Historians complained about racial discrimination in America based on the aspect of whiteness.
A high population of approximately fifty thousand of Irish origin was poorly paid in manufacturing, construction, and railroad as well as in domestic service. Irishmen had acquired a bad reputation for laziness, crime, drunkenness and other reputations. Irish were regarded as poor men who worked in paddies sowing the grain.
Even people influential figures such as Emerson viewed some categories of the people as inferior, and this included Irish Catholics, according to him, ethnic minorities could not occupy privileged positions. When Hungarian revolution failed, the situation was viewed through Irish lens and only English race enjoyed the freedom. No change had been experienced in 1852 and discriminatory practices based on the race were still prevalent.
Historians further argue that racial discrimination was not equal to all ethnic...
minorities since they were treated differently until the time of reconstruction when they gained freedom and privileges.
Historians have profoundly argued about the whiteness in the historiography of America on power and privileges by focusing on the case of Italians residing in Chicago from the beginning of the twentieth century. According to the argument, a majority of the Italians suffered from racial prejudice and extensive discrimination just like other races residing in the U.S. but were accepted by many people and institutions as white.
The acceptance was reflected in the ability of the Italians gain U.S. citizenship by naturalization, marrying with other partners, residing in certain neighborhoods and working at certain jobs
Thus, the Italians were considered whites in the historiography of America. According to the historians, race is an attitude, idea, identity, ideology, and consciousness. It is rooted in differen
economic, political, socio as well as cultural institutions and hence power and resources plays a fundamental role.
Since the wake of the nineteenth century, historians argued on the racial politics of American Jews. They questioned whether Jews were regarded as whites. The Jewish immigrants entered in America when the country of highly polarized by racial discrimination.
Ethnic minorities more so the African Americans faced racial discrimination economically, politically and socially. A person was either regarded as white or black, and the blacks were denied privileges that were enjoyed by others. Embracing whiteness was viewed by some groups such as American Jewish to claim that status. Jewish immigrants embraced whiteness, and they started perceiving other ethnic minorities through the lens of racism. They identified themselves with the whites including supporting the discriminative practices against other immigrants. The immigration of the German Jews to the America created fear that earlier Jews might lose the already gained social status of identifying themselves with whites, and this caused the reformists to call for change.
It is imperative to note that historians also argued that Mexicans did not enjoy benefits that were enjoyed by whites simply because they were non-whites. They were subjected to racial segregation as other ethnic races in schools, churches, hospitals and other public places. The American Civilization meant civilization for whites, and hence Mexicans were excluded.
The immigration of Mexicans to Texas raised fears among some people that they might interfere with civilization, but some considered them inferior to have any influence. All this showed that racism was subjected to all non-whites and only whites enjoyed the benefits that were accorded.
In accordance to many scholars and researchers, the race has
been over time, sociologically discoursed as being the socially constructed notion that tends not endorsing its widespread acceptance as a natural phenomenon. Sociological inquiry can illuminate the institutionalizing process or rather the structuring of the race duality. Hence the concentration of the inquiry ought to be binary and not the unitary character of the racialized patterns of social interaction together with the structuration or routinization of the natural order of the American society.
It is also vital to note that having such inquiry can likely result in illumination of the structuring or rather the institutionalization of the racialized social order. Nevertheless, the literature seems to reflect studies that are underrepresented concerning the concept of the duality or race. The truth is that the anti-racist scholarship was appearing as whiteness studies contributed to the conversation about how American race could be analyzed. Thus, there has been a problem regarding the aspect of overlooking the political as well social significance of the whiteness in the black/ white dichotomy in the categorization of the American race perception hence, propelling the author to come up with such inquisitive articles.
The authors also wanted to show how racism was propagated to the different ethnic communities. It is worth to note that, one enjoyed the privileges of the whites if and only if he/she was white. Even if some groups such as American Jews embraced whiteness, they were considered inferior and hence subjected to racial discrimination. As the authors argued, ethnic minorities were subjected to racial segregation in the 19th century.
They lived in segregated neighborhoods and did not have equal rights to the whites. However, some of the groups such as Italians were
allowed to enjoy some privileges that others in the discriminated category could not enjoy. For instance, they acquired American citizenship through naturalization as well as other rights even if they were not considered as whites. Thus, the authors wanted people to know how the issue of racism affected ethnic minorities differently simply because they were non-whites.
Talking about racism intent entirely has been considered moot as well to some extent not productive. Nonetheless, it is imperative to conceptualize via analysis of the formation of America’s labor market in addition to the opportunities that comes along with white-skin privilege. All in all in consideration of whether ‘’ race relations’’ social relations studies are established on the foundation of solid research or rather go on to be based on the normative as well credulous grounds, the truth of the matter is that whichever case there are consequences that follow. Bearing in mind that availed consequence of the American Racialization together with the legitimation of the whiteness is attributed to the Anglo-Saxon racial superiority perception that facilitated to the purported justification for the exploitation of the non-white labor in Africa and America.
Historically, it can be argued that the American mainstream apparently advanced in the past as well in the present world following the profits realized via the practice of the hundreds of years free labor hence low costs of production.
This is in consideration of the fact that it was production system and labor of the early slavery that leads to efficient methods of production and capital investments. Having low cost of labor facilitated the creation of the wealth based upon the capital investment, real estate ownership besides ownership of
human beings that was considered as part of property then. The authors make it apparent that the collective consciousness of many Americans endures being conversant with the antiquated race norms rules. The content of the public consciousness generates suppressed concerns in subordinate groups hence manifesting through low self-worth as well as low self-esteem about those whose descendants were enslaved.
On the other hand, descendants of those who were overseers and masters linger joyous benefiting from the benefits of white-skin privilege. Worst of all from those who were enslaved descendants is the trend of the high level of formation of class conflicts.
The trend shows that while the rich continue getting richer, the uneducated whites and black end up fighting and competing for the limited opportunities that exist in the contemporary world.
As if that is not enough, the descendants of those in the past enslaved remains a social hierarchy grounded on the skin color with the implication that light –completed people are better than and above the dark-completed ones. The narrative and relevance of the authors of the articles open empirical research that inquiries the social importance of whiteness in the employment of the postmodern and post-structural analysis of the American perspectives of the race relation through investigation of the natural meaning as well political relevance of whiteness.
A related idea has been brought to light by the critical theorist, Chicago School scholars as well as feminist scholars in relations to problematizing whiteness as a relevant question for further research inquiry. Nevertheless, the concentration is more of interaction though subjected to the genuine meaning of ‘race’ and whiteness.
- Fredrickson, George M. 2002. Racism: a short history. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
York: Lang, 2007.pg.45
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