Charting Racial Formations in the New U.S. South: Reflections on North Carolina’s Latino, African-American, and Afro-Latino Relations
Vinson, Ben III
Jackson, John Jr.
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The term “New South” has been used for over a hundred years to describe and categorize the Southern U.S. The desire to continually reinvent the South suggests that the current transformations of the region’s economy, demographics, and politics are not radical reconfigurations of a monolithic and unchanging landscape, but rather are the latest articulations of a complex and continually evolving region. Change in the South, however, is not a neutral, uncontested process. The South’s meaning is now being challenged in ways that have not been witnessed before. Multiethnic diversity has been identified as one of the key emerging features of the region, particularly in job-laden metropolitan areas. In North Carolina and other Southern States, migration streams are channeling Latinos into areas with relatively large Black populations, and in geographically defined social/political spaces that have been historically discussed in binary terms of Black and White. This essay is a preliminary exploration of these processes of contested change in North Carolina, examining the stakes involved, the processes that have unfurled, and the histories/legacies produced by these interactions that are rapidly becoming prominent features in the American social landscape.
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