With a rare blend of learning, economy, and cutting insight, George Fredrickson surveys the history of Western racism from its emergence in the late Middle Ages to the present. Beginning with the medieval antisemitism that put Jews beyond the pale of humanity, he traces the spread of racist thinking in the wake of European expansionism and the beginnings of the African slave trade. And he examines how the Enlightenment and nineteenth-century romantic nationalism created a new intellectual context for debates over slavery and Jewish emancipation.
Fredrickson then makes the first sustained comparison between the color-coded racism of nineteenth-century America and the antisemitic racism that appeared in Germany around the same time. He finds similarity enough to justify the common label but also major differences in the nature and functions of the stereotypes invoked. The book concludes with a provocative account of the rise and decline of the twentieth century's overtly racist regimes--the Jim Crow South, Nazi Germany, and apartheid South Africa--in the context of world historical developments.
This illuminating work is the first to treat racism across such a sweep of history and geography. It is distinguished not only by its original comparison of modern racism's two most significant varieties--white supremacy and antisemitism--but also by its eminent readability.
Not Just Black and White opens with an examination of historical and theoretical perspectives on race and ethnicity. The late John Higham, in the last scholarly contribution of his distinguished career, defines ethnicity broadly as a sense of community based on shared historical memories, using this concept to shed new light on the main contours of American history. The volume also considers the shifting role of state policy with regard to the construction of race and ethnicity. Former U.S. census director Kenneth Prewitt provides a definitive account of how racial and ethnic classifications in the census developed over time and how they operate today. Other contributors address the concept of panethnicity in relation to whites, Latinos, and Asian Americans, and explore socioeconomic trends that have affected, and continue to affect, the development of ethno-racial identities and relations. Joel Perlmann and Mary Waters offer a revealing comparison of patterns of intermarriage among ethnic groups in the early twentieth century and those today. The book concludes with a look at the nature of intergroup relations, both past and present, with special emphasis on how America’s principal non-immigrant minority—African Americans—fits into this mosaic.
With its attention to contemporary and historical scholarship, Not Just Black and White provides a wealth of new insights about immigration, race, and ethnicity that are fundamental to our understanding of how American society has developed thus far, and what it may look like in the future.