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The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement in America Hardcover – March 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0814780718 ISBN-10: 0814780717 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; 1 edition (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814780717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814780718
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,902,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Questions for the year 2000 census are already being vetted, and controversy is rising over the request by some multiracial Americans and their parents for a new "block" in its racial classification field. Spencer, an American studies and music professor at the University of Richmond who is himself multiracial, examines the experience of the mixed-race people classified as "coloreds" in South Africa as a basis for urging the U.S. not to add that new choice but to adopt instead a delicate "balancing act . . . a denouncing of race but a dependency on it until the vestiges of racism are obliterated." Spencer traces major arguments in favor of a separate "multiracial" classification and then challenges those arguments by tracing the actual consequences of such an intermediary racial status under apartheid and potential consequences of a similar category in the U.S. Not an essential acquisition but appropriate where issues of racial classification stimulate debate. Mary Carroll

Review

"Takes on the difficult task of explaining, from a civil-rights perspective, why government should refuse to recognize a [mixed race] category. . . . Thought-provoking."

-The New York Times Book Review,

"An excellent work of mediation and reconciliation. A book not only of American importance but of global significance."

-Hendrik W. van der Merwe,Director-emeritus of the Centre for Intergroup Studies, University of Cape Town

"Argues boldly and convincingly with valid arguments against the creation of amultiracial classification."

-Multicultural Review,

"Jon Michael Spencer has highlighted a new and rising issue on the scene of race relations. . . . Spencer takes a clear, firm, and well-informed position on this complex and vital issue. It is a challenge that the nation will one day be forced to meet."

-Joel R. Williamson,author of New People: Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States

Customer Reviews

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By furness@ousd.k12.ca.us on July 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
as a self-styled "expert" on multiracial people, i quickly snapped this book up, mostly because of its title (and because i'm trying to acquire a library on the subject). i should have read the flap and hesitated. Spenser has valid problems with the politics involved when the parents of multiracial people try to change, or even dispose of, our way of seeing race in America; i shared many of his complaints. but he then goes on to propose that creating a "mixed-race" category would divide the Black community (no mention of other races here) and serve to help white supremacy. his evidence? mostly anecdotal comments made about the creation of a mixed-race class in Apartheid South Africa. in an amazing leap of academic faith, he predicts the problems created by South Africa's "Coloured People" will repeat themselves in the slightly (?) different racial climate of the United States. his other sources include African-American, but perhaps ashamed of being multiracial, commentator Lisa Jones and many outdated books on race relations (I had trouble finding a reference to any book written after 1980). simply put, this isn't convincing or particularly interesting. i also found it rather insulting that he would attack the "mixed-race movement" without bothering to consider the people most involved in the process--mixed-race people themselves. our diversity can't be represented by a small, but vocal group of bourgeois Black folk and their white spouses. the vast majority of mixed-race people i know aren't pushing for "racelessness" or assimilation, but Spenser found an easy target in some people who do. i suspect he found a hot topic and saw his opportunity to get published. don't get duped like i did.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jon Michael Spencer's perspective on mixed identity is behind the times, to say the least. He makes false analogies to South Africa's Coloured population when critiquing the problematic aspects of multiracial people and their quest for a social identity in the U.S. While America has a long way to go when it comes to racial inequality, the nature and context of racial inequality has undergone major transformations. (His analogies don't work so simply and compactly). I have to say, while I do disagree with Spencer on most accounts, what I appreciate about his work is that he expresses a viewpoint and perspective shared by many --especially our brothers and sisters of color. I think it's a counterpoint perspective we should acknowledge. Certainly, we have seen political conservatives like John Sununu, Newt Gingrich, Ward Connerly, etc. latch onto the "multiracial cause," using mixed-race people as ploy to dismantle the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. I don't blame those like Spencer for being weary. However, te "new multiracial consciousness" is more complex than Spencer's simplistic Black-versus-White analysis. Race in America, while important to examine from the Black-versus-White lens, has become more and more complex (interstructured) w/ a whole array of other issues like gender, sexuality, class, immigrant status/generation complicating matters. (READ Paul Spickard's chapter in Rethinking Mixed-Race, edited by David Parker & Miri Song for a critique on Spencer's work).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jon Michael Spencer's perspective on mixed identity is behind the times, to say the least. He makes false analogies to South Africa's Coloured population when critiquing the problematic aspects of multiracial people and their quest for a social identity in the U.S. While America has a long way to go when it comes to racial inequality, the nature and context of racial inequality has undergone major transformations. (His analogies don't work so simply and compactly). I have to say, while I do disagree with Spencer on most accounts, what I appreciate about his work is that he expresses a viewpoint and perspective shared by many --especially our brothers and sisters of color. I think it's a counterpoint perspective we should acknowledge. Certainly, we have seen political conservatives like John Sununu, Newt Gingrich, Ward Connerly, etc. latch onto the "multiracial cause," using mixed-race people as ploy to dismantle the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. I don't blame those like Spencer for being weary. However, te "new multiracial consciousness" is more complex than Spencer's simplistic Black-versus-White analysis. Race in America, while important to examine from the Black-versus-White lens, has become more and more complex (interstructured) w/ a whole array of other issues like gender, sexuality, class, immigrant status/generation complicating matters. (READ Paul Spickard's chapter in Rethinking Mixed-Race, edited by David Parker & Miri Song for a critique on Spencer's work).
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The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement in America
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