Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs

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Basic Books, Aug 8, 2006 - History - 416 pages
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How did immigrants to the United States come to see themselves as white?
David R. Roediger has been in the vanguard of the study of race and labor in American history for decades. He first came to prominence as the author of The Wages of Whiteness, a classic study of racism in the development of a white working class in nineteenth-century America. In Working Toward Whiteness, Roediger continues that history into the twentieth century. He recounts how ethnic groups considered white today-including Jewish-, Italian-, and Polish-Americans-were once viewed as undesirables by the WASP establishment in the United States. They eventually became part of white America, through the nascent labor movement, New Deal reforms, and a rise in home-buying. Once assimilated as fully white, many of them adopted the racism of those whites who formerly looked down on them as inferior. From ethnic slurs to racially restrictive covenants-the real estate agreements that ensured all-white neighborhoods-Roediger explores the mechanisms by which immigrants came to enjoy the privileges of being white in America.
A disturbing, necessary, masterful history, Working Toward Whiteness uses the past to illuminate the present. In an Introduction to the 2018 edition, Roediger considers the resonance of the book in the age of Trump, showing how Working Toward Whiteness remains as relevant as ever even though most migrants today are not from Europe.
 

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User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

David R. Roediger’s Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs synthesizes much of the previous work on the ethnic tensions ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - xenchu - LibraryThing

I just couldn't finish this book. The author wrote like he was afraid a layman would like his book and lower his status among scholars. It was filled with references and dull prose. It finally wore me down. I would not recommend this book unless you are writing a paper. Read full review

Contents

New Immigrants Race and Ethnicity in
3
INBETWEENNESS
57
New Immigrant Racial Consciousness
93
The Ironies
133
Finding Homes in an Era of Restriction
157
of Whiteness
235
Acknowledgments
245
Index
321
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About the author (2006)

David R. Roediger is the Foundation Professor of American Studies at University of Kansas. The author of The Wages of Whiteness, among other books, he lives in Lawrence, KS.

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