The Politics of Race Relations.
In proposing a national "conversation" on race in 1996, President Clinton asked "can we fulfill the promise of America by embracing all our citizens of all races.… Can we become one America in the 21st century?" If the United States could become "the worlds first truly great multiracial, multiethnic democracy," Clinton declared, then it would "rewrite the rules of human evolution." Clinton's avowed political purpose in announcing this dialogue was to defend preferential forms of affirmative action. Yet, despite the president's aspirations, only 4 percent of the respondents to a 1996 Pew Research Center survey thought race relations a serious enough problem to be a top priority of the federal government. Data complied from several sources suggested that the continued government policy of defining people according to racial criteria was in part responsible for the mounting tensions that surfaced during...
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