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Poor Whites and the Paradox of Privilege
"Even though we lived a few blocks away in our neighborhood or sat a seat or two away in elementary school, a vast chasm of class and racial difference separated us from them."—From the Introduction
What is it like to be white, poor, and socially marginalized while, at the same time, surrounded by the glowing assumption of racial privilege? Kirby Moss, an African American anthropologist and journalist, goes back to his hometown in the Midwest to examine ironies of social class in the lives of poor whites. He purposely moves beyond the most stereotypical image of white poverty in the U.S.—rural Appalachian culture—to illustrate how poor whites carve out their existence within more complex cultural and social meanings of whiteness. Moss interacts with people from a variety of backgrounds over the course of his fieldwork, ranging from high school students to housewives. His research simultaneously reveals fundamental fault lines of American culture and the limits of prevailing conceptions of social order and establishes a basis for reconceptualizing the categories of color and class.
Ultimately Moss seeks to write an ethnography not only of whiteness but of blackness as well. For in struggling with the elusive question of class difference in U.S. society, Moss finds that he must also deal with the paradoxical nature of his own fragile and contested position as an unassumed privileged black man suspended in the midst of assumed white privilege.
Race, Violence, and Justice in the Post@-World War II South
On February 25, 1946, African Americans in Columbia, Tennessee, averted the lynching of James Stephenson, a nineteen-year-old, black Navy veteran accused of attacking a white radio repairman at a local department store. That night, after Stephenson was safely out of town, four of Columbia's police officers were shot and wounded when they tried to enter the town's black business district. The next morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol invaded the district, wrecking establishments and beating men as they arrested them. By day's end, more than one hundred African Americans had been jailed. Two days later, highway patrolmen killed two of the arrestees while they were awaiting release from jail.Drawing on oral interviews and a rich array of written sources, Gail Williams O'Brien tells the dramatic story of the Columbia "race riot," the national attention it drew, and its surprising legal aftermath. In the process, she illuminates the effects of World War II on race relations and the criminal justice system in the United States. O'Brien argues that the Columbia events are emblematic of a nationwide shift during the 1940s from mob violence against African Americans to increased confrontations between blacks and the police and courts. As such, they reveal the history behind such contemporary conflicts as the Rodney King and O. J. Simpson cases.Exploring the famous 1956 race riot in Columbia, Tennessee, this book reveals the roots of black distrust and conflict with the criminal justice system. The Columbia events are viewed as emblematic of the nation’s postwar shift from mob violence against blacks to increased confrontations between blacks and the police and the courts.On February 25, 1946, African Americans in Columbia, Tennessee, averted the lynching of James Stephenson, a nineteen-year-old, black Navy veteran accused of attacking a white radio repairman at a local department store. That night, after Stephenson was safely out of town, four of Columbia's police officers were shot and wounded when they tried to enter the town's black business district. The next morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol invaded the district, wrecking establishments and beating men as they arrested them. By day's end, more than one hundred African Americans had been jailed. Two days later, highway patrolmen killed two of the arrestees while they were awaiting release from jail.Drawing on oral interviews and a rich array of written sources, Gail Williams O'Brien tells the dramatic story of the Columbia "race riot," the national attention it drew, and its surprising legal aftermath. In the process, she illuminates the effects of World War II on race relations and the criminal justice system in the United States. O'Brien argues that the Columbia events are emblematic of a nationwide shift during the 1940s from mob violence against African Americans to increased confrontations between blacks and the police and courts. As such, they reveal the history behind such contemporary conflicts as the Rodney King and O. J. Simpson cases.
An Annotated Critical Edition
Pennsylvanian Quaker Anthony Benezet was one of the most important and prolific abolitionists of the eighteenth century. The first to combine religious and philosophical arguments with extensive documentation of the slave trade based on eyewitness reports from Africa and the colonies, Benezet's antislavery writings served as foundational texts for activists on both sides of the Atlantic. In England, those who incorporated his work into their own writings included Granville Sharp, John Wesley, Thomas Clarkson, and William Dillwyn, while Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, David Cooper, James Forten, Absalom Jones, and Richard Allen drew inspiration from his essays in America. Despite Benezet's pervasive influence during his lifetime, David L. Crosby's annotated edition represents the first time Benezet's antislavery works are available in one book.
In addition to assembling Benezet's canon, Crosby chronicles the development of Benezet's antislavery philosophy and places the aboli-tionist's writing in historical context. Each work is preceded by an editor's note that describes the circumstances surrounding its original publication and the significance of the selection.
Benezet's writings included in this edition:
An Epistle of Caution and Advice Concerning the Buying and Keeping of Slaves (1754)Observations on the Enslaving, Importing, and Purchasing of Negroes (1759--1760)A Short Account of that Part of Africa Inhabited by the Negroes (1762)A Caution and Warning to Great Britain and Her Colonies (1766--1767)Some Historical Account of Guinea (1771)Benezet's Notes to John Wesley's Thoughts upon Slavery (1774)Observations on Slavery (1778)Short Observations on Slavery (1783)
A valuable tool for scholars and students of African American history, slavery studies, and the Revolutionary era, The Complete Antislavery Writings of Anthony Benezet, 1754--1783 demonstrates the prevailing impact of the foremost pioneer in American abolitionism.
Chinese and Canadian Perspectives
Confronting Discrimination and Inequality in China focuses on the most challenging areas of discrimination and inequality in China, including discrimination faced by HIV/AIDS afflicted individuals, rural populations, migrant workers, women, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities. The Canadian contributors offer rich regional, national, and international perspectives on how constitutions, laws, policies, and practices, both in Canada and in other parts of the world, battle discrimination and the conflicts that rise out of it. The Chinese contributors include some of the most independent-minded scholars and practitioners in China. Their assessments of the challenges facing China in the areas of discrimination and inequality not only attest to their personal courage and intellectual freedom but also add an important perspective on this emerging superpower.
Edward Coles and the Rise of the Nineteenth-Century America
Edward Coles, who lived from 1786-1868, is most often remembered for his antislavery correspondence with Thomas Jefferson in 1814, freeing his slaves in 1819, and leading the campaign against the legalization of slavery in Illinois during the 1823-24 convention contest.
Systematically illustrates the inescapable racism of American conservatism. In this provocative, wide-ranging study, Robert C. Smith contends that ideological conservatism and racism are and always have been equivalent in the United States. In this carefully constructed and thoroughly documented philosophical, historical, and empirical inquiry, Smith analyzes conservative ideas from John Locke to William F. Buckley, Jr., as well as the parallels between the rise and decline of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1970s and the ascendancy of the conservative movement to national power in 1980. Using archival material from the Reagan library, the book includes detailed analysis of the Reagan presidency and race, focusing on affirmative action, the Voting Rights act, the Grove City case, welfare reform, South Africa policy, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They are the Same goes beyond a focus on the right wing, concluding with an analysis of the enduring impact of the conservative movement and the Reagan presidency on liberalism, race, and the Democratic Party.
Choosing Issues, Taking Sides
The formation of a group identity has always been a major preoccupation of Mexican American political organizations, whether they seek to assimilate into the dominant Anglo society or to remain separate from it. Yet organizations that sought to represent a broad cross section of the Mexican American population, such as LULAC and the American G.I. Forum, have dwindled in membership and influence, while newer, more targeted political organizations are prospering—clearly suggesting that successful political organizing requires more than shared ethnicity and the experience of discrimination. This book sheds new light on the process of political identity formation through a study of the identity politics practiced by four major Mexican American political organizations—the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, the Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation, the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce, and the Mexican American Women’s National Association (now known as MANA—A National Latina Organization). Through interviews with activists in each organization and research into their records, Benjamin Marquez clarifies the racial, class-based, and cultural factors that have caused these organizations to create widely differing political identities. He likewise demonstrates why their specific goals resonate only with particular segments of the Mexican American community.
American Abolitionists in Post-Emancipation Jamaica, 1834-1866
The Oberlin College mission to Jamaica, begun in the 1830s, was an ambitious, and ultimately troubled, effort to use the example of emancipation in the British West Indies to advance the domestic agenda of American abolitionists. White Americans hoped to argue that American slaves, once freed, could be absorbed productively into the society that had previously enslaved them, but their “civilizing mission” did not go as anticipated. Gale L. Kenny’s illuminating study examines the differing ideas of freedom held by white evangelical abolitionists and freed people in Jamaica and explores the consequences of their encounter for both American and Jamaican history.
Kenny finds that white Americans—who went to Jamaica intending to assist with the transition from slavery to Christian practice and solid citizenship—were frustrated by liberated blacks’ unwillingness to conform to Victorian norms of gender, family, and religion. In tracing the history of the thirty-year mission, Kenny makes creative use of available sources to unpack assumptions on both sides of this American-Jamaican interaction, showing how liberated slaves in many cases were able not just to resist the imposition of white mores but to redefine the terms of the encounter.