Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past

Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past

Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past

Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past

Synopsis

"In this splendid book, David Roediger shows the need for political activism aimed at transforming the social and political meaning of race. . . . No other writer on whiteness can match Roediger's historical breadth and depth: his grasp of the formative role played by race in the making of the nineteenth century working class, in defining the contours of twentieth-century U.S. citizenship and social membership, and in shaping the meaning of emerging social identities and cultural practices in the twenty-first century."--George Lipsitz, author of "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness"

"David Roediger has been showing us all for years how whiteness is a marked and not a neutral color in the history of the United States. "Colored White, "with its synthetic sweep and new historical investigations, marks yet another advance. In the burgeoning literature on whiteness, this book stands out for its lucid, unjargonridden, lively prose, its groundedness, its analytic clarity, and its scope."--Michael Rogin, author of "Blackface, White Noise"

Excerpt

Remove the appearance of sharp racial differences from Othello and the difference in the play is so striking that it makes you wonder how many other stories have been distorted in our imaginations by our historical obsession with race…. [A] fter three hours one still leaves this performance thinking mostly about how clear the plot is and how swift its development if all the baggage of race we tend to bring to it is left at the door.

New York Times reviewer D. J. Bruckner, misunderstanding and praising a 2000 performance of what he calls a “colorblind” Othello by the National Asian American Theatre Company

A quarter-century ago, O. J. Simpson told of his strategy for responding to racial taunts. It consisted of a sharp jab to the offender's chest, accompanied by a literal punch line: “Hertz, don't it?” The humor rested on the bitter contrast of Simpson's tremendous success as an athlete who crossed over to become a beloved corporate icon, advertising rental cars among much else, with his continued facing of racial hurts and desiring to strike back against them. (The same Hertz/hurts punning was repeated endlessly on “O. J. jokes” websites during Simpson's later trials.) Simpson surely knew that he briefly stepped out of character in telling the joke. He followed the remark with laughing reassurances that such jabbing was of course unnecessary. Referring to himself in the disturbing third-person manner common to toddlers and Republican presidential hopefuls, he pointed out that “The Juice” so transcended . . .

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