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Book: Diversity in America
Author: Vincent N. Parrillo
Pine Force Press, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 235

Excerpt from Preface:

This book is about race and ethnicity in the United States and the interaction of gender relations within that context. Because of this special focus, my use of such terms as diversity and multiculturalism does not include sexual preference, the aged, or the physically challenged, as some others may do for a different purpose. Although this book delves deeply into the subject of multiculturalism, it is not a paean to either anti-assimilationists or anti-pluralists. It is instead a moderate approach to a volatile subject with the goal of demonstrating that multiculturalism is neither a new social phenomenon nor a threat to American society.

All of us know something about diversity in America. We probably learned a little about it in our past, bear witness to it in our present, and may hold expectations about it for the future. Yet although many extol the legacy of our immigrant heritage and/or lament the injustices of our race relations history, to many we seem to be on the brink of societal unraveling. As in generations past, voices rise up against immigration, against foreign language retention, against "nonproductive" or "nonassimilating" racial/ethnic groups, and against racial/ethnic leaders espousing separative policies or actions. Similar concerns can be heard in Australia, Canada, and much of Europe, where unprecedented migrations of diverse racial/cultural groups have also made an impact.

These response were the catalyst for my writing this book. All of my discussion on the subjects of multiculturalism or diversity . . . played a role that impelled me to write this book. Between the polemics of voices advocating policies that challenge the dominant culture and those denouncing multiculturalism as a threat to society, are, I believe, the ambivalent but concerned feelings of the vast majority.

Excerpt from Book:

Although America has a greater mix of races and nationalities today, the United States is, in some ways, actually less multicultural than it was in the past. What we are experiencing today in large-scale immigration and minority group (including female) challenges to the status quo is part of the continuing dynamics of a nation evolving to make its reality resemble more of its ideals. Despite fears about divisiveness, the mainstream group is larger than ever before. Despite male apprehension about the feminist movement, women are becoming a more integral part of the mainstream and dispelling many myths as they do. Despite concerns over language retention, today's immigrants want to learn English and do so no slower than past immigrants and perhaps even more quickly because of the mass media. Despite nativist anxieties about non-Westerners not blending in, Asians are demonstrating their desire to integrate by having the highest naturalization rates among all of the largest sending countries.

Multiculturalism is neither new nor a threat to the stabilization and integration of American society. Extremists come and go, but the core culture remains strong, the American Dream prevails, and men and women seek to be part of it, bringing with them the diversity that is America.

Multiculturalism, then is an old, continuing presence that strengthens not weakens, enriches not diminishes, nourishes not drains a civilization whose character and temperament have long reflected the diversity of its people.

Table of Contents:

1. Perception and Reality

2. Diversity in Aboriginal America

3. Diversity in Colonial Times

4. Diversity in the Early National Period

5. Diversity in the Age of Expansion

6. Diversity in the Industrial Age

7. Diversity in the Information Age

8. Intergenerational Comparisons

9. Is Multiculturalism a Threat?

10. Beyond the Horizon