The spring 2006 issue of The American Scholar contains two interesting articles under the feature section labeled "Beyond Race." In the first article, Amitai Etzioni, a professor at George Washington University, argues that "treating people differently according to their race is as un-American as a hered-itary aristocracy, and as American as slavery." In his view, America is a meritocracy, a place where the national ideal is that people are defined by what they achieve rather than by where they have been. He says, "Achievement matters, not origin." Etzioni proposes that one first step out of our current racial quagmire is to remove racial categories from American public life, like the U.S. Census for example. These categories, he suggests, divide people unhelpfully and artificially; and with the rise of significant numbers of Hispanics, there comes an opportunity to rethink racial categories and forge a new vision of America that lives up to its ideals. In the second article, Nancy Honicker, an English professor at the University of Paris, takes a look at the November 2005 riots in the Parisian suburbs. Honicker points out that these suburbs are peopled largely by emigrants from Africa (Senegal, Ivory Coast, etc). France, however, has precisely the policy Professor Etzioni advocates in his article: the French government keeps no official statistics on race, religion, or ethnic origins of its citizens; and in most cases it is against the law for private institutions to collect such data. This policy, Professor Honicker argues, contributes to the racial discrimination that many immigrants face in France.
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Issue: "Grace Over Race" Jan./Feb. 2008 Vol. 17 No. 1 Page number(s): 24-29
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