Ronald Schmidt chats with New Books In Political Science

by Phillip Witteveen on September 30, 2013

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Author Ronald Schmidt, Jr., joined host Heath Brown on the New Books in Political Science podcast to discuss Newcomers, Outsiders, and Insiders. Schmidt and his co-authors Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh, Andrew L. Aoki, and Rodney E. Hero have taken a new look at the most recent 50 years of racial politics to get a better understanding of how diverse ethnic groups can be expected to change our governments in the near future. The paper that would become the book began with a simple question: “What has political science learned about the impact of recent immigration, on American racial politics?” Schmidt and his co-authors originally planned to submit this paper to Perspectives on Politics, “but it was too long – and yet too short.” What it became, as Brown said, is “a truly ambitious project” – “there’s just so many threads running through [it].”

The short answer to the question (that its depth necessitates in interview) is that there has been “a major transformation in American racial politics over the past 50 years – and that immigration has been the driving force of this transformation.” The impact these immigrants are having, they argue,  is breaking the previously accepted black-white paradigm so commonly accepted east of the Mississippi. Indeed political scientists have long been more accurately modeling the West coast with a multi-racial model, which also incorporates Latinos and Asian Americans.

It is, however, not only among whom, but where these “patterns of conflict and collaboration” are trending. As Schmidt explains, “The recent census data from both the 2010 census and the 2000 census, indicate that recent immigrants—since 1965—are no longer settling in what were formerly known as the primary entry-way destination states.” Where before, major population centers in the coasts and in the Midwest have drawn in these “newcomers” and “outsiders,” the South has become a new growth area with greater Latino, and indeed, Asian American populations. “In what are called ‘new destination states,’ the patterns haven’t yet emerged.”

You can get in on the full conversation at New Books in Political Science.

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