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The Arrogance of Race: Historical Perspectives on Slavery, Racism, and Social Inequity [Paperback]

By George M. Fredrickson (Author)
Our Price $ 25.47  
Item Number 93640  
Buy New $25.47

Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.99" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 1989
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819562173  
EAN  9780819562173  

Availability  80 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 03:09.
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Item Description...
An investigation of the issue of race over a generation of labor.

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More About George M. Fredrickson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! George M. Fredrickson (1934-2008) was the Edgar E. Robinson Professor of U.S. History at Stanford University. His many books include Diverse Nations, Black Liberation, and White Supremacy. Albert M. Camarillo is the Leon Sloss Jr. Memorial Professor of American History at Stanford University.

George M. Fredrickson was born in 1934 and died in 2008 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Stanford University Edgar E. Robinson Professor of United States Histo.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General   [16214  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Discrimination & Racism   [1136  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General   [30158  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations > General   [943  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Special Groups > African-American Studies   [2765  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
This is a Volume to be Reckoned with  May 22, 2008
George Fredrickson is one of the few remaining genuine heavy weights still writing on the issue of race in America. There are 17 essays in this book, grouped into three sections. The essays in Section One summarizes the intellectual history of race up through Reconstruction. Section Two does the same thing for the slave era; and Section Three attempts a cross-cultural analysis of slavery. The introductory essays do an excellent job of setting the stage for the reader in each of the later sections.

The present volume argues for retaining the psycho-cultural interpretation as opposed to the more "Socialist-leaning" attempts to conflate racism and "classism," a trend that is currently in vogue in much of the social and even sociological writings. I personally identify strongly with the point of view set forth here by the authors, since classism itself has a demonstrably clear racist component embedded within it.

The question this book poses and attempts to answer in the affirmative, is: Does race consciousness constitute an independent variable in American culture?

An alternative hypothesis is that since racism began with slavery--a European idea rooted in the economics of labor exploitation--it must thus be based solely on impersonal but rational calculations and on the economic circumstances that ushered in the slave era. Racism must therefore be a European idea transplanted to American shores where it remains today still alien to American instincts, values, mores, ethics and traditions. It is a facile argument indeed, but one made at times by both black and white scholars. However, a stronger, if not more compelling case can be made that even though racism was inspired by the European derived economic exploitation of slavery, it eventually took on an indigenous and a peculiarly devastating American life of its own. That American life of racism is still rooted not just in economics, but also in the psychological, ideological, cultural and social history and identity of white Americans. That this is an undeniable fact of American life is a conclusion difficult for any serious scholar to avoid. As George M. Frederick has put it: "... racism, although the child of slavery, not only outlived its parent but grew stronger and more independent after slavery's demise.

The Neo-Marxists have tried, with varying degrees of failure, to fit American racism into the neo-Marxist made "procrustean bed" of the model of a Marxist economic class-struggle. As they have so well known, the fly in that ointment has always been that working class whites do not adhere to the mentality or ideology of the Marxist Proletarian model, preferring instead to identify with the corporate class that exploits them as much as they exploit the non-white working class, against whom they see themselves as competing against.

This point of course underscores one of the more glaring gaps in the Marxist analysis: that it fails to take into account the overwhelming significance of race in the functioning of U.S. culture. Before the socialist class struggle model can be applied or analyzed in the context of American social life, it too must first be segregated along racial lines. As W.E.B. Du Bois pointed out in his Dusk of Dawn: "...the split between white and black workers [is] greater than between white workers and the capitalist." Serious analysts and scholars must be suspicious of any approaches that would subordinate the race question to class or gender questions--that is to say of those that ignore or leave unexamined the intellectual, cultural, and psychological roots of race prejudice in the U.S.

It is true, as Du Bois has pointed out, that plantation capitalists relied on free black labor during slavery and very cheap black labor thereafter [and on other mostly minority labor throughout most of American history]. However, this system was legitimized by, greatly facilitated and sustained by, the racism and prejudice of whites who failed to benefit directly from the economic exploitation of blacks. The wages of the white workers was always only slightly greater than the built-in benefits of slavery. Frederickson quotes Du Bois as suggesting that even the planters themselves may have been motivated more by class interest considerations than by economic ones.

No researchers can forget that racism still is a product of the American caste social order. This order, although affected by the means of production and the economic system, is still independent of it. White racism is, and always has been, an autonomous and independent source of social power and identity in America, free-standing from almost all economic concerns. This apparently is a difficult lesson about American culture for the Socialist thinkers to grasp. Were it not so, America would have long since developed a genuine interracial class-consciousness. It is racism alone that has prevented the development of an interracial class-consciousness, or anything close to it, or even a firm basis for it. It is thus clear (at least to this reader) that a hybrid interactionist approach offers the best opportunity to get at the underlying truth of black-white relationships in the U.S. Neither the Marxists dismissal of racism as uninteresting, nor the primordialists view that it is inevitable and a relative constant force of great potency, encourages a close examination of the role actually played by racial consciousness.

Racial injustice is a distinct evil, much more heinous and insidious than normal capitalism inequality. As George M. Frederickson has said: Demoting people from the ranks of humanity on grounds of race or ethnicity, and treating them accordingly, is a sin of unique and horrendous character. In seeking to combat this malignancy we need to confront it directly and not simply subsume it under some other form of injustice or inequality.

Intellectual discussion on race in America do not get better than this. Fifty stars.

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