Creating the New Right Ethnic in 1970s America: The Intersection of Anger and Nostalgia
Harrisburg Area Community College
This work analyzes the “New Ethnicity” of the 1970s as a way of understanding the United States’ political turn to the right during that decade. An upsurge of vocal ethnic consciousness among second-, third-, and fourth-generation Southern and Eastern Europeans, the New Ethnicity both challenged and emulated earlier identity movements such as Black Power. Richard Moss’s Creating the New Right Ethnic in 1970s America (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017) explains how the reassertion of ethnicity involved the invention of symbols and traditions. Public intellectuals created a mythical white ethnic who shunned welfare, valued the family, and provided an antidote to liberal elitism and neighborhood breakdown. The image of hard-working, self-sufficient ethnics who took care of their own neighborhood problems became powerful currency in politicians’ effort to create racial divisions and dismantle New Deal and Great Society protections.