Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Just Us: The Nation Reviews 3 books on Race & Racial Inequality

David Oshinsky in The Nation "When Affirmative Action Was White" :

"Katznelson owes a large debt to other recent studies, particularly Lizabeth Cohen's superb synthesis of citizenship and prosperity, A Consumers' Republic. He begins with Lyndon Johnson's magisterial address at Howard University in 1965. "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, 'You are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe that you have been completely fair," the President declared, adding: "We seek not just freedom but opportunity.... not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result." By then, Johnson was a devoted advocate of civil rights. Since this was not always the case, Katznelson uses LBJ's remarkable transformation to show how Southern politicians helped craft social welfare legislation to benefit white men in particular, while insuring the continued subordination of blacks. The key decades were the 1930s and '40s--the era "when affirmative action was white." [...]

"As Katznelson notes, it was Southern Democrats who helped craft the Social Security Act and the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (commonly known as the GI Bill). Though "colorblind" in language, these laws selectively excluded blacks from reaping the economic rewards they offered. The Social Security Act, for example, did not apply to predominantly black occupations in the South, such as domestic service and farm labor; worse, the eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance and Aid to Dependent Children rested with the states, leaving local white bureaucrats in control." (more)


At 3:02 PM, Blogger sokari said...

Hi there - just came across your blog. I have just written a piece on race on my blog and got a quite a bit of flak from some fellow sisters (not on post) so would be interested to hear your take. Being accused of hating America, obsessed with race, lesbians, human rights etc - interesting stuff really

At 3:10 PM, Blogger hysterical blackness said...


i love your blog. i've had a link to it for ages. is there a particular post that you're speaking about?



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