Black and Brown in America

The Case for Cooperation

216 pages

April, 1997

ISBN: 9780814766453



Also available in



Part of the Critical America series


Bill Piatt is J. Hadley Edgar Professor of Law at Texas Tech University and the author of Only English? Law and Language Policy in the United States and Language on the Job: Balancing Business Needs and Employee Rights. He received his J. D. from the University of New Mexico.

All books by William Piatt

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Too often, when America speaks of race, it is in black and white terms. Dialogue surrounding race seems always to position whiteness as the center around which all other colors revolve. Meanwhile relations between minorities are largely ignored, surfacing in our consciousness only when tensions flare, as in the case of Black-Korean violence in Los Angeles.

In our life times, Whites will no longer constitute a majority in America. As a result, Black/Brown relations—and the need for this relationship to be fruitful and mutually supportive—take on an even greater urgency. Yet, this relationship has been troubled, characterized too often by a misguided sense of competitiveness, hostility, and even violence, as evidenced by the Miami race riots of the 1980s.

In this brief, accessible, impassioned volume, Bill Piatt surveys Black/Brown relations in their entirety, devoting chapters to such issues as competition in a shrinking labor market, the re-segregation of our public schools, the language barrier, gang warfare, and voting coalitions. Reviewing similarities and differences between the Black and Brown experience in America, Bill Piatt emphasizes the need for solidarity and mutual understanding and offers explicit proposals for greater racial harmony. Blacks and Browns must get along not only for their sake, he argues, but for a stronger, more stable America.


  • ”This fresh and significant scholarship should be of great interest to students of race in the Americas, the African diaspora, borderland studies, comparative empires and anyone drawn to insightful, thought-provoking historical writing.”

    Hispanic American Historical Review

  • ”Always fascinating, often brilliant.”

    Diplomatic History

  • ”Horne’s study raises thorny yet critical questions and offers a nuanced reading of both black emigrants and soldiers, cautioning against an overly romanticized vision of either group. Readers interested in the history of black men’s military participation and the broader history of American social and political history in the First World War era will find this book a welcome addition to the literature.”

    —Social History

  • ”Horne tells this story in expert fashion...The book's strengths lie in its thick description of how perceptions about the revolution affected black-white relations in the United States, an achievement that points the way toward a better understanding of civil rights history in the context of international relations.”

    The Journal of American History