The Meaning of Difference focuses on the social construction of difference as it operates in American formulations of race and ethnicity, sex and gender, social class, sexual orientation, and disability. The conceptual structure of this text-reader comes from four framework essays that addressing the construction of difference, the experience of difference, the social meaning of difference, and social actions that might bridge differences. Each framework essay is followed by a set of readings selected for readability, conceptual depth, and applicability to a variety of statuses. Boxed inserts throughout offer first-person accounts, many of them from students. The readings in this edition, which include twenty-four new readings and ten new personal accounts, have been selected to speak to contemporary assumptions of a “post-racial” America.