1. The first epigraph is from Disraeli’s Sybil; or, The Two Nations (1845; repr., London: M. Walter Dunne, 1904), 2:191. The second is from Kwame Anthony Appiah, In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 45.
2. In writing this book I have learned much about race in many of its complex and contradictory dimensions from Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981); Appiah, In My Father’s House; Peter H. Wood, “Race,” in Mary Kupiec Cayton, Elliott J. Gorn, and Peter W. Williams, eds., The Encyclopedia of American Social History (New York: Scribner, 1993), 437–50; Paul Gilroy, “Diaspora and the Detours of Identity,” in Kathryn Woodward, ed., Identity and Difference (London: Sage, 1997), 299343; Thomas F. Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America, new ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Thomas C. Holt, The Problem of Race in the Twenty-first Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); George M. Frederickson, Racism: A Short History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002); Nikhil Pal Singh, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004); Anthony Appiah, “Race: An Interpretation,” in Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr. eds., Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (1999; repr., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 4:476–82; and, most recently, Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010).
3. Walter White, A Man Called White: The Autobiography of Walter White (New York: Viking Press, 1948), 3; Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America (London: Verso, 1998), 157–59; Robert A. Hill, “Introduction: Racial and Radical; Cyril V. Briggs, the Crusader Magazine, and the African Blood Brotherhood, 1918–1922,” in Hill, ed., The Crusader, vol. 1, September 1918–August 1919 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1987), quoted on vi.
4. For pioneering studies of racial “in-betweenness,” see Robert Orsi, “The Religious Boundaries of an Inbetween People: Street Feste and the Problem of the Dark-Skinned ‘Other’ in Italian Harlem, 1920–1990,” American Quarterly 44 (September 1992), 313–47; James R. Barrett and David Roediger, “Inbetween Peoples: Race, Nationality and the ‘New Immigrant’ Working Class,” Journal of American Ethnic History 16 (Spring 1997), 3–44.
5. Wood, “Race,” quoted on 437.
6. Kerby A. Miller, “‘Scotch-Irish’ Myths and ‘Irish’ Identities in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century America,” in Charles Fanning, ed., New Perspectives on the Irish Diaspora (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000), 81. This generalization applies to other forms of identity as well. In recent years scholars in many fields have concluded that class, gender, ethnic, national, and sexual identities are also subjective,