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The History of White People Paperback – April 18, 2011
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Painter begins in antiquity, a time in which race was not important so much as place; where you were from, a time of social hierarchy and class more so than racial consciousness. The disturbing truth is that class served more to define one's status and place than ethnicity or race for many centuries. Slavery, the great sin of any age, was racially colorblind in antiquity, and even in colonial America it was initially colorblind if indentured servitude is included. Painter guides readers through the evolution and construct of whiteness leading up to the harsh realities of the 19th Century, a time where whiteness took on further nuances, differences, and distinctions owing to increased immigration. It was a time when the Irish, Italians, Jews, and "others" were denigrated for their otherness; for not fitting the Anglo-Saxon ideal of whiteness.Read more ›
I was very impressed by her thorough research into the lives of the people who created the theory of race. Yes, she does make a point to highlight that the main actors were Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic Nordics. So what? Yes, she's a black woman and yes she has a leftist viewpoint. But she would be less than competent as a historian if she had not pointed this out.
My only objection is that sometimes she gets bogged down in too much minutiae on the lives of the scholars she's describing. On the other hand, she also delves into the personal and collegial relationships of these race theorists to each other and that's interesting.
Very good book and well worth reading.
I was in university before black studies and had not even heard of white studies until I read this book.Read more ›
From the role of art in defining beauty, to measuring skulls, to studies of degenerate families and eugenics, the overall story she tells is of the use of “whiteness” as a marker that has been used to separate “us” from “them.” She takes special care to point out how frequently the definition of “us” – and therefore the definition of whiteness – shifted throughout history. As someone with some Irish roots, I was aware of some of this. No group was as big a mover from “them” to “us” as the Irish, often at the expense of new immigrants as well as those left behind in the “them” group. But seeing each new wave of immigrants working their way through the same obstacles and prejudices, and then inflict those same prejudices on others, was still startling.
Painter also spends a great deal of time on different historical figures and how they influenced our understanding of whiteness. Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Teddy Roosevelt in particular come off poorly.
The lasting impression the book left with me was one of tempered optimism. The final chapter goes into DNA sequencing as the final nail in the “science” of “racial science.” In short, there is very little that divides us biologically.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another wonderful work attempting to diminish and denigrate western civilization.Published 10 hours ago by B Bob
We all bleed red but if one does not learn about the difference in nationality and the different culture across this world that God created peace cannot be stillPublished 3 days ago by Lawrence Trimblett
If anything, she (author) is super-intelligent and impeccably thorough with research. An interesting read for anyone who seeks to expand his/her base when it concerns issues of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sean A. Hinton
I do not share the author's views on several basic ideas, nor do I think this book is particularly well-organized or appropriately focused, and I found the concluding pages... Read morePublished 2 months ago by RollaJ
Brilliant, insightful book about our heritage evolving from a myriad of countries and customs and coming together
as simply Americans.
Racism is a fact of life, but the existence of racism does not presuppose the existence of race the way nationalism presupposes the existence of nations. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mark Grannis
This book is mind boggling. It contains information I never thought existed. It answered questions and beautifully put into context the answers which shaped the lives of all people... Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. A. Stowers