From bi-racial to tri-racial: Towards a new system of racial stratification in the USA
In this article I argue that the bi-racial order (white vs non-white) typical of the United States is undergoing a profound transformation. Because of drastic changes in the demography of the nation as well as changes in the racial structure of the world-system, the United States is developing a complex, Latin America-like racial order. Specifically, I suggest that the new order will have two central features: three loosely organized racial strata (white, honorary white, and the collective black) and a pigmentocratic logic. I examine some objective, subjective, and social interaction indicators to assess if the Latin Americanization thesis holds some water. Although more refined data are needed to conclusively make my case, the available indicators support my thesis. I conclude this article by outlining some of the potential implications of Latin Americanization for the future of race relations in the United States. © 2004 Taylor and Francis Ltd.
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