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Uneven Roads

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

Second Edition

February 2018 | 512 pages | CQ Press

Uneven Roads helps students grasp how, when, and why race and ethnicity matter in U.S. politics. Using the metaphor of a road, with twists, turns, and dead ends, this incisive text takes students on a journey to understanding political racialization and the roots of modern interpretations of race and ethnicity. The book’s structure and narrative are designed to encourage comparison and reflection. Students critically analyze the history and context of U.S. racial and ethnic politics to build the skills needed to draw their own conclusions.

In the Second Edition of this groundbreaking text, authors Shaw, DeSipio, Pinderhughes, and Travis bring the historical narrative to life by addressing the most contemporary debates and challenges affecting U.S. racial and ethnic politics. Students will explore important issues regarding voting rights, political representation, education and criminal justice policies, and the immigrant experience. A revised final chapter on intersectionality encourages students to examine how groups go beyond the boundaries of race and ethnicity to come together on matters of class, gender, and sexuality.

About the Authors
Part I: Introduction
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  
Part II: Historical Foundations
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  
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  
Civil Rights Demonstrations and Mass Protest in the South: The Second Major Protest Cycle, 1960–1964  
Conclusion: The Road to Black Politics Up to 1965  
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  
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–1940s  
Shifts and Declines in the Anti-Asian Era, 1940s–1960s  
Asian American Political Empowerment in the Civil Rights Era  
The Asian American Journey Since 1965: The Model Minority and Racial Threat Myth Today  
Conclusion: The Uneven Roads of Asian American Opportunity  
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  
Part III: Policy and Social Issues
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  
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  
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?  
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  
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 Policy in the 21st Century: Alternative Roads  
Minority Communities and Minority Coalitions in the Immigration Reform Debate  
Conclusion: A Turning Point for U.S. Immigration Policy  
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  
Chapter 13: Beyond Race: Intersections of Race, Gender, Class, 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  
Possible Responses to Uneven Roads  
Conclusion: Prospects for the Future  

Uneven Roads gives a sincere, unromantic and yet nonjudgmental account of how legal and political institutions were established in ways that impacted the civil and legal status of millions of Americans. It engaged, enraged, and informed my students of the structural influences on the confusing issue of race in the United States.”

Melissa Buice
West Virginia Wesleyan College

“An ideal Race and Ethnic Politics textbook… Students will learn a lot, and faculty will find it easy to design their class assignments around the material.”

Terri Jett
Butler University

Uneven Roads is one of the few race and politics textbooks that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the history surrounding major racial groups coupled with social and political issues related to race in the contemporary United States.”

Camille Burge
Villanova University
Key features


  • Contemporary debates and challenges bring concepts to life by introducing students to current issues regarding voting rights, political representation, education and criminal justice policies, and the immigrant experience.
  • A revised final chapter on intersectionality encourages students to examine how groups go beyond the boundaries of race and ethnicity to come together on matters of class, gender, and sexuality.
  • Cross Road boxes spotlight key moments in which pivotal decisions were made affecting minority rights and politics, and critical thinking questions encourage closer analysis.
  • Road Sign boxes highlight moments of historical and contemporary relevance that mark turning points for or issues facing minority groups.
  • Coalitions in Action boxes emphasize contemporary bridge-building measures addressing topics that concern U.S. racial and ethnic groups.

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