restricted access Synopses of Other Important Works
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Synopses of Other Important Works How the Irish Became White: Noel Ignatiev In this landmark book, the writer (and editor of Race Traitor magazine) Noel Ignatiev expounds on a central theme in his work. Race is constructed, white-looking people regard whiteness as a good, and they struggle to get themselves defined that way. For the members of one ethnic group, however, the achievement of whiteness only "meant at first that they could sell themselves piecemeal instead of being sold for life, and later that they could compete for jobs in all spheres. .. In becoming white the Irish ceased to be Green" (pp. 2-3). Readers interested in labor history and the personal, political consequences of assuming-or shrugging off-a white identity will find How the Irish Became White sobering reading. (Please see Chapter 100 for an interview with Mr. Ignatiev.) Human Belief and "Race": Ian F. Haney Lopez In "The Social Construction of Race," 29 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1 (1994), Ian F. Haney Lopez takes issue with "ethnicity theorists," who hold that blacks and other minorities of color are just like Italians and Irish and should be able to rise by hard work and diligent assimilation of American values. Constructed and treated radically differently , African-Americans and "white ethnics" have greatly different life chances, possibilities of intermarriage, and opportunities for assimilation. None of this difference is biologically based, however. Haney Lopez points out that no genetic characteristic is possessed by every black but not by nonblacks. By the same token, no set of genes uniquely characterizes whites but not nonwhites: The lighest black is lighter than the darkest white, and vice versa. Small population groups, such as the Xhosa or the Basques, share certain physical traits among themselves, but these are not unique to them. The belief that humanity can be divided into five (or some other number of) great races reveals more about human belief than it does about race. In showing how law has been used to reinforce racial subordination, Haney Lopez reveals how racial divisions are relatively new constructions, subject to constant change. Copyrighted Material ...


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