Racism: A Short History

Racism: A Short History

Racism: A Short History

Racism: A Short History


""Racism: A Short History" is an original synthesis of the important historical writings on racial belief systems. In this clearly written book, George Fredrickson is the first scholar to systematically examine and compare the two most dominant forms of Western racism--antisemitism and white supremacy. It is an insightful work that will be widely discussed and cited by historians and social scientists alike."--William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University

"With a master's experience, George Fredrickson has deftly laid out an apparently simple but subtle history of racial antisemitism and color-coded racial thought. In doing so, he has written a penetrating analysis that commands our close and serious attention."--Winthrop D. Jordon, University of Mississippi, author of "White Over Black"

"Finally we have a concise, clear, and authoritative overview of the history of racism. Covering all forms of Western racism in the modern world, this volume provides a comparative context for our teaching and research about race and racism. In a world in which 'race' has begun to be reintroduced in science and social science, the dangers inherent in this are revealed in George M. Fredrickson's admirable work."--Sander L. Gilman, Director, The Humanities Laboratory, University of Illinois, Chicago, author of "Making the Body Beautiful"

"Like a searchlight in the fog, this book picks out both the persistent and the changing meanings of racism as an idea and a set of practices among people of European derivation across several centuries. A compulsively readable and deeply informed overview."--John Higham, The Johns Hopkins University, author of"Strangers in the Land"

"This is comparative history at its best. The long historical perspective makes for interesting reading, and Fredrickson's analysis is very effective. While modern antisemitism is clearly one variant of rac


The term “racism” is often used in a loose and unreflective way to describe the hostile or negative feelings of one ethnic group or “people” toward another and the actions resulting from such attitudes. But sometimes the antipathy of one group toward another is expressed and acted upon with a single-mindedness and brutality that go far beyond the group-centered prejudice and snobbery that seem to constitute an almost universal human failing. Hitler invoked racist theories to justify his genocidal treatment of European Jewry, as did white supremacists in the American South to explain why Jim Crow laws were needed to keep whites and blacks separated and unequal.

The climax of the history of racism came in the twentieth century in the rise and fall of what I will call “overtly racist regimes.” In the American South, the passage of segregation laws and restrictions on blackvoting rights reduced African Americans to lower-caste status, despite the constitutional amendments that had made them equal citizens. Extreme racist propaganda, which represented black males as ravening beasts lusting after white women, served . . .

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