Born into wealth in Cambridge, just steps from Harvard Yard, Holmes, by way of his essay, seemed well aware that he had inherited certain privileges in the world. But he also justified those privileges, claiming that families like his possessed innate qualities that made them entitled to power over others. These white Protestant families were attached to esteemed institutions like Harvard, preferred to intermarry, and maintained their own distinct accent for decades. More than a hundred years later, the progeny of Boston Brahmins have remained in positions of power in the U. T hough the name of their group came from India, the fact that white men like Holmes were attracted to a hierarchical conception of humanity in the s was no accident.
The End of White America?
White slavery - Wikipedia
The calculus of racism underwent swift revision when waves of culturally diverse immigrants from the far corners of Europe changed the face of the country. The story of how Italian immigrants went from racialized pariah status in the 19th century t o white Americans in good standing in the 20th offers a window onto the alchemy through which race is constructed in the United States, and how racial hierarchies can sometimes change. Darker skinned southern Italians endured the penalties of blackness on both sides of the Atlantic. Racist dogma about Southern Italians found fertile soil in the United States. The penalties of blackness went well beyond name-calling in the apartheid South. This left them vulnerable to marauding mobs like the ones that hanged, shot, dismembered or burned alive thousands of black men, women and children across the South. The federal holiday honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus — celebrated on Monday — was central to the process through which Italian-Americans were fully ratified as white during the 20th century.
Were There Irish Slaves in America, Too?
In , NBC News did a special on race in America, in which it interviewed a young Donald Trump , who was then a couple of years younger than I am now. It was a way of making a point, not about jealousy but about resentment. It was a way of damning with faint praise the idea that the inviolable dominance of white male privilege in America was entering a period in which not every shred of advantage would redound to white men, even if a vast majority still did. Trump was attempting to express a white male anger and anxiety as made-for-television profundity and witticism.
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