Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

Scholars debate whether new immigrants will join minority native-born groups, especially African-Americans, in battling racial disparities, income inequalities, and discrimination in the United States. Although scholars have investigated inter-minority coalition-building in the context of electoral politics, a substantial share of newer immigrant social and political action has not been formalized. Social change organizations play an integral role in less formalized politics. The article draws upon ethnographic data on two case study organizations to investigate how they built coalitions between immigrants and non-immigrants. It pinpoints the ways in which they engaged in storytelling to emphasize multiple identity – namely, how any single individual might concurrently have many identifiers based on race, class, gender, and other factors – and elicit complex life narratives that help groups to find overlapping interests and form cross-cutting alliances. The strengths and weaknesses of these organizations’ efforts have implications for coalition-building efforts in other multi-racial settings as well, especially those with large immigrant populations.

 
 

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