Are Italians White?: How Race is Made in America

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Psychology Press, 2003 - Social Science - 328 pages
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When Italian immigrants landed on American shores they were outsiders: dark in complexion, culturally different and unable to speak English. Over time the vibrant community assimilated and moved from being ethnically suspect to being racially privileged as America divided into black and white. This collection of original essays from some of the countries' leading thinkers asks the question are Italians white?. Each piece explores how, when and why whiteness became important to Italian Americans, and the significance of gender, class and nation to racial identity. From tales of immigration to the stormy relationship between Italians and blacks, the volume presents an insightful look at integration, community identity, radicalism, urban politics and creative expression. The authors also explore critical moments in community conflict from the murder of Yusef Hawkins in Bensonhurst to Frank Sinatra's visit to Italian Harlem in the 1940s.

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About the author (2003)

Jennifer Guglielmo is Assistant Professor of History at Smith College. Salvatore Salerno is an independent scholar who has taught at University of Massachusetts at Boston, California State University at Sacramento, and Macalester College. David Roediger (afterword) is the Kendrick Babcock Professor of History at the University of Illinois and the author of many books, including Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class.

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