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Meanwhile the upper end of the scale that gives

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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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