Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940

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Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940

Grace Elizabeth Hale

Publisher: Vintage Books

Format: Paperback

In this brilliant and indispensable study of the making of segregationist culture, Grace Elizabeth Hale shows how what W. E. B. Du Bois called the “color line” came to define American identity itself: whiteness became the standard, desirable image of aspiring middle-class life while blackness was consigned to the margins, to the back of the bus, and became a marker, for a white majority, of social pathology. Nowhere was the identification of blackness with inferiority more obsessively enforced than in the South, where the law cast a blind eye on lynching as public entertainment and where white children were taught that Negroes “must be kept in their place.”Drawing on a fascinating and often disturbing array of cultural artifacts and events, Making Whiteness shatters the habitual assumption that racism is an unfortunate fact of human nature, and points the way toward a truly egalitarian and integrated society.

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