Monday, December 10, 2007

New Jersey: The most ethnically diverse states in the nation.

According to Wikipedia, “New Jersey is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse states in the country. It has the second largest Jewish population by percentage after New York; the second largest Muslim population by percent (after Michigan); the third highest Asian population by percent, the third highest Italian-American population by percent of any state according to the 2000 Census; and a large percentage of the population is Black, White American, Hispanic American, Arab American, and Asian American.

It has the second highest Indian American population of any state by absolute numbers. The five largest ancestry groups are: Italian (17.9%), Irish (15.9%), African (13.6%), German (12.6%), Polish (6.9%).”

Additionally, according to the New York Times of November 18th, “The United States population has grown by nearly 18 million people since 2000 and 40 percent of this growth is immigrants from other countries. New Jersey benefits from this, having the fifth-largest immigrant influx of any state.”

Plus given our history of racial profiling, race is still an important issue.

So, we are ethnically diverse, and we have lots of immigrants. What’s my point?

A book that caught my eye the other day, that I think everyone in New Jersey should read, given our population.

The book: Silent Racism: How Well-Meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide, by Barbara Trepagnier.

Author Trepagnier completed her doctoral work in sociology at University of California in Santa Barbara in 1996, and at that time returned to Texas. She teaches sociology at Texas State University-San Marcos.

On Silent Racism

Vivid and engaging, Silent Racism persuasively demonstrates that silent racism—racism by people who by all accounts would be classified as “not racist”—is instrumental in the production of institutional racism. Trepagnier argues that heightened race awareness is more important in changing racial inequality than judging whether individuals are racist. The collective voices and confessions of "nonracist" white women heard in this book help reveal that all individuals harbor some racist thoughts and feelings.

Trepagnier argues that the oppositional categories of racist/not racist are outdated. The oppositional categories should be replaced in contemporary thought with a continuum model that more accurately portrays today’s racial reality in the United States.

A shift to a continuum model can raise the race awareness of well-meaning white people and improve race relations. Offering a fresh approach, Silent Racism is an essential resource for teaching and thinking about racism in the twenty-first century.

Highlights From The Book:

• Race awareness in well-meaning white people—including racial progressives—is both sorely lacking and a crucial piece of the racism puzzle.
• Well-meaning white people who are passive around others’ racism encourage it, whether or not they intend to.
• Slavery and segregation have been transformed into a less obvious structure: institutional racism.
• Race awareness entails understanding three facets of racism: the history of racism in the U.S., how institutional racism operates, and insight into one’s own silent racism and passivity.
• Both silent racism and passivity in well-meaning white people are instrumental in producing institutional racism.
• Throughout U.S. history a small group of white Americans has stood against the racist institutions of their day.


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