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

We found 14 Reddit comments about The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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14 Reddit comments about The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class:

u/wagesofwhiteness · 36 pointsr/politics

You've discovered a theory that's actually orthodoxy in many History classrooms.

Unfortunately history indicates that if you remove color, the underclass is easily fractured along other lines. Most of early Industrial America was segregated by ethnicity -- color, language, origin and religion, are all powerful dividing attributes. The Marxist interpretation is that the ruling class is often dependent on fostering squabbling within the underclass and promotes these divides wherever possible. Look to the Presidential Elections in '00 and '04 to hear George W Bush simultaneously decry Democratic tax policy as "class warfare" against the rich while his party continued the argument that entitlements were a war waged by immigrants and minorities against the working class.

If you're interested in pursuing this further, I highly recommend:
[The Wages of Whiteness] (

u/Sixteenbit · 14 pointsr/history

This is something that takes a lot of practice, and many schools don't or can't teach it. Fear not, it's easier than it sounds.

First, some background:

This will introduce you to most of the historical method used today. It's quite boring, but if you're going to study history, you'll need to get used to reading some pretty dry material.

For a styleguide, use Diana Hacker's:

It will teach you everything you need to know about citations.

As far as getting better at source analysis, that's something that comes with time in class and practice with primary and secondary source documents. If you're just going into college, it's something you're going to learn naturally.

However, I do have some tips.
-The main goal of a piece of historiography is to bring you to a thesis and then clearly support that argument. All REAL historiography asks a historical question of some sort. I.E. not when and where, but a more contextual why and how.

-Real historiography is produced 99.9% of the time by a university press, NOT A PRIVATE FIRM. If a celebrity wrote it, it's probably not history.

-Most, if not all real historiography is going to spell out the thesis for you almost immediately.

-A lot of historiography is quite formulaic in terms of its layout and how it's put together on paper:

A. Introduction -- thesis statement and main argument followed by a brief review of past historiography on the subject.

B Section 1 of the argument with an a,b, and c point to make in support.

C just like B

D just like B again, but reinforces A a little more

E Conclusion, ties all sections together and fully reinforces A.

Not all works are like this, but almost every piece you will write in college is or should be.

Some history books that do real history (by proper historians) and are easy to find arguments in, just off the top of my head:

For the primer on social histories, read Howard Zinn:

What you're going to come across MORE often than books is a series of articles that make different (sometimes conflicting) points about a historical issue: (I can't really link the ones I have because of copyright [they won't load without a password], but check out google scholar until you have access to a university library)

Virtually any subject can be researched, you just have to look in the right place and keep an open mind about your thesis. Just because you've found a source that blows away your thesis doesn't mean it's invalid. If you find a wealth of that kind of stuff, you might want to rethink your position, though.

This isn't comprehensive, but I hope it helps. Get into a methods class AS FAST AS POSSIBLE and your degree program will go much, much smoother for you.

u/kanelel · 13 pointsr/ChapoTrapHouse

Race is fake as fuck, it's a scam made up by rich whites in the 1600s to divide the working class. The Romans didn't see themselves as white, they hated "barbarians" to be sure, but their ways of categorizing people as subhuman did not at all line up with our modern conception of race (which itself doesn't line up with our pre-1900s conception of race, when the hell did those paddies get rights anyway?). The current system didn't begin until rich whites needed a way to justify slavery and to keep the slaves, indentured servants, and poor whites from working together to overthrow them.

Here's a long video about this,
a short video about this,
a book about this,
and another short video about fascism.

Also, "degeneracy" is unironically good, bourgeois social mores have to fucking die already.

u/laserbot · 10 pointsr/ShitLiberalsSay

Here is a good book you should read on the subject

Common sense doesn't stand up to the data.

u/ImpressiveFood · 8 pointsr/AskTrumpSupporters

Oh, I don't feel it because I'm voting against my own interests?

Let's say that's the case. Why don't I feel it?

On a side note, I certainly understand why some working class whites vote against their own interests. That's not some great mystery. There's been a lot of analysis on that question.

This book is a classic:

u/Supah_Schmendrick · 6 pointsr/TheMotte

I'm willing to believe you that people do conflate politics and phenotype. However, I strongly doubt that, in the case of whiteness, such a conflation is warranted. Moreover, I'd be willing to bet that most of the people who interact with and observe the IOTBW phenomenon know this. This is because the struggle over left-idpol these days appears to be largely an intra-white phenomenon. There has been significant news coverage and discussion of this. Moreover, whites do not vote as a monolithic ethnic bloc.

Now, it's true that battles over the concept of "whiteness" map fairly cleanly onto some political divides (though you'll still see lots of putatively conservative outlets like National Review disclaiming "whiteness" in favor of the idea of the U.S. as a color-blind, propositional nation), but that's a fight over a sociological category, not an actual phenotype. Robin DiAngelo is phenotypically white. David Roediger is phenotypically white. Noel Ignatiev was white. Tim Wise is phenotypically white. Etc., etc. So yeah, IOTBW is an ideological statement as well as a racial one. But IOTBW is not the same as elevating phenotypic preference to within the same ballpark as culture and criminality in choosing neighbors and family. Phenotypic preference places bike-lock professor dude above Daryl Davis, which just seems [Edit: removed an unnecessarily inflammatory word] like an unacceptable result to me.

u/Da_Jibblies · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'll attempt to tackle this question:

First, most historians would disagree with Chomsky in regards to the 20th century being the only time that African Americans had a chance of "entering" American society (despite the fact that they already inhabit American society, though we will give Chomsky a pass and assume he meant equitable access to meritocracy and large scale integration). For instance, many scholars, such as David Roediger, have written about the period of Reconstruction as one in which a multi-racial and inclusive society was possible, and the failure of this possibility is reflective of the prevailing influence of race, class, and the importance of the "wages of whiteness" in perpetuating racism and racial divide. If you are interested in this topic, I would recommend two of Roediger's influential works; The Wages of Whiteness and How Race Survived U.S History

In regards to Chomsky's statements on the Drug War, largely, I would agree. However, I would push them and state that the Drug War is part of a longer history dating back to Reconstruction in which the criminalization and institutionalization of African Americans was a means to control and subvert their population. Some historians have gone as far as to say that mass incarceration of African Americans has come to replace slave labor in the United States, as these prisoners (then and now) were forced to work for little to no wages for certain industries (picking cotton in the South for example). There are many scholarly articles and monographs on the subject, however, if you are interested in the post Civil Rights era I would recommend The New Jim Crowe as an a starting point.

In regards to the last fact, I suppose the claim is subjective to what one defines as "freedom". However, many historians have demonstrated that whatever "freedom" blacks have gained throughout their history, it has always been subjected and juxtaposed with the unequal access to particular rights, liberties, and resources available to whites. George Lipsitz has written that public policy and private prejudice has been intertwined throughout American history, leading to tangible benefits for whites in terms of education and employment and an "investment" in whiteness against Blackness. Moreover, Du Bois wrote in Black Reconstruction that whiteness provided particular "psychological and public wages" that promoted racial prejudice and racial stratification. It is through this paradigm in which Chomsky's statements must be viewed. Largely I agree with his statements, though I wish he would preface them with the scholarly and theoretical underpinnings in which I have attempted to provide you. If you are interested in the subject, I would highly recommend reading Lipsitz's work that I have linked and Roediger's How Race Survived U.S history as an entry point.

u/tomtomglove · 3 pointsr/news

currently, yes. but historically, pitting whites against blacks has been extremely successful as a tactic to suppress labor rights for decades and decades. Whites have exchanged fair wages for psychological superiority. Check out The Wages of Whiteness:

u/Soapbox · 2 pointsr/WTF

If you have an interest in the topic there's no reason you shouldn't I guess... The books are often read together since the first one tries to describe the way people viewed race in America and how whites tried to differentiate themselves from blacks. The second talks about competition and struggle of groups we today consider Caucasian into entering the public perception of whiteness- and in turn the resistance they faced from the already established white category.

The Wages of Whiteness "in broadest strokes argues that whiteness was a way in which white workers responded to fear of dependency on wage labor and to the necessities of capitalist work discipline."

Whiteness of a Different Color really goes into detail describing each nationalities' assent into whiteness. The way race was spoken of, and how it changed meanings over time both in a scientific terms as well as public perception.

u/tacobongo · 2 pointsr/TheAdventureZone

You are viewing whiteness as an innate, essentialist trait. What's being talked about here is whiteness as a social construction and how it functions. I recommend checking out The Wages of Whiteness or much of the work of James Baldwin if you're interested in exploring this idea at all. But ultimately whether you personally participated in genocide, for instance, is utterly beside the point.

u/HiFiGyri · 1 pointr/racism

If you haven't read them, you may also be interested in some of this author's previous work... specifically, The Wages of Whiteness and Working Toward Whiteness.

Also, Noel Ignatiev's How the Irish Became White.

PS The promotional flyer for the new book includes a code for 20% off preorders from the Oxford University Press website.

u/Jdf121 · 1 pointr/communism101

She sounds incredibly diluted.. If you have time to put towards some actual study, I recommend The Wages of Whiteness. The basic premise is that racism are the branches of a tree rooted in classism. Bourgeoisie owners found that if they turn the working class against each other based on race, they have less to worry about. I think this book would give you some really good insight. While it isn't the instant gratification you were looking for, it will help you coalesce the bigger argument and prepare you for any future similar interaction.

u/JanePoe87 · 0 pointsr/inthenews

From the article:

" this Halloween is like every Halloween of the last two or so decades, at least one white college student or minor celebrity will arrive at a party wearing dark-brown face paint as part of a costume imitating a famous black person, photos of the incident will emerge on the Internet, and condemnations will rain down from authority figures.

In recent years, Facebook surveillors discovered and publicized photos of six University of Southern Mississippi students who colored their white skin to depict the Huxtable family from The Cosby Show, two Northwestern University students who painted themselves coal-black and dressed as Bob Marley and Serena Williams, Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes and his wife dressed and darkened as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and a blonde Dallas Cowboys cheerleader appearing at a costume event as the rapper Lil' Wayne, complete with gold teeth, long black braids, tattoos, and chocolate-brown makeup covering her body.

As with all blackface performers since the civil rights era, charges against the latest range from insensitivity to outright racism. But virtually all critics of blackface agree that, as the Northwestern University president put it, the practice "demeans a segment of our community."

Some recent instances of blackface were obviously and viciously hostile toward African Americans. A photo of a 2001 Halloween party at the University of Mississippi showed a white student dressed as a policeman holding a gun to the head of another, who was wearing blackface and a straw hat while kneeling and picking cotton. A year later, two fraternity brothers at Oklahoma State were photographed wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and holding a noose over the head of another sporting black face paint and a striped prisoner's uniform.

But while blackface is nearly always assumed to be anti-black, the most common charge against contemporary blackface performers is that they are ignorant of its meaning and history—that they don't "know" that it's necessarily bigoted—which suggests that their intentions were not in fact hostile.

In fact, blackface performances are not always unambiguously antagonistic toward African Americans. Several scholars of the phenomenon have argued that blackface has usually been, to some degree, an expression of envy and an unconscious rebellion against what it means to be "white." There is substantial evidence that this was especially true in the first half of the 19th century, when white men first painted their faces with burnt cork and imitated slaves on stage in what were called "minstrel" shows.

Some early blackface minstrel performance was clearly little more than anti-black parody, but many historians see the songs and dances of T.D. Rice, Dan Emmett, Dan Rice (Abraham Lincoln's favorite), and other originators of the genre as expressions of desire for the freedoms they saw in the culture of slaves. "Just as the minstrel stage held out the possibility that whites could be 'black' for awhile but nonetheless white," David Roediger, the leading historian of "whiteness," has written, "it offered the possibilities that, via blackface, preindustrial joys could survive amidst industrial discipline." Similarly, the Smith College scholar W.T. Lhamon argues that slave culture represented liberation to blackface performers and fans, who "unmistakably expressed fondness for black wit and gestures." In early blackface minstrel shows, whites identified with blacks as representations of all the freedoms and pleasures that employers, moral reformers, and churches "were working to suppress."

The latest addition to this revision of our understanding of blackface is Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen's book Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy From Slavery to Hip-Hop. The authors focus on the many, largely unknown, African Americans who performed in blackface from before the Civil War to the middle of the 20th century, but they also rescue white blackface performance from the simplistic moralizing that normally greets it. "If you dismiss [minstrelsy] as simply 'demeaning,'" they write, "you miss half the picture."

Taylor and Austen's book is an encyclopedic record of not only the black performers who coaled their faces but also of the minstrelsy's many contributions to what is now considered respectable popular culture: "If we were to throw out every song originally composed for the minstrel stage, every joke first uttered by painted minstrel lips, every performer who blackened up, every dance step developed for the olio (variety) portion of a minstrel show, our entertainment coffers might seem bare." They show that much of American music, dance, and comedy originated in an art form that was "wildly popular with black audiences" but is now reflexively dismissed as mere racism. For whites, they argue, minstrelsy offered the opportunity to indulge in a "carefree life liberated from oppression, responsibilities, and burdens"; and for blacks it represented freedom as well. "Despite the appearance of minstrelsy as a servile tradition, there were elements ofliberation in it from its very beginning, and these were instrumental to its popularity."

The enormous popularity of blackface in the 19th century cannot be explained without understanding that it coincided with a period in American culture in which Puritan values merged with Victorian ideas about work, leisure, sex, and emotional expression. Nineteenth-century children's books, school primers, newspaper editorials, poems, pamphlets, sermons, and political speeches told Americans that work in itself was a virtue, regardless of what one gained from it materially. European visitors frequently commented on what they called the American "disease of work." Typical was a popular textbook of the time, which instructed children that "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do."

There was no such idea of work as godly in Africa, nor among American slaves. According to the African-American social scientist W.E.B. DuBois, the slave "was not as easily reduced to be the mechanical draft-horse which the northern European laborer became. He was not easily brought to recognize any ethical sanctions in work as such but tended to work as the results pleased him and refused to work or sought to refuse when he did not find the spiritual returns adequate; thus he was easily accused of laziness and driven as a slave when in truth he brought to modern manual labor a renewed valuation of life."



u/stupid_sexyflanders · -1 pointsr/Portland

Seriously, everyone in the /r/news thread didn't even read PCC's mission statement with this project, and instead only read the editorialized headline. This isn't about shaming white people, it's about deconstructing what the idea of "white" even means. People should read David Roediger's Wages of Whiteness. if they want an idea of what PCC is exploring here.

Edit: And for those that want to read PCC's mission statement, and not a biased article: