Political, legal, and economic issues.

thnicity is not just a matter of personal identity. Various political, legal, and economic issues invariably arise when different ethnic groups cohabit a region. Although the dominant Western political attitude is that race and ethnicity should not be factors in any aspect of public life, differential treatment based on race, nationality, or ethnic origin still occurs. Racism and various forms of discrimination are the most obvious examples of differential treatment. Seeking to right previous wrongs, however, governments may become executors of differential treatment themselves through policies and programs that are designed to eliminate race and ethnicity as socio-economic determinants. Proponents see this as a necessary evil that should be kept in place in some form until the goal of political, social, and economic equality among all ethnicities and races is reached. Opponents, however, often charge that such policies and programs do not work, and that they constitute reverse discrimination and do more harm than good to racial and ethnic relations.

On this page we have collected discussions from H-Net networks that deal with various such political, legal, and economic issues. Many of them originate in and revolve around California's Proposition 187, a proposed law to bar illegal immigrants from certain government services in the State of California, but go on to deal with political, legal, and economic issues in broader terms. There is also much material relating to racial and ethnic classification on the US census in the year 2000.


Affirmative action

How do the anti-discrimination, affirmative action and multicultural diversity types of policy differ from each other?

Different viewpoints and a spirited discussion from H-Ethnic.


I am working on a piece comparing immigration policy in the US and Britain and need to extend the American case study beyond immigration law. Can anyone point me to a concise summary of naturalization legislation and procedures for the period 1900-1925?

H-Labor answers.

US census categories in 2000

In connection with the upcoming US census for the year 2000, racial and ethnic classification categories are being reevaluated. The Office of Management and Budget put out the following statement regarding its Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting:

"During the past few years, OMB's Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting, has come under increasing criticism. These standards are used governmentwide for recordkeeping, collection, and presentation of data on race and ethnicity in Federal statistical activities and program administrative reporting. Since the standards were first issued 17 years ago, citizens who report information about themselves and users of the information collected by Federal agencies have indicated that the categories set forth in Directive No. 15 are becoming less useful in reflecting the diversity of our Nation's population. Accordingly, OMB currently is undertaking a review of the racial and ethnic categories in the Directive."

This elicited much response and debate on H-Ethnic. Below you will find some of the most interesting material, including the text and some background to OMB Directive No. 15.

OMB Directive No. 15.

Public testemonial:
A statement from the Association of MultiEthnic Americans, presented before the House Subcommittee on the census.

Public testemonial:
A statement from the Conference of Americans of Germanic Heritage, presented before the Office of Management and Budget.

An H-Ethnic debate on racial classification of European Americans, originating in the statement from the Conference of Americans of Germanic heritage.

An early update on OMB's response to voiced concerns, and an interview with Dr. Marvin Arnold on the appropriateness of a multiracial category on the census.

Proposition 187

An H-Ethnic debate on California's Proposition 187. Includes news digests.

Can GOP make inroads in African-American, Hispanic, and Asian middle class? That was why some GOP opposed CA Prop 187.
H-Pol members reply.

International response:
News digest from H-Ethnic on international responses to Proposition 187.

Europe's immigration crisis

The Migration Challenge: Europe's Crisis in Historical Perspective.