Racial Theories in Context (Second Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Law, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-15 00:05Z by Steven

Racial Theories in Context (Second Edition)

224 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60927-056-8

Edited by:

Jared Sexton, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Film & Media Studies
University of California, Irvine

This book presents a critical framework for understanding how and why race matters — past, present, and future. The readings trace the historical emergence of modern racial thinking in Western society by examining religious, moral, aesthetic, and scientific writing; legal statutes and legislation; political debates and public policy; and popular culture. Readers will follow the shifting ideological bases upon which modern racial theories have rested, from religion to science to culture, and the links between race, class, gender, and sexuality, and between notions of race and the nation-state.

The authors of Racial Theories in Context discuss the relationship of racial theories to material contexts of racial oppression and to democratic struggles for freedom and equality:

  • First and foremost in this discussion is the vast system of racial slavery instituted throughout the Atlantic world and the international movement that sought its abolition.
  • Continuing campaigns to redress racial divisions in health, wealth, housing, employment, and education are also examined.
  • There is a focus on the specificity of racial formation in the United States and the centrality of anti-black racism.
  • The book also looks comparatively at other regions of racial inequality and the construction of a global racial hierarchy since the 15th century CE.


  • Introduction / Jared Sexton
  • A Long History of Affirmative Action—For Whites / Larry Adelman
  • The Cost of Slavery / Dalton Conley
  • Statement on Gender Violence and the Prison-Industrial Complex / INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and Critical Resistance
  • Introduction To Racism: A Short History / George M. Fredrickson
  • Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West / Darlene Clark Hine
  • Understanding the Problematic of Race Through the Problem of Race-Mixture / Thomas C. Holt
  • The Sexualization of Reconstruction Politics / Martha Hodes
  • The Original Housing Crisis / Derek S. Hoff
  • The American Dream, or a Nightmare for Black America? / Joshua Holland
  • The Hidden Cost of Being African American / Michael Hout
  • Slavery and Proto-Racism in Greco-Roman Antiquity / Benjamin Isaac
  • Colorblind Racism / Sally Lehrman
  • The Wealth Gap Gets Wider / Meizhu Lui
  • Sub-Prime as a Black Catastrophe / Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro
  • Unshackling Black Motherhood / Dorothy E. Roberts
  • Is Race -Based Medicine Good for Us? / Dorothy E. Roberts
  • Understanding Reproductive Justice / Loretta J. Ross
  • The History of the Idea of Race / Audrey Smedley
  • The Liberal Retreat From Race / Stephen Steinberg
  • “Race Relations” / Stephen Steinberg
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Racial Classification and History

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-18 02:20Z by Steven

Racial Classification and History

376 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-8153-2602-1

Edited by

E. Nathaniel Gates (1955-2006)
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Yeshiva University

Explores the concept of “race”

The term “race,” which originally denoted genealogical or class identity, has in the comparatively brief span of 300 years taken on an entirely new meaning. In the wake of the Enlightenment it came to be applied to social groups. This ideological transformation coupled with a dogmatic insistence that the groups so designated were natural, and not socially created, gave birth to the modern notion of “races” as genetically distinct entities. The results of this view were the encoding of “race” and “racial” hierarchies in law, literature, and culture.

How “racial” categories facilitate social control

The articles in the series demonstrate that the classification of humans according to selected physical characteristics was an arbitrary decision that was not based on valid scientific method. They also examine the impact of colonialism on the propagation of the concept and note that “racial” categorization is a powerful social force that is often used to promote the interests of dominant social groups. Finally, the collection surveys how laws based on “race” have been enacted around the world to deny power to minority groups.

A multidisciplinary resource

This collection of outstanding articles brings multiple perspectives to bear on race theory and draws on a wider ranger of periodicals than even the largest library usually holds. Even if all the articles were available on campus, chances are that a student would have to track them down in several libraries and microfilm collections. Providing, of course, that no journals were reserved for graduate students, out for binding, or simply missing. This convenient set saves students substantial time and effort by making available all the key articles in one reliable source.

Table of Contents

  • Volume Introduction
  • The Crime of Color—Paul Finkelman
  • Reflections on the Comparative History and Sociology of Racism—George M. Fredrickson
  • The Italian, a Hindrance to White Solidarity in Louisiana, 1890-1898—George E. Cunningham
  • Cornerstone and Stumbling Block: Racial Classification and the Late Colonial State in Indonesia—C. Fasseur
  • Racial Restrictions in the Law of Citizenship—Ian Haney Lopez
  • The Prerequisite Cases—Ian Haney Lopez
  • Blackface Minstrelsy and Jacksonian Ideology—Alexander Saxton
  • Introduction: Historical Explanations of Racial Inequality—Alexander Saxton
  • Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia—Ann Stoler
  • Irish-American Workers and White Racial Formation in the Antebellum United States—David R. Roediger
  • The Race Question and Liberalism: Casuistries in American Constitutional Law—Stanford M. Lyman
  • Introduction: From the Social Construction of Race to the Abolition of Whiteness—David R. Roediger
  • Acknowledgments
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Neither White Nor Black: The Mulatto Character in American Fiction

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United Kingdom on 2011-09-18 04:40Z by Steven

Neither White Nor Black: The Mulatto Character in American Fiction

New York University Press
280 pages
ISBN-10: 0814709966; ISBN-13: 978-0814709962
9 x 6 x 1 inches

This book is out of print.

Judith R. Berzon

The mulatto character has captured the imagination of American novelist in every period of our literature.  For American writers, the mulatto has long signified a “marginal man,” caught between two cultures and between the boundaries of the American caste system. As such, the mulatto’s biological and psychological responses to his status—attraction and repulsion to both the white an non-white castes—have frequently been fictionalized.

Neither White Nor Black is the first comprehensive study of the mulatto character in American fiction.  It is interdisciplinary in approach, drawing from literature, history, sociology, psychology and biology, and assessing the influence of racist ideology, social mythology and historical reality upon the portrayal of the mulatto character.  Dr. Berzon examines how the self-concepts of mixed-blood characters are affected by black-white mythology and explores the roles mulattoes have played in American culture.  Among the 19th an 20th-century black and white authors examined here are Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren and John A. Williams.

In Part I of the book, Dr. Berzon provides an introduction to the historical, sociological and scientific backgrounds of the fiction; an overview of the novels; and a discussion of the most prevalent sterotype—“the tragic mulatto.”  Part II defines and illustrates the forms of adjustment to marginality.  Each chapter is organized around a specific mode of adjustment—passing for white, becoming a member of the black bourgeosie, working as leader of his/her race, and failing to achieve identification with either the white or black group.  In the Postscript, Dr. Berzon examines three novels of the 1970s by important black authors—John A. Williams, Ernest J. Gaines, and John Oliver Killens.  Her study is enriched by the recently published but crucial historical scholarship such as Roll, Jordan Roll by Eguene Genovese, White Over Black by Winthrop Jordan, an The Black Image in the White Mind by George Fredrickson, as well as the earlier work by Addison Gayle Jr., The Black Aesthetic.

In Neither White Nor Black, Dr. Berzon reveals the recurring themes in the portrayal of the mulatto character throughout several periods of the 19th and 20th-century American history.  Central to the portrayal of the mulatto during all these periods is the quest for identity, and Dr. Berzon, through her illuminating analysis, provides her readers, whether students of Black studies, American studies, Southern history, literature, or intellectual history, with an essential understanding of that quest and of the role of the mulatto in American society.

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Review of Spencer, Jon Michael, The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement in America

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-01-09 13:05Z by Steven

Review of Spencer, Jon Michael, The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement in America

H-Net Reviews
January 1998

Richard L. Hughes

The Census, Race, and…

Amid a racial climate which includes a presidential advisory board on race and a discussion of slavery within the popular media, there lies an increasingly prominent dialogue on race in American culture. As the United States nears its next federal census in the year 2000, many Americans have expressed dissatisfaction with the accuracy of the current four categories of white, black, Asian and Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaskan Native. Some observers have supported the addition of a “multiracial” category where others, such as historian Orlando Patterson, have criticized the continued existence of racial categories on the census as a “scientifically meaningless” and “politically dangerous” “Race Trap.”[1]

One of the reasons why this debate resonates with so many Americans is that the discussion of race and public policy includes both the persistent belief that race is a fixed biological factor and the emerging notion of many scholars and policymakers that race is a fluid historical and sociopolitical construct. Acknowledging both perspectives, Jon Michael Spencer’s The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement in America is the latest scholarly contribution to this ongoing debate concerning the census and the possible use of the category “multiracial.” Borrowing both the title and analytical framework from Joel Williamson’s New People: Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States (1980), which focused on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Spencer offers a cautionary tale about a “multiracial” category in the contemporary United States.[2] He contends that without a “frank assessment of race” and the end of racism, such a category would be “politically naive” and even “suicidal” to black Americans (pp. 148,155).

While Spencer shares Williamson’s astute perspective that the status of “mulattoes” or, to use Spencer’s term, “multiracial” Americans, is an instructive index for race relations, his argument about the dangers of a new government-sanctioned racial category centers on a “cross-cultural analysis” of multiracial Americans and the coloured people of South Africa (p. 11). Building on the comparative work of historian George Fredrickson, the writings of coloured intellectuals such as Richard Van der Ross and Allan Boesak, and interviews with other “coloured nationalists,” Spencer concludes that the creation of a coloured “middle status” under apartheid served to divide and oppress nonwhites by creating a buffer zone between white elites and the black masses (pp. xiii, 91).[3] The result was the continued oppression of South African blacks and a marginal status for coloured South Africans. Cognizant of the centrality of issues of personal identity in the current American debate, Spencer adds that the middle status robbed coloureds of the identity, esteem, and culture only possible through a unified black consciousness movement in more recent South Africa. Spencer’s valuable contribution lies in his comparative analysis in which the tragedy of South African apartheid underscores the possible dangers in careless additions to America’s racial landscape…

Read the entire review here.

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Mulattoes and métis. Attitudes toward miscegenation in the United States and France since the seventeenth century

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-01-19 01:45Z by Steven

Mulattoes and métis. Attitudes toward miscegenation in the United States and France since the seventeenth century

International Social Science Journal
Volume 57, Issue 183
Pages 103 – 112
DOI: 10.1111/j.0020-8701.2005.00534.x

George M. Fredrickson, Edgar E. Robinson Professor of United States History, Emeritus
Stanford University

This essay surveys and compares American and French attitudes toward miscegenation or métissage since the extensive contacts with non-European peoples that began in the Atlantic world of the seventeenth century. It develops a typology of possible responses to such race mixture and argues that the English colonies that became the United States quickly developed a highly restrictive attitude toward racial intermarriage, especially between blacks and whites, that has persisted through most of American history and is still influential today. The French in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early-to-mid twentieth century often adhered to concepts of race as innate or biologically determined, but their attitudes toward interracial marriage or concubinage tended to be more pragmatic. In some situations French theorists of race and empire defended and even advocated certain forms of métissage. The difference can be summed up as follows: white Americans have historically pursued the ideal of racial purity with much more intensity and consistency than the French. The difference is best explained with reference to the unique status of African-Americans as a colour-coded pariah group with no real equivalent in metropolitan France.

Read or purchase the article here.

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