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Whiteness of a Different Color : European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race
Whiteness of a Different Color European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race Author:Matthew Frye Jacobson America's racial odyssey is the subject of this remarkable work of historical imagination. Matthew Frye Jacobson argues that race resides not in nature but in the contingencies of politics and culture. In ever-changing racial categories we glimpse the competing theories of history and collective destiny by which power has been organized and cont... more »ested in the United States. Capturing the excitement of the new field of "whiteness studies" and linking it to traditional historical inquiry, Jacobson shows that in this nation of immigrants "race" has been at the core of civic assimilation: ethnic minorities in becoming American were reracialized to become Caucasian.« less
While in 2015 a lot of the material in here has become widely taught and accepted, this is still a valuable read, especially if you're new to the area of whiteness/race and ethnicity studies. Jacobson presents a good historical analysis of white privilege and the mutating and fluid category of whiteness in the U.S., using sources from court cases to popular films and novels. While the book isn't as theoretically ambitious as it could be, he covers a whole lot of ground and is consciously writing for a broader audience, making the text extremely accessible. There's very little discussion of lived experience or gender, and some groups (Mexicans and Native Americans) notably get the short end in terms of analysis, but the examples he uses definitely supports the central argument of race and racialization as being central to the formation and continuation of the United States.