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Working toward whiteness : how America's immigrants became white : the strange j
David R. Roediger
Adult Nonfiction HD8072 .R77 2005

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Too much recent scholarship "simply ignores the long, circuitous process by which `new immigrants' became `white ethnics,' " declares Roediger (The Wages of Whiteness), finding that the process in the early 20th century was slower and messier. Well-detailed examples include Greeks and Italians victimized by white mobs at the turn of the century (with the Chicago papers providing the parenthetical identification "Italian" in crime stories just as they did "Negro"). Jobs, Roediger finds, were often divided on lines that separated whites from European immigrants, but unions opened to European immigrants more readily than to blacks, Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans. Most significantly, he sees the oppression faced by Europeans as qualitatively different than that faced by other groups and goes into painful detail. Roediger hearkens back to the 1924 immigration restrictions, showing how they drove the "great migration" of African-Americans northward, thus rendering immigrants less "foreign" to some entrenched whites. Reinforcing that were the immigrant drive for home ownership, backed by New Deal-era restrictive racial covenants and laws against interracial marriage. While slow going, Roediger's book tills some major historical ground. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

America is a country of immigrants. Roediger (history, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class) points out that when people of many ethnicities came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they arrived in a land already considered by their predecessors to be a specific kind of "white man's country." Roediger has written a carefully constructed and referenced book that traces how, and with what success, new arrivals blended into the "white" culture established by the original European settlers. Roediger has written a carefully constructed and referenced book that traces how, and with what success, new arrivals blended into the "white" culture established by the original European settlers. The book contrasts the receptions given to those identified as part of an ethnic group and those identified as a different race. "Ethnics" could assimilate, though it might take some time. But for those seen as of a particular "race" (which, argues Roediger, included groups like Jews and Mexicans), gaining recognition commensurate with that of "whites" came much more slowly, if at all. Roediger highlights the roles played by the policies of early 20th-century unions, federal and local courts, and then FDR's administration, in denying to Asians and blacks the privileges and rights granted to other immigrant groups who came to be considered ethnic whites. Appropriate for academic, specialized, or larger general libraries.-Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY College of Technology, Alfred (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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