The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class

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Verso, 1999 - History - 200 pages
18 Reviews
Combining classical Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the new labor history pioneered by E. P. Thompson and Herbert Gutman, David Roediger's widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States. This, he argues, cannot be explained simply with reference to economic advantage; rather, white working-class racism is underpinned by a complex series of psychological and ideological mechanisms that reinforce racial stereotypes, and thus help to forge the identities of white workers in opposition to Blacks.

In an afterword to this new edition, Roediger discusses recent studies of whiteness and the changing face of labor itself. He surveys criticism of his work, accepting many objections whilst challenging others, especially the view that the study of working class racism implies a rejection of Marxism and radical politics.
  

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Review: The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class

User Review  - Drick - Goodreads

This book gives an historical overview of how whiteness developed as a category of privilege and advantage in US history. Roediger is a labor historian and challenges the Marxist approach to racism ... Read full review

Review: The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class

User Review  - Paulm - Goodreads

Good book, but some of his connections seem a little, well, disconnected. Being from the South, I can buy his argument. But based on textual analysis alone....it's kinda weak. Read full review

Contents

Settler Colonialism
19
Race and the Languages of Class from the Revolution
41
White Slaves Wage Slaves and Free White Labor
65
Work Culture and Whiteness in Industrializing America
93
Minstrelsy and White Working
115
IrishAmerican Workers and White Racial Formation
133
The Limits of Emancipation and the Fate
165
Afterword to the Revised Edition
185
Index
191
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

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), How Race Survived US History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon, and The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. 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.

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

Michael Sprinker was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His Imaginary Relations: Aesthetics and Ideology in the History of Historical Materialism and History and Ideology in Proust are also published by Verso. Together with Mike Davis, he founded Verso's Haymarket Series and guided it until his death in 1999.

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