial and mixed-race).
Huge Increase in Mixed-Race Asian American Population
Mixed-race Asian Americans (those who self-identified as having some Asian ancestry) increased from 1.6 million in 2000 to 2.6 million in 2010, an increase of 60%. Of all mixed-race Asian Americans, 61% self-identified as half White and half Asian.
In terms of total numbers, the state with the largest Asian American population, not surprisingly, is California — 5.6 million Asian Americans lived in the Golden State in 2010 and they represented 14.9% of California’s total population. But the state with the highest proportion of its residents being Asian American is Hawai’i — 57.4% of the Aloha State’s population is Asian American. The state that experienced the biggest increase in its Asian American population from 2000 to 2010 is Nevada — from 112,246 to 242,916, an increase of 114%.
The first map below shows the proportion of Asian Americans by county in 2010. The second map shows the growth of Asian American residents by county in 2010.
Again, you can read more findings from the 2010 Census about the Asian American population in the Census Bureau’s recently-released summary report, The Asian Population: 2010.
The following is a list of recent academic journal articles and doctoral dissertations from scholars in the social sciences and humanities that focus on race/ethnicity and/or immigration, with a particular emphasis on Asian Americans. The academic journal articles are generally available in the libraries of most colleges and universities and/or through online research databases. As always, works included in this list are for informational purposes only and do not imply an endorsement of their contents.
The latest issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies focuses on issues and dynamics of racial/ethnic diversity and multiculturalism in East Asian countries. As I’m sure you know, countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan tend to be rather racially/ethnically/culturally homogeneous. At the same, as a reflection of the ongoing evolution of globalization around the world, these societies have also become more multicultural in recent decades. In recognition of this, these articles looks at the political, economic, and cultural consequences of such societal changes.
Salazar Parreñas, Rhacel and Joon K. Kim. 2011. “Multicultural East Asia: An Introduction.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1555-1561.
Abstract: This introduction to the special issue of JEMS on multicultural East Asia underscores the nexus between national identity and multiculturalism in Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Demographic and structural changes are assumed to serve as levers of change toward multiculturalism. However, the articles in this issue demonstrate the cultural and social challenges engendered by multiculturalism, and the salience of race, gender, ethnicity and class in the structuring of immigration policies and the social integration of international migrants.
Kim, Hyuk-Rae and Ingyu Oh. 2011. “Migration and Multicultural Contention in East Asia.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1563-1581.
Abstract: Japan, Korea and Taiwan have experienced rapid and dramatic demographic changes during the last three decades. In all three countries, changes of fertility decline, aging and sex imbalances preceded massive increases in international marriages and labor migration. In this article, we analyze how these demographic and social transformations affect policies of migration and integration in this region. Demographics are changing with the integration of foreign brides and professional migrants and with declining fertility rates. Despite this, the magnitude and speed of change within the policy provisions for migration and integration are still very limited and slow—Japan, Korea and Taiwan, for instance, all maintain ‘assimilationist’ or ‘passive multicultural’ migration and integration policies.
Kim, Joon. 2011. “The Politics of Culture in Multicultural Korea.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1583-1604.
Abstract: The South Korean government has demonstrated a strong commitment towards the social integration of international brides and the children of mixed ethnic heritage by establishing 100 ‘multicultural family support centres’ throughout the country. Given its record of opposing the long-term settlement of foreigners in Korea, this recent government announcement signals a very significant change in its policies concerning international migrants. Consequently, the proliferation of migrant support programs bearing the title ‘multiculturalism’ unwittingly suggests that Korean society is receptive toward the internationalization of families.
In this article I show that the establishment of these support centers represents a governmental response to the accumulated societal pressure from below that sought to improve the precarious social conditions of international migrants and to embrace multiculturalism as an inevitable, but positive, social force. Despite their impressive scope and resource allocation, the contents and approaches of the newly emerging multicultural programs reproduce, rather than minimize, the cultural hierarchy between Koreans and non-Koreans. I utilize the concepts of ‘cultural paternalism’ and ‘cultural fetishism’ in order to capture the manner in which the dominant members of Korean society define the terms of and approaches to dealing with cultural diversity, reduce the complex issues of social equality to cultural differences, and treat culture as a fetish by uniformly emphasizing the expressive dimensions of culture.
Ishiwata, Eric. 2011. “‘Probably Impossible’: Multiculturalism and Pluralisation in Present-Day Japan.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1605-1626.
Abstract: This article offers a critical engagement with multiculturalism and pluralisation in Japan. While recent efforts to introduce multicultural policies such as ‘domestic internationalisation’ policies and the textbook reform movement are encouraging, I suggest that they are limited as they fail to address notions of exclusivity—those founded on the ideology of nihonjinron—that shape Japanese identity. Moreover, mere recognition of minority populations works to entrench rather than undermine ethno-cultural hierarchies. That is, if official engagements with the ethno-cultural ‘Other’ simply reinscribe notions of exclusivity, exceptionality and even superiority, the hierarchalised distinctions drawn between inside/outside and ‘Japanese’/foreigner will continue to persist and minority populations will be relegated permanently to a second-class citizenry.
Therefore, this contribution turns to the recently opened Kyushu National Museum as a means of addressing multiculturalism and pluralisation in Japan. Themed ‘Ocean Ways, Asian Paths’, the Kyushu National Museum is actually a transnational museum as it focuses not on artefacts specific to Japanese identity, but instead on the variegated ways in which Japan is inextricably connected with and indebted to its Asian neighbours. Thus, by exhibiting the miscegenated character of Japan’s national origins, the Kyushu National Museum stands as a concrete example whereby notions of exclusivity are refashioned into a more accommodating, and perhaps ethical, engagement with alterity.
Cheng, Sealing. 2011. “Sexual Protection, Citizenship and Nationhood: Prostituted Women and Migrant Wives in South Korea.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1627-1648.
Abstract: This article examines the making of two distinct groups of women—‘prostituted women’ and migrant wives—into citizen-subjects in South Korea at the turn of the twenty-first century. Though the lives of these women barely intersect, they become visible in the public sphere as victims of sexual violence and therefore in urgent need of state protection. Defined as such, prostitutes and migrant wives come under the gaze of the state and civil society through anti-prostitution policy and multiculturalism policy respectively.
I suggest that, through the language of protection, the South Korean state and civil society seek to redefine moral order and national borders through the regulation of a woman’s body and sexuality. For prostituted women, leaving prostitution restores them to the embrace of the nation as good Korean daughters. For immigrant wives, reproduction is their gendered path to citizenship as good Korean mothers. Through an analysis of the gender ideals reproduced in these policies, and their repercussions on the lives of women, I tease out the gendering of citizenship and nationhood and its tensions with the universalist ideals of gender equality and human rights in the modernising project in South Korea.
Kim, Denis. 2011. “Catalysers in the Promotion of Migrants’ Rights: Church-Based NGOs in South Korea.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1649-1667.
Abstract: The scholarship on Korean migration indicates that pro-immigrant NGOs are significant social actors who have influenced the formation and transformation of Korean immigration policy. Nevertheless, it has neglected the conspicuous impact of both church-based NGOs and the leadership of activist-clergy upon the promotion of immigrant rights and status. This article explores the origins of advocacy, its contribution and the unintended consequences. It argues that both the transnational characteristics of the church and the historical experience of church-based activism for democratisation have stimulated activist-clergy into spearheading the immigrant advocacy effort. Korea offers an exemplary case in which transnational religion has played a profound role in enhancing the social and political inclusion of immigrants.
Lan, Pei-Chia. 2011. “White Privilege, Language Capital and Cultural Ghettoisation: Western High-Skilled Migrants in Taiwan.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37:10:1669-1693.
Abstract: Drawing on the case of Taiwan, this article looks at high-skilled migration from the West to Asia. I explore how Western high-skilled migrants exert agency to negotiate their positions as non-citizens, privileged others and professional workers. I have coined the term ‘flexible cultural capital conversion’ to describe how English-speaking Westerners convert their native-language skills, as a form of global linguistic capital, into economic, social and symbolic capitals.
Their privileged positions are nevertheless mediated and constrained by their class, nationality, race/ethnicity and gender. In the global context, whiteness is marked as a visible identity and the ‘superior other’. Such cultural essentialism functions as a double-edged sword that places white foreigners in privileged yet segregated job niches. Their flexibility in capital conversion and transnational mobility is territory-bound. Many experience the predicament of ‘cultural ghettoisation’ in the global South, and they often face grim job prospects on returning home to the North.
The following new books highlight how demographic, political, economic, and cultural changes taking place in U.S. society are transforming racial/ethnic dynamics as well. In the process, the traditional relationship of being White and being American — and the larger dynamics of Whiteness — are also evolving. As always, a book’s inclusion is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean a full endorsement of its contents.
The Myth of Post-Racial America provides a history of race and racism in the United States. These concepts became integral parts of American society through social, psychological, and political decisions, which are documented so readers can learn about the origin of myths and stereotypes that have created schisms in our society from its founding to the present day. This information is essential reading for students and teachers so they can become more effective in their work and value cultural differences, modes of expression, and learning styles.
Discrimination and racism has existed in America since the very early days of colonization. In the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers declared “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” and yet, it would be another 189 years before Americans would be equal by law. It has been suggested that with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, America had finally overcame its ugly past of racism and discrimination. As we entered into the new millennium, the author wondered if America had really set aside its biases and discriminatory practices.
The author interviewed eight people as he developed the foundations for this book. One of the people he was honored to interview was Brian Swann, the brother of famous footballer Lynn Swann. Brian shared his story of a racially motivated encounter that he and his brother’s had experienced in the 1970′s in San Francisco, California, at the hands of the San Francisco Police Department. Each of the eight people interviewed for this book brought with them a different experience and viewpoint as it relates to discrimination and racism in America, and more specifically, white male privilege in America. The author brought these eight individual viewpoints together, and told their story as they relate to American history, from the early days of colonization through the present day.
This interdisciplinary textbook challenges students to see race as everyone’s issue. Drawing on sociology, psychology, history, and economics, Seeing White introduces students to the concepts of white privilege and social power. Seeing White is designed to help break down some of the resistance students feel in discussing race. Each chapter opens with compelling concrete examples to help students approach issues from a range of perspectives.
The early chapters build a solid understanding of privilege and power, leading to a critical exploration of discrimination. Key theoretical perspectives include cultural materialism, critical race theory, and the social construction of race. Each chapter includes discussion questions to help students evaluate institutions and policies that perpetuate or counter forces of privilege and discrimination.
The second edition of Melanie Bush’s acclaimed Everyday Forms of Whiteness looks at the often-unseen ways racism impacts our lives. The author has interviewed and surveyed hundreds of college students and reveals that even though we talk as though we live in a ‘post-racial’ world after the election of Barack Obama, racism is still very much a factor in everyday life. The second edition incorporates new data and interviews to show how the everyday thinking of ordinary people contributes to the perpetuation of systemic racialized inequality. The book introduces key terms for the study for race and ethnicity, reveals the mechanisms that support the racial hierarchy in U.S. society, then outlines ways we can challenge long-standing patterns of racial inequality.
Timely—as the 2012 presidential election nears—and controversial, here is the first book by a major African-American public intellectual on racial politics and the Obama presidency. Renowned for his cool reason vis-à-vis the pitfalls and clichés of racial discourse, Randall Kennedy—Harvard professor of law and author of the New York Times best seller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word—gives us a keen and shrewd analysis of the complex relationship between the first black president and his African-American constituency.
Kennedy tackles such hot-button issues as the nature of racial opposition to Obama, whether Obama has a singular responsibility to African Americans, electoral politics and cultural chauvinism, black patriotism, the differences in Obama’s presentation of himself to blacks and to whites, the challenges posed by the dream of a postracial society, and the far-from-simple symbolism of Obama as a leader of the Joshua generation in a country that has elected only three black senators and two black governors in its entire history. Eschewing the critical excesses of both the left and the right, Kennedy offers a gimlet-eyed view of Obama’s triumphs and travails, his strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to the troubled history of race in America.
The deeply entrenched patterns of racial inequality in the United States simply do not square with the liberal notion of a nation-state of equal citizens. Uncovering the false promise of liberalism, State of White Supremacy reveals race to be a fundamental, if flexible, ruling logic that perpetually generates and legitimates racial hierarchy and privilege.
Racial domination and violence in the United States are indelibly marked by its origin and ongoing development as an empire-state. The widespread misrecognition of the United States as a liberal nation-state hinges on the twin conditions of its approximation for the white majority and its impossibility for their racial others. The essays in this book incisively probe and critique the U.S. racial state through a broad range of topics, including citizenship, education, empire, gender, genocide, geography, incarceration, Islamophobia, migration and border enforcement, violence, and welfare.
White Americans have long been comfortable in the assumption that they are the cultural norm. Now that notion is being challenged, as white people wrestle with what it means to be part of a fast-changing, truly multicultural nation. Facing chronic economic insecurity, a popular culture that reflects the nation’s diverse cultural reality, a future in which they will no longer constitute the majority of the population, and with a black president in the White House, whites are growing anxious.
This anxiety has helped to create the Tea Party movement, with its call to “take our country back.” By means of a racialized nostalgia for a mythological past, the Right is enlisting fearful whites into its campaign for reactionary social and economic policies. In urgent response, Tim Wise has penned his most pointed and provocative work to date. Employing the form of direct personal address, he points a finger at whites’ race-based self-delusion, explaining how such an agenda will only do harm to the nation’s people, including most whites. In no uncertain terms, he argues that the hope for survival of American democracy lies in the embrace of our multicultural past, present and future.
Following up on my earlier post about a few interesting interactive infographics showing population-related data from the Census and other sources, the Census Bureau has begun to release results from the 2010 Census for each state and has created an interactive application (below) that summarizes changes in the state’s population by counties and racial/ethnic group (to change states, click on the “Select Another State” link at the top of the graphic):
Data for more states will be released in the next few months, so if the state you’re interested in is not yet listed, check back a little later and eventually it will be up.
The Census has another interactive graphic below that shows state-level changes in population from 2000 to 2010, along with historical changes in population for each state since 1910. This is basically the data upon which state governments will use to reapportion their Congressional districts in time for the next Congressional elections in 2012. You might recall that a few states will lose one or more seats in the House of Representatives (most of whom are in the midwest and northeast) because their population either declined or was stagnant while other states (mainly in the south and west) will gain seats because their populations increased.
Earlier this week, the Census Bureau released its first official data from the 2010 census. They also produced the interactive graphic below where you can get more detailed numbers by state (you can visit the Census’s site for a full-screen version), but the main findings are:
As of April 1, 2010, the U.S.’s population is officially 308,745,538 — an increase of 9.7% from the 2000 census.
This 9.7% increase is much smaller than the 13.2% increase from 1990-2000 and actually is the smallest increase since 1940.
Nonetheless, the U.S.’s population is still growing faster than other industrialized nations: in the past decade, the populations in France and England each increased about 5%, about 6% in China, and 10% in Canada. Japan’s population is largely unchanged and is actually declining in Germany.
As news organizations such as MSNBC report, the 2010 Census data shows that several states in the South and West are gaining population (and some new seats in the House of Representatives) while a few states in the Northeast and Midwest are losing population:
The most populous state was California (37,253,956); the least populous, Wyoming (563,626). The state that gained the most numerically since 2010 was Texas (up 4,293,741 to 25,145,561); the state that gained the most as a percentage was Nevada (up 35 percent to 2,700,551).
Politically, Texas will gain four House seats due to a burgeoning Hispanic population and a diversified economy that held up relatively well during the recession. Other winners are GOP-leaning Arizona (1), Florida (2) . . . Georgia (1), South Carolina (1), Utah (1) and Washington (1).
States that lose seats are: Illinois (1), Iowa (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1). The Ohio and New York losses typify many of the Democratic strongholds carried by Barack Obama in 2008 that saw declines in political influence. And, for the first time in its history, Democratic-leaning California did not gain a House seat after a census after losing many of its residents in the last decade to neighboring states.
It would seem that these latest Census numbers favor Republicans in the 2012 election. But as the New York Times points out, much of the population increase is due to the fast-growing Latino population:
[P]opulation gains in the South and West were driven overwhelmingly by minorities, particularly Hispanics, and the new districts, according to the rules of redistricting, will need to be drawn in places where they live, opening potential advantages for Democrats, who tend to be more popular among minorities. . . . [T]he most lasting political impact for Republicans and Democrats alike is the rise in the influence of Hispanic voters, particularly across Arizona, Nevada and Texas, which underscores the urgency facing both parties in finding new ways to appeal to Hispanics. In future presidential races, Democrats believe they can make inroads into Arizona and Texas, which are traditionally carried by Republicans, particularly if voters speak out against Arizona’s tough immigration law.
The way it’s shaping up, it looks like the Latino population will play a big role in determining who wins or loses many elections in the South and West. Given that, just last week, Republicans fought hard to defeat the DREAM Act and given their history of supporting (or at least being largely indifferent to) numerous anti-immigrant movements and legislation, it’s too early to say that Republicans will have an easy time in the 2010 elections.
The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state, getting endorsements from 24 state governments, to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
As of July 1, 2008, the estimated population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race. They made up 1.6 percent of the total population.
Median age of the American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2008, younger than the median of 36.8 for the population as a whole. About 30 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives were younger than 18, and 8 percent were 65 and older.
Number of states where American Indians and Alaska Natives were the largest race or ethnic minority group in 2008. These states are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The proportion of Alaska’s population identified as American Indian and Alaska Native as of July 1, 2008, the highest rate for this race group of any state. Alaska was followed by Oklahoma (11 percent) and New Mexico (11 percent).
Percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives 5 and older who spoke a language other than English at home.
The median income of households from the 2008 American Community Survey where the householder reported being American Indian and Alaska Native and no other race.
The 2008 poverty rate of people who reported they were American Indian and Alaska Native and no other race.
Receipts for American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2002. These businesses numbered 201,387.
In addition, the Association of College & Research Libraries has also compiled a very useful list of internet sites and resources related to the Native American Indian population and their history, contributions, and experiences. Below are a few of the websites that I found particularly interesting:
September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. Below is an historical summary and a few noteworthy statistics published by the Census Bureau for this occasion:
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). America celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2009, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16 percent of the nation’s total population. In addition, there are approximately 4 million residents of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean U.S. territory.
Percentage increase in the Hispanic population between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group.
The nation’s Hispanic population during the 1990 Census.
The projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30 percent of the nation’s population by that date.
The percentage of Hispanic-origin people in the United States who were of Mexican background in 2008. Another 9 percent were of Puerto Rican background, with 3.4 percent Cuban, 3.4 percent Salvadoran and 2.8 percent Dominican. The remainder was of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin.
Median age of the Hispanic population in 2009. This compared with 36.8 years for the population as a whole.
Number of Hispanic males in 2009 per every 100 Hispanic females. This was in sharp contrast to the overall population, which had 97 males per every 100 females.
The percentage of the Hispanic-origin population that lived in California or Texas in 2009. California was home to 13.7 million Hispanics, and Texas was home to 9.1 million.
The percentage of New Mexico’s population that was Hispanic in 2009, the highest of any state (New Mexico had 916,000 Hispanics). Hispanics also made up at least one fifth of the population in California and Texas, at 37 percent each, followed by Arizona (31 percent), Nevada (26 percent), Florida (22 percent) and Colorado (20 percent).
Number of the nation’s 3,143 counties that were majority-Hispanic.
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007, up 43.6 percent from 2002.
Receipts generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007, up 55.5 percent from 2002.
The number of U.S. residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2008. Those who hablan español constituted 12 percent of U.S. residents. More than half of these Spanish speakers spoke English “very well.”
The number of Hispanic surnames ranked among the 15 most common in 2000. It was the first time that a Hispanic surname reached the top 15 during a census. Garcia was the most frequent Hispanic surname, occurring 858,289 times and placing eighth on the list — up from 18th in 1990. Rodriguez (ninth), Martinez (11th) and Hernandez (15th) were the next most common Hispanic surnames.
The Pew Research Group has just released reports based on Census data that describe the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the five largest Latino groups in the U.S. (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, and Dominican).
More than eight-in-ten Hispanics self-identify themselves as being either of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran or Dominican origin. Hispanics of Mexican origin are by far the largest group, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the Hispanic population in the U.S.
The five population groups differ along several dimensions — for example, in the share of each group that is foreign born, citizen (by birth or naturalization) and proficient in English. The groups vary by average age and tend to live in different areas within the United States. Likewise, the groups display varying levels of education, homeownership rates, and poverty rates.
These and other characteristics are explored in five fact sheets, one for each country-of-origin group. Each population is also compared to all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall.
As we all know, issues directly related to the Latino population such as immigration continue to be highly controversial and hotly debated. Hopefully these fact sheets will provide a valid and sound statistical foundation upon which we can all better understand their characteristics as we proceed with such discussions.
It is an unfortunate reality in contemporary American society that from time to time, an economic recession occurs, such as the one we’re in right now. As sociologists have documented over and over again, when people experience financial difficulties, many also begin to feel insecure, threatened, and defensive. In such times, it is also common for people to lash out at those around them who they see as a threat to their security or at least someone who contributes to the larger economic difficulties that they are experiencing.
Many have argued that it is this climate of social insecurity that is responsible for the overheated and often viscous arguments taking place all around the U.S. these days around issues such as health care reform. As another example and as described in a recent article from the Philadelphia Weekly, this is exactly what seems to be happening in and around neighborhoods of South Philadelphia, where there have been numerous physical attacks and assaults committed against Asian American students:
Dozens of the alleged incidents are relatively minor—name-calling, verbal threats, petty robberies, random punches in the head while walking down stairwells, and general intimidation. But according to [student Wei] Chen, at least six times last school year those minor incidents escalated into massive rumbles where outnumbered Asian students were pummeled by packs of teens, sending several of the victims to hospitals. . . .
Many Asian students continued living in fear for the remainder of the school year . . . In a cry for help, scared students signed petitions, wrote letters, held meetings, staged a walkout and pleaded with school administrators to do something about the attacks. But the violence at South Philly High, listed among the state’s “persistently dangerous schools” for the third consecutive year, continued.
Male and female Asian students—especially those new to the country, who speak little or fractured English—have been targeted over the past few years, in schools from the Northeast to South Philly, in elementary and high schools. Students and activists say that Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Pakistani and other Asian youth have been singled out, assaulted in cafeterias, hallways, on city streets, school buses and everywhere in between.
Kids say the violence has often been dismissed by school safety officers as well as administrators. “This is a cultural problem,” Wei Chen claims the former principal at South Philly told Asian students on the day after the subway rumble. District officials acknowledge that some situations weren’t handled well.
The article goes on to note that there have been some efforts at addressing the problem through school and community forums and informal mentoring programs to assist newly-arrived immigrant students adjust to their new schools, and that such efforts seem to have had some initial success in reducing the number of physical attacks. However, as the new school year starts, many students are still very tense and apprehensive about whether the situation has actually changed.
The article also acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of attacks have been perpetrated by African American students, who collectively make up 62% of all students in the school district. Does this mean that African Americans are inherently racist and prone to violence? Or are there some community and institutional-level factors that operate in the background and contribute to tense relations between African Americans and Asians? The article offers one potential insight:
As of 2008, Asians accounted for 5.7 percent of the city’s population, up from 4.4 percent in 2000—an increase of 15,000 Asians. Many of the new arrivals move to areas populated by fellow countrymen, often in neighborhoods adjacent to longtime African-American enclaves. “The school may be thought of as black turf by some black students,” says Yale University sociologist Elijah Anderson, a renowned expert on black urban living.
“The outsiders—the Asians who are making inroads—can then be called into account for any moves they make within that situation. You have race prejudice developing as a sense of group position, a proprietary claim on certain areas of the home turf.” Anderson, who taught at Penn for 32 years and frequently uses Philadelphians in his research, believes that the school tensions are likely about dominance.
It goes without saying that such acts of violence can be devastating for the victims, not just physically and academically but emotionally, and can lead to depression, mental health problems, and even suicide. Being targeted also leads many Asian Americans to join a gang, initially to help protect each other from physical attacks but all too often leading to a downward spiral into criminal activity.
Professor Anderson’s explanation about demographic changes leading to neighborhood instability helps us to begin understanding the larger social forces that contribute to the problem. On top of that, once we add the effects of the recession and feelings of economic insecurity, we begin to see more clearly what sociologists have argued all along — the highest levels of prejudice occur not between groups at the very top and those at the very bottom, but between groups that are directly adjacent to each other on the socioeconomic hierarchy.
This is because groups that are right next to each other on the socioeconomic ladder are competing for the same resources — political, economic, and educational (or at least they perceive themselves to be in competition). And sadly, when groups compete with each other, racial/ethnic tensions, hostility, and violence become almost inevitable. Whether this occurs between Whites and Blacks, Whites and Latinos, Blacks and Asians, this scenario has played itself out over and over and over again throughout American history.
The situation in Philadelphia is the perfect and latest example of this pattern — African Americans have traditionally been marginalized institutionally, then begin to feel further besieged and threatened when newcomers (Asian immigrants) move into “their” neighborhoods and schools, and accuse them to to be “taking over.” Having very little collective political or economic power, African Americans scapegoat and lash out at the Asian immigrant newcomers, likely seeing them easy targets due to their lack of English fluency and familiarity with American society.
This is not to excuse or condone the perpetrators of such attacks — I feel that they need to be stopped and appropriately disciplined, regardless of their race or ethnicity. What I am saying however, is that such attacks are not entirely due to individual motives or prejudices. Instead, we need to recognize that there is an wide range of sociological factors that have directly and indirectly lead to and fueled such inter-racial tensions.
To move forward positively and decisively toward addressing this situation before someone is tragically killed, we need to treat both the symptoms and by curing the fundamental disease — the feelings of political powerlessness, economic insecurity, and culture of glorified violence that leads too many students to internalize anti-Asian stereotypes, ultimately resulting in physical brutality.