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Uneven Roads

Uneven Roads
An Introduction to U.S. Racial and Ethnic Politics

Other Titles in:
Minority Politics

November 2014 | 536 pages | CQ Press

This ground-breaking new volume explores when, why, and how race and ethnicity matter in U.S. politics. Using the metaphor of a road, with twists, turns, and dead ends, Uneven Roads begins with an introduction to broad political racialization and the roots of modern interpretations of race and ethnicity. Historical chapters on each of the five groups identified in the U.S. Census—Native American, African American, Latino, Asian American, and White—offer an engaging narrative on race, prejudice, equal rights and opportunity up to the 1960s. Policy and social issue chapters carry the story up to the present day, providing a wide lens on topics including voting rights, political representation, education and criminal justice policies, and the immigrant experience. A final chapter on intersectionality examines how groups go beyond the boundaries of race and ethnicity to come together on matters of class, gender, and sexuality. No other book on the market maps U.S. race and ethnic politics with the same breadth and scope as Uneven Roads

The book’s structure and narrative are designed to encourage comparison and reflection. Students are provided with the history and context of U.S. race and ethnic politics and build the skills to apply their own conclusions. Centred in political science, but with interdisciplinary appeal, this text provides both a sobering and hopeful assessment of American racial progress.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Race as an Uneven Road
Does Race Still Matter?

Defining Race, Ethnicity, and Racism

Racial Classification, Citizenship, and Group Status

The Uneven Road of Race: Our Framework

Conclusion: The Journey Ahead

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 2: Native Americans: The Road from Majority to Minority, 1500s-1970s
Native Communities in North America

Rising Tensions: Native Americans and the New United States, 1776-1830s

U.S. Federal Policy Erodes Indian Rights, 1830s

The Civil War and Its Aftermath: Slaveholding and the Fourteenth Amendment

U.S. Federal Policy: Assimilation versus Culture and Sovereignty, 1870s-1950s

Termination of Federal Support of Tribes, 1945–1950s

Civil Rights and Self-Determination, 1960s-1970s

Conclusion: A Continuing Struggle for Equal Rights

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 3: The African American Political Journey, 1500s-1965
Race, Slavery and the Origins of African Americans, 1500s – 1790s

The Early American Republic and Black Political Resistance, 1770s-1865

The Antebellum Black Community and Political Resistance

The Civil War and Its Aftermath, 1860-1877

Black Politics in the Jim Crow Era, 1880-1940

The Second Reconstruction: Postwar and Civil Rights Movement Era, 1950s-1960s

Conclusion: The Road to Black Politics Up to 1965

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 4: The Road toward Contemporary Latino Politics, 1500s-1970s
The Road’s Colonial Beginnings, 1493-1850

Destruction of Mexican American Politics, Late 1800s

The Rebirth of Mexican-American Politics, 1900-1960

From Civic Activism to Political Engagement

Differing Paths: Puerto Ricans and Cubans, 1890s-1950s

Civil Rights and Ethnic Nationalism in Latino Communities, 1960s-1970s

Conclusion: Latinos as a Pan-Ethnic Group

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 5: Different and Common Asian American Roads, 1800s-1960s
The Racialization of Asian Americans

European Imperialism and Asian Emigration

Immigration and Economics before the Anti-Asian Zenith, Up to the 1870s

Early Community Formation among Asian Americans

Race, Region, and the Anti-Asian Era, 1870s to 1940s

Shifts and Declines in the Anti-Asian Era, 1940s-1960s

Asian American Political Empowerment in the Civil Rights Era

Conclusion: The Uneven Roads of Asian American Opportunity

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 6: Whiteness and the Shifting Roads of Immigrant America, 1780s-1960s
Who is White? Racial Considerations at the Time of the Founding

Large-Scale Immigration and Overcoming Ethnic Exclusion

White Identity at the Dawn of the Civil Rights Era

The State and White Advantage

Conclusion: Legacies of Racial Hierarchy and the Roots of Contemporary Politics

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 7: Voting Rights in American Life
Minority Groups and Voting Rights

The Civil Rights Movement as a Foundation for Voting Expansion

Civil Rights and Voting Rights Legislation after 1965

Redistricting and Minority Representation

The Politics behind the 2006 Early Renewal of the Voting Rights Act

The Long-Term Stability of the Voting Rights Act

Conclusion: The Role of Race in Contemporary Voting Rights

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 8: Group Identity, Ideology, and Activism
Why Group Identity, Ideology, and Activism Matter

Race, Ethnicity, and Public Opinion

Race, Ethnicity, and Political Ideology: The Political Impact of Racialization

Activist Pathways to Empowerment

The Legacy of Grassroots and Civil Rights Activism

Conclusion: Mobilizing for a Changed Future

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 9: Political Behavior and Representation: Minorities’ Growing Voice
Why Is the Minority Vote Important?

Minority Civic Engagement: Patterns in Participation

Minority Ideology and Partisanship: Finding a Place in the U.S. Political System

Minority Electoral Participation: Unrealized Potential to Influence Politics

Representation: Electing a Voice for Minority Interests

Conclusion: Have Minorities Overcome Political Exclusion?

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 10: Education and Criminal Justice Policies: Opportunity and Alienation
Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy

Public Education: Opportunities and Detours

Race, Ethnicity, and Education Policy Outcomes

The Criminal Justice System: Barriers and Roadblocks

Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice Policy Outcomes

Conclusion: Public Policy Destinations

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 11: Immigration Policy: The Road to Settlement and Citizenship
Immigrant Status and Numbers

Immigration Policies before 1965

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Amendments

U.S. Immigrant Incorporation Policies

Immigration Reform in the United States Today

Conclusion: A Turning Point for U.S. Immigration Policy

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 12: Diasporic Politics and Foreign Affairs
The Growing Ease of Transnational Activity

The Roots of Contemporary Transnational Engagement: Family and Community Ties

Transnational Activity: Beyond the Immigrant Generation

U.S. Foreign Policy and Minority Communities

Conclusion: The Political Value of Transnational Politics

Discussion Questions

Key Terms

Chapter 13: Beyond Race: Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation
The Still Uneven Roads of Race, Racism, and Ethnicity

The Uneven Roads of Identity Politics

Intersecting Roads: Race, Gender, Class, and Sexual Orientation

Illuminated Individualism as a Response to Uneven Roads

Conclusion: Prospects for the Future

Discussion Questions

Key Terms


Uneven Roads is truly excellent. There is no doubt in my mind that this book will impact the field for many years to come. Authors Shaw, DeSipio, Pinderhughes, and Travis are all eminent scholars in political science, and the way that this book is written shows why! It is well-written, engaging, and provides the reader with thoughtful analyses of some of the most important questions in racial and ethnic politics in America.”

Alvin B. Tillery, Jr.
Northwestern University

Uneven Roads is extremely well-written and easy to understand – it introduces students to important concepts and ideas without a lot of jargon. It is also very thorough and weaves contemporary issues and current events throughout the text.”

Atiya Stokes-Brown
Bucknell University

 “The biggest strength of Uneven Roads is its ambitious and long-overdue attempt at filling a gap in the textbook market where no other book takes such a long and broad look at race and ethnicity in our history.”

Anirudh V.S. Ruhil
Ohio State University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Todd Shaw

Todd Shaw, College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, researches and teaches in the areas of African American politics, urban politics and public policy, citizen activism and social movements. More About Author

Louis DeSipio

Louis DeSipio, Ph.D., is Professor of Political Science and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Counting on the Latino Vote: Latinos as a New Electorate (the University Press of Virginia), U.S. Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America (co-authored with Rodolfo de la Garza, Westview Press), and Uneven Roads: An Introduction to U.S. Race and Ethnic Politics (co-authored with Todd Shaw, Dianne Pinderhughes, and Toni-Michelle Travis, Congressional Quarterly Press).  He is also the author and editor of an eight volume series on Latino political values,... More About Author

Dianne Pinderhughes

Dianne Pinderhughes, Professor of Political Science and of Africana Studies at the University of Notre Dame, studies inequality in racial, ethnic, and gender politics and public policy, the creation of American civil society institutions in the twentieth century, and their influence on voting rights policy. More About Author

Toni-Michelle C. Travis

Toni-Michelle C. Travis, Associate Professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University, researches urban politics and race and class issues in politics. She also teaches on Virginia politics and American government. More About Author

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ISBN: 9781604265446