Race Relations within Western Expansion

Race Relations within Western Expansion

Race Relations within Western Expansion

Race Relations within Western Expansion

Synopsis

This bold and controversial book takes a hard look at an old subject--race relations in the Western world. Using history as a backdrop, the author illustrates how racism and ethnic chauvinism are, sadly, common. The author warns against the harm of "colorthink"--an excessive obsession with race and racism--and explores the impact of such thinking on race relations today. He gives no comfort to either racists or more fashionable contemporaries obsessed with the supposedly unique evils of the Western past.

Excerpt

This book is a work of synthesis in a field in which the writer is not a specialist, and in fact, treats a subject that he finds rather repugnant; a fact which may call for an explanation.

I first became interested in racial matters in the late 1970s as a result of a growing dissatisfaction with the bizarre tone of public discussions of that subject. I was already familiar with the development of the European colonial empires, and the pseudoscientific racial theories that grew into the ideology of Nazism, and knew a bit about black slavery in the United States. But what I heard often could not be squared even with what I already knew, and this worried me. Although I did not enjoy reading about slavery and the slave trade, and white mistreatment of Amerinds, I was determined to learn more. Rather to my surprise, the general level of scholarly literature on such emotional issues as the overall theory of race relations, slavery, and white-Amerind relations proved very high; possibly a good deal higher than the level of work on the history of the Cold War, my own field. I found that some of what I had believed was wrong, but also that much of what I had suspected to be nonsensical or exaggerated was indeed such, or worse. Unfortunately the work of such outstanding scholars as Winthrop Jordan, Zenneth Stampp, Michael Banton, Philip Mason, Wilcomb Washburn, and Alden Vaughan (to name just a few) seemed to have little to do with what was usually said in a public arena (including our educational institutions) that seemed to be, and still is, dominated by charlatans. There seemed to be . . .

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