White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001 [Wintz Review]
White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001, Michael Phillips, (The University of Texas Press, P.O. Box 7819, Austin, TX, 78713-7819) 2006. Contents. Illus. Notes. Biblio. Index. P. 267.
East Texas Historical Journal
Volume XLV (45), Number 2, Fall 2007
Cary D. Wintz, Distinguished Professor of History and Geography
Texas Southern University
As the writing of Texas history has grown increasingly sophisticated in recent years, relatively little of this new scholarship has been directed at the history of Texas cities. Michael Phillips addresses this shortcoming in White Metropolis, his study of Dallas from its founding to 2001. Phillips’ focus is race, but not as it is usually conceptualized. This is not a history of African Americans in Dallas, or for that matter a study of Dallas race relations. Instead Phillips organizes his study around the concept of race in all of complexity. Influenced in part by Neil Foley’s tri-racial study of black, Mexican American and poor white workers in Texas agriculture, Phillips broadens our usually narrow concept of race to include blacks, along with Mexican Americans, immigrants (especially those from southern and eastern Europe), the white working class, Jews, Catholics, and even women. These otherwise disparate groups share the fate of having been marginalized and oppressed—sometimes violently—by the white power elite that dominated Dallas’ political and economic development and controlled its history and its image of itself.
Central to Phillip’s analysis of Dallas history is the theory of “whiteness,” which the author defines as much as an attitude as a complexion. “Whiteness rested on a steadfast belief in racial differences, support of capitalism, faith in rule by the wealthy, certitude that competition and inequity arose from nature, and rejection of an activist government that redistributed political or economic power.” (12)…
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