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Unformatted text preview: , characterized by socioeconomic
disadvantage and political isolation, has historically been associated with “blackness” or
“color.” Meanwhile, the upper end of the scale that gives access to opportunity, beneﬁts,
and power has been associated with “whiteness.” Between the ﬁxed extremes of whiteness
and blackness there is a ﬂuid hierarchy of social and political spaces that are occupied by
different groups of color at various times.
Racial group status can change, but not easily. A group that is subordinated in one era can
move closer to power and privilege in another era. In the past century, groups such as the
Irish, Italians, and Jews in America started low on the socioeconomic and political ladder
and “became white” over time. More recently, “model minority” status has been given to
some Asian groups, allowing group members to gain access to some of the privileges
associated with whiteness.
It must be stressed that position and mobility within the racial hierarchy, which in some
ways resembles a caste system, cannot be determined by the nonwhite or subordinated
groups. How those who are at the...
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- Spring '14