Who Is Black?
One Nation’s Definition
By F. James Davis
Honored in 1992 as an "Outstanding Book" by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States. Reprinted many times since its first publication in 1991, Who Is Black? has become a staple in college classrooms throughout the United States, helping students understand this nation's history of miscegenation and the role that the "one-drop rule" has played in it. In this special anniversary edition, the author brings the story up to date in an epilogue. There he highlights some revealing responses to Who Is Black? and examines recent challenges to the one-drop rule, including the multiracial identity movement and a significant change in the census classification of racial and ethnic groups.
From reviews of the original edition:
"This is a very well written book that communicates complex ideas with clarity and interest. It is rare, in my experience, for an academic book written by a social scientist to be as interesting and exciting as a piece of fiction. This book is hard to put down because Davis's story of how the United States as a nation came to define who is black reads like a mystery novel in which every historical event provides one more clue to the final murder of a people."—Aida Hurtado, in American Journal of Sociology
"Davis has given us a brilliant and informative history of the fateful policy commonly called the rule of hypodescent (the 'one-drop' rule) and the impact it has had psychologically, socially, economically, and politically on African-American history. Davis's book is the most recent in the series of works written on this topic, but is by far the most thorough and insightful."—
G. Reginald Daniel, in Contemporary Sociology
"This is an eye-opening appraisal of an issue often taken for granted in America."—Publishers Weekly
F. James Davis is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Illinois State University and the author of Society and the Law (Free Press, 1962), Social Problems (Free Press, 1970), and Minority-Dominant Relations (AHM, 1978).
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