The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (Haymarket) Paperback – 9 Sep 1999
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""At last an American labor historian realizes that white workers have a racial identity that matters as race matters to workers who are not white."" -- Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University. "A Timely and important intervention I the current debates over 'race' and ethnicity." - Catherine Hall, New Left Review. ""Roediger's exciting book makes us understand what it means to see oneself as white in a new way. An extremely important and insightful book."" - Lawrence Glickman, The Nation. "The Celestine Prophesy of whiteness studies" - SPLN
About the Author
David Roediger is Kendrick Babcock Chair of History at the University of Illinois. Among his books are Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day (with Philip S. Foner), and Towards the Abolition of Whiteness. He is the editor of Fellow Worker: The Life of Fred Thompson, The North and Slavery and Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White as well as a new edition of Covington Hall's Labor Struggles in the Deep South. His articles have appeared in New Left Review, Against the Current, Radical History Review, History Workshop Journal, The Progressive and Tennis. His current research is on immigration and racial formation in the U.S.
Top Customer Reviews
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The book basically explores how white workers (with an emphasis on Irish Americans) sought after a "wage" for their color, by placing on Black Americans the mantle of "other", objectifying and stratifying blacks into an object of prejudice and discrimination.
After a lengthy discussion of the historiography of labor and race issues, Roediger writes eloquently of the cultural formation of words such as slave, servant, hired hand, freeman, white slave, master and boss. All of which, he argues, were used to diferentiate between blacks and white laborers. He is careful to point out that it was the workers themselves who created the terms as a means to divide the races and elevate whites on the hierarchy of social status. It is a convincing arguement. The text concludes with an enlightening discussion of "black face" and the social struggles of the Irish, whom many felt in the majority viewed as "white negroes."
This book is scholarly and a read that demands one's attention.
Overall, a great work of historical scholarship that should be read by every serious historian.
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