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Uneven Roads

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

Third Edition

February 2024 | 488 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 Third Edition of this groundbreaking text, authors ShawDeSipioPinderhughesFrasure, 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.

1 Introduction: Race as an Uneven Road
2 Native Americans: The Road From Majority to Minority, 1500s–1970s
3 The African American Political Journey, 1500s–1965
4 The Road Toward Contemporary Latino Politics, 1500s–1970s
5 Different and Common Asian American Roads, 1800s–1960s
6 Whiteness and the Shifting Roads of Immigrant America, 1780s–1960s
7 Voting Rights in American Life
8 Group Identity, Ideology, and Activism
9 Political Behavior and Representation: Minorities’ Growing Voice
10 Education and Criminal Justice Policies: Opportunity and Alienation
11 Immigration Policy: The Road to Settlement and Citizenship
12 Diasporic Politics and Foreign Affairs
13 Beyond Race: Intersections of Race, Gender, Class, and Sexual Orientation


Instructor Resource Site
Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all figures, tables, and maps found in this book.

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.
Key features


  • Includes data from the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS), a survey that includes roughly 17,000 respondents who were asked a range of questions relevant to racial and ethnic politics.
  • Historical and current event examples were extensively updated to ensure instructors and students could deliberate using the most relevant and/or recent racial and ethnic politics developments. 
  • Students are introduced 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.


  • The book examines the histories and current status of people who fall within the five major racial or ethnic categories of the U.S. Census: American Indians or Native Americans, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Asian Americans, and White Americans.
  • The book is organized into three parts to help students become equipped to think critically about the role of race and ethnicity in U.S. politics and society; 
    • In Part I, Introduction, the first chapter defines race and racism and presents a racialization framework that explains when, why, and how race and ethnicity have mattered and still matter, as each of the groups pursues citizenship rights and equality opportunities through the political system. These three factors provide the framework to understand how, at different points in time and under widely varying circumstances, race has served as an absolute, decisive, inconsequential, or insufficient barrier for a group’s progress.
    • Part II, Historical Foundations, examines the political history of each group studied in the book. Students cannot understand the full import of today’s racial and ethnic issues without also knowing the roots of these issues and the road each group has traveled to where it stands today.
    • Part III, Policy and Social Issues, builds on the knowledge and experiences discussed in the political history chapters by providing a theoretical overview for explaining group identity.
  • The features in Uneven Roads were constructed to help guide students' learning and present a layered, comprehensive introduction to U.S. race and ethnic politics.
    • Learning Objectives open each chapter and serve as a road map to the key concepts and major sections students will find within the chapter, helping them focus on the most important points and assess their reading comprehension.
    • Crossroad 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.
    • Stop and Think questions at the end of certain sections encourage critical thinking and debate about the narrative and current events. 
  • The end-of-chapter section includes a conclusion, discussion questions, and key terms to help students think about the material and spark classroom discussion.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Ch02_Native Americans

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