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How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America Paperback – October 1, 1998
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Brodkins' book is a fair synthesis of post -War racial scholarship and theorizing. Her personal approach is entertaining and seductive but far from being a compelling story -even though there are many aspects of the book for one to like.
As well, one can hardly disagree with her main theme that racism and racial identity is the single most important basis of a healthy self-concept in the contemporary American way of life.
Moreover, one must take careful note of what she has to say about Jewish industriousness as being a critical parameter in the route to group success against all forms of chauvinism--including anti-Semitism, sexism and racism--although it was difficult to avoid the fact that she did jump over rather quickly the issues of race and anti-Semitism to get to her main menu item, gender.
All that said however, it was painful watching her finesse the issue of Jewish racism against blacks, both before and after the events directed against European Jews; and both before and after the "gender revolution."
One reason the war against racism (and sexism) cannot be won in the way the author suggests is that once a group is admitted to the club of "being white," or being allowed, in the case of sexism, to use "the flawed white male model," it already has learned all too well how to play the role of being superior to those still remaining outside those exclusive clubs. The real problem is that the illicit rewards, both tangible and intangible, in a racist and/or sexist society are so enormous that there is hardly any incentive to do otherwise.
That passive-aggressive racism and passive-aggressive sexism are at least as dangerous as their more overt and active counterparts is hardly a secret anymore.Read more ›
On the other hand, I am disappointed in the writing style and tone of this book; although she did seem to "warn" the reader of this beforehand in the Acknowledgments section when she admitted that when she began her research, she did not intend to write specifically about Jewishness. That statement sort of set the stage for a pretty incoherent collection of information that is loosely worked into the book's intended purpose. For example, in Chapter 1., she devotes pages to statistics and descriptions of racist policies the FHA used to keep Black people out of suburbia. Although this information is interesting, how does it relate to Jewish people? In a much smaller span, Dr. Brodkin could have demonstrated the FHA's discrimination and then move on to how that affected Jewish migration into suburbia. She does a similar thing again in when she goes into detail about inequality in skilled labor in reference to Mexicans and Black people. Again, interesting, but there is too much information about a subject the book is not supposed to address.Read more ›
The 1790 naturalization act restricted naturalization to White people, and yet no one in the 150 years of racially restricted nationalization law tried to argue that Jews should be excluded from citizenship because they weren't White. "White" was a legal category in America then as it is now, and Jews were considered legally White. In the south with legal segregation Jews were part of the White group, they rode on the White carriages and drank out of the White fountains. Brodkin maintains they weren't considered White by the general population. However, nearly all of the "evidence" Brodkin relies on <I>doesn't even mention Whiteness at all.</i> It is almost all a litany of grievances about supposed antisemitism unrelated to the main question, at least one of which I have found relies on egregious misrepresentation, on page 29 she misrepresents the work of Henry Goddard as claiming that his IQ testing of Ellis island immigrants proved a low intelligence for immigrants in general, something he explicitly denied. In general only one side of history is presented, we are told of an antisemitic 1893 New York Times article as evidence that Madison Grant's ideology was not a fringe phenomenon(page 29). We are not told that 3 years later the New York Times would be owned by a Jew. Quotas for Jews at Ivy League universities are mentioned but it is never explained that the justification used by proponents to argue for those quotas was that Jews were overrepresented as a share of their population.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The premise is ludicrous: Jefferson Davis's Secretary of State was Judah P. Benjamin. If the Confederate States of America thought Jews were white, everyone thought Jews were... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Will Shetterly
Didn't care for the title of the book...eye catching, but denagrading to both Jews and African-Americans. Read morePublished on September 19, 2012 by Pen Name
This book may be the most unreadable piece of junk I have ever come across. This book has very little to say and says it poorly. The best part of the book is the title. Read morePublished on October 21, 2005 by Herbert Berkowitz
It is almost stunning what a lousy piece of scholarship this is, and so amusingly emblematic of the joke that is academic writing.Published on August 2, 2005 by Jonathan A. Kaye
This is quite possibly the worst piece of scholarship that I have read in this field. The central conceit of the book involves an error of self-persuasion: namely, that the... Read morePublished on August 5, 2001 by Eli Lederhendler