Working Toward Whiteness

Working Toward Whiteness

How America's Immigrants Became White ; the Strange Journey From Ellis Island to the Suburbs

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
In Working Toward Whiteness, David R. Roediger brings the history of his now-classic The Wages of Whiteness, foward into the twentieth century. Roediger recounts how American ethnnic groups considered white today -- including Jewish-, Italian-, and Polish-Americans -- once occupied a liminal racial status in their new country, and only gradually received the status of "white" Americans. From ethnic slurs to racially restrictive covenants -- the racist real estate agreements that keep immigrants out of white neighborhoods -- Roediger explores the murky realities of race in twentieth-century America. Working Toward Whiteness charts the strange transformation of these new immigrants into the "white ethnics" of American today.

Perseus Publishing
How did immigrants to the United States come to see themselves as white?

David R. Roediger has been in the vanguard of the study of race and labor in American history for decades. He first came to prominence as the author of The Wages of Whiteness, a classic study of racism in the development of a white working class in nineteenth-century America. In Working Toward Whiteness, Roediger continues that history into the twentieth century. He recounts how ethnic groups considered white today-including Jewish-, Italian-, and Polish-Americans-were once viewed as undesirables by the WASP establishment in the United States. They eventually became part of white America, through the nascent labor movement, New Deal reforms, and a rise in home-buying. Once assimilated as fully white, many of them adopted the racism of those whites who formerly looked down on them as inferior. From ethnic slurs to racially restrictive covenants-the real estate agreements that ensured all-white neighborhoods-Roediger explores the mechanisms by which immigrants came to enjoy the privileges of being white in America.

A disturbing, necessary, masterful history, Working Toward Whiteness uses the past to illuminate the present. In an Introduction to the 2018 edition, Roediger considers the resonance of the book in the age of Trump, showing how Working Toward Whiteness remains as relevant as ever even though most migrants today are not from Europe.


A preeminent scholar explores the history of the "new immigrants" who came to the United States in the late nineteenth century and describes how they became insiders by the end of World War II.


Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2005]
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9780465070749
0465070744
9780465070732
0465070736
Branch Call Number: 305.562 ROEDI
Characteristics: 339 pages ; 25 cm

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