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Color Dichotomy Vs. The Ethnoracial Pentagon

948 words - 4 pages

Throughout American politics, two particularly well known categorizations of race and ethnicity have arisen: "Color Dichotomy" and the later "Ethno-racial Pentagon." Each seeks to define and categorize the vast racial diversity America prides itself on. While intending to create clear and fair ethno-racial constructions, there are obvious advantages and weak spots to each for the purposes of analyzing American politics.An "old-fashioned" and less popular method of categorization is the "Color Dichotomy." This concept distinguishes two complementing counterparts to every situation; in terms of race and ethnicity: white and nonwhite (people of color). In the US, about 75% of Americans identify ...view middle of the document...

"To be sure, a value of the pentagon is its capacity to call attention to a certain range of social and cultural diversity" (Hollinger 25). The pentagon also keeps some simplicity, however, so that people are easily categorized for the purposes of affirmative action...etc. Although this framework is more attentive to the differences in the "nonwhite" group of the Color Dichotomy, it also still retains similar problems of ignoring certain races or collapsing many together into one. All of these ethno-racial blocs have distinguishable diversities which are ignored in order to be jammed into one category or another. Least apparent is the diversity within the Euro-American bloc, or whites. Indeed, Jews, who are now considered Euro-American/white, used to be considered a different race altogether. The Irish and the English, between which existed the vehement tension of conflict and oppression, are now thrust together under the same category with the ethno-racial pentagon. The internal diversity within the Asian American group (Koreans, Cambodians, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese...and all of the consequent subgroups) must be quietly faded in order to make the category a unit; ignoring such tension between Koreans and Japanese for example. Another bloc in which the condensation of ethnic diversity is also less obvious is that African American bloc. The specific country of origin and culture within the African American bloc is forgotten or ignored as inconsequential. Key to this objection is the "one-drop rule." This rule maintains that "one drop" of African American blood in a person designates that person African American regardless of their other ethnicity(ies). This rule obviously exists to maintain the existence of the African American category without the complications of recognizing white mixing (or other races). This gives the gross impression that African American blood is...

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