Abstract

Arnold Schwarzenegger's election as governor of California in the 2003 recall campaign is rife with cruel ironies. An immigrant himself, he beat the grandson of Mexican immigrants, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, by playing the race card, and managed to dodge allegations of his praise for Hitler as a strong leader. While the pundits say that the California recall was about angry voters lashing back at faithless, self-dealing politicians, more lurks beneath the surface. In California, racial and ethnic minorities now comprise a majority of the population, and the recall election brought barely concealed and seething schisms to the surface. Californians, like Americans elsewhere, are intensely divided over immigration and react in very different ways to the increasing political muscle of immigrants of color. The authors articulate, in the form of a top ten list, the ongoing unraveling of race relations in California.