When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 17, 2006 - History - 272 pages
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A groundbreaking work that exposes the twisted origins of affirmative action.

In this "penetrating new analysis" (New York Times Book Review) Ira Katznelson fundamentally recasts our understanding of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. Through mechanisms designed by Southern Democrats that specifically excluded maids and farm workers, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. In the words of noted historian Eric Foner, "Katznelson's incisive book should change the terms of debate about affirmative action, and about the last seventy years of American history."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aketzle - LibraryThing

Learned a lot in this book! Very important reading! Highly recommended. Puts the whole concept of affirmative action in historical context compared to all the times when government action was essentially an economic launching pad for white people at the expense of black Americans. Read full review

WHEN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WAS WHITE: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America

User Review  - Kirkus

A searching study of institutional inequality, much of it wrought, then as now, by the South."Three-fourths of us are disenfranchised; yet no writer on democratic reform says a word about Negroes ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Ira Katznelson is Columbia University's Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History. Having served as president of the American Political Science Association, he is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is also the author of Fear Itself and When Affirmative Action Was White.

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