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American Identity and the Politics of Multiculturalism, David O. Sears and Jack Citrin

Reviewed by Tim Reeskens



Continuing immigration flows as well as institutional shifts incorporating notions of multiculturalism to accommodate ethnic and cultural diversity have spurred academic debates about whether American national identity is waning. Samuel P. Huntington’s Who Are We? is one of the most pessimist voices in this debate, as he claims that these transitions threaten the American creed. In American Identity and the Politics of Multiculturalism, Jack Citrin and David O. Sears—two eeminences grises of the study of national and political identities—once again join forces to successfully attenuate the claim that American identity conflicts with the idea of multiculturalism.

Their analysis of representative social surveys first and foremost refutes the idea that expressions of American identity are in decline. Americans of all major ethnic groups have over the years grown stronger in their patriotic sentiments in spite of a persisting color line. First, compelling evidence confirms the black exceptionalism paradigm of blacks holding stronger ethnic attachments and weaker patriotic sentiments than whites and Latinos. Their somewhat lower patriotism is combined with more critical opinions toward the historical elements that set blacks back in the past. Second, this book further disqualifies the Hispanization thesis. Unique longitud

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