From Power to Prejudice: The Rise of Racial Individualism in Midcentury America

University of Chicago Press
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Americans believe strongly in the socially transformative power of education, and the idea that we can challenge racial injustice by reducing white prejudice has long been a core component of this faith. How did we get here? In this first-rate intellectual history, Leah N. Gordon jumps into this and other big questions about race, power, and social justice.
To answer these questions, From Power to Prejudice examines American academia—both black and white—in the 1940s and ’50s. Gordon presents four competing visions of “the race problem” and documents how an individualistic paradigm, which presented white attitudes as the source of racial injustice, gained traction. A number of factors, Gordon shows, explain racial individualism’s postwar influence: individuals were easier to measure than social forces; psychology was well funded; studying political economy was difficult amid McCarthyism; and individualism was useful in legal attacks on segregation. Highlighting vigorous midcentury debate over the meanings of racial justice and equality, From Power to Prejudice reveals how one particular vision of social justice won out among many contenders.
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About the author

Leah N. Gordon is assistant professor of education and (by courtesy) of history at Stanford University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 20, 2015
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780226238586
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Higher
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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