PART VII: The Ladder of Whiteness
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Part VII The Ladder of Whiteness Our society prides itself on the way it holds out the promise of upward mobility to all groups, including immigrants. The lines etched on the base of the Statue of Liberty ("Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free") imply that all are welcome and that anyone who works hard can enter the mainstream of society and achieve the American dream. Yet many immigrant groups have found the going tough. Some, such as the Irish, were surprised to find that they were considered nonwhite; others were puzzled that working hard and attaining high occupational prestige did not enable them to cast off working-class origins and worries after all. And what of merit? Can a white with extremely high test scores, for example, make his or her way in the world if he or she lacks a mentor and is excluded, by reason of lower-class origins , from networks of influence and information? Can he or she cast off blue-collar or "ethnic" origins and fit easily into upper-class society? What of those bastions of white privilege and Anglo-Saxon supremacy, Ivy League schools? Can one get as good an education at a state university , and rise as far in the world? Copyrighted Material Copyrighted Material ...


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