At the end of the twentieth century, the United States is a remarkably diverse society. It grows more diverse by the day, transformed by an enormous influx of immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. In an increasingly global economy, Americans are coming into contact with others of different cultures to an extent seen only in times of world war. Yet amidst this diversity remains great division. When the young black academic W.E.B. DuBois looked out onto America in 1903, he memorably proclaimed that "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." Over the last one hundred years, that color line has shifted but not disappeared. The brutal regime of Jim Crow and lynching was vanquished by a remarkable grassroots movement for racial equality and civil rights. Overt expressions of racism are less common than they were a half century ago. Many nonwhite Americans, among them African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, are better off than their forbears. Despite all of the gains of the past century, however, the burden of history still weighs heavily. Color lines still divide and separate Americans. Many Americans have managed diversity by avoiding it-by retreating into separate communities walled off by ignorance and distrust. In American public and private life, there are far too few opportunities to cross racial and ethnic barriers, to understand and appreciate differences, to learn from diversity rather than use it as an excuse for reproach and recrimination.
Thomas J. Sugrue,
Expert Report of Thomas J. Sugrue,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol5/iss1/13