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Uneven Roads

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

© 2015 | 536 pages | CQ Press
This groundbreaking new volume, Uneven Roads: An Introduction to U.S. Race and Ethnic Politics 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. Centered 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  


Instructor Resources Site

Instructor Resources available for adopters!
- Test Bank
- PowerPoint
- Tables and Figures

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
Key features


  • 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.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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