The dawn of the new millennium bore witness to an unprecedented transformation of the population in the Southeastern United States as evidenced by Dr. Jennifer A. Jones
in her new book The Browning of the New South
(University of Chicago Press, 2019). Jones, an Assistant Professor of Sociology as well as Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, examines the evolution of race relations in the face of rapid demographic change as Mexican immigrants move into the traditionally biracial American South. Employing a community-based ethnographic approach, Jones vividly illustrates shifting Southern race relations through the case study of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Browning of the New South
contributes to the scholarship on immigration and racial formation by revealing the mechanisms that spur collaboration (rather than division) between Latino immigrants and African Americans in a process that Jones calls “minority linked fate.” Counter to a generally national conception of racial formation, Jones emphasizes its local
nature, not simply based on preexisting racial hierarchies or phenotype but instead on personal experiences of discrimination, unique social pressures, and local political dynamics. Ultimately, this study of the newly triracial South has immense implications for the future of U.S. politics and our understanding of how race is made.
Jaime Sánchez, Jr. is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University and a scholar of U.S. politics and Latino studies. He is currently writing an institutional history of the Democratic National Committee and partisan coalition politics in the twentieth century. You can follow him on Twitter @Jaime_SanchezJr