Whiteness Again

Barksdale, Amiri
Date Written:  2017-08-03
Publisher:  Insurgent Notes
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21678

Whiteness is a protection racket that used to provide material bonuses. It is a minimally advantageous deal that the ruling class continuously renegotiates with a part of the working class, and the first such deal happened before the founding of the United States.



Whiteness has gone through several large renegotiations, like the integration of the Irish and the civil war, the resolution of which required the sacrifice of the democratic hopes of the radical abolitionist vision for the country and therefore those of the freed slaves in the compromise of 1877. Those Romantic Southern gentlemen would be ideologically redeemed over the next couple of decades. That settled, some new immigrants, who would be part of the newly recomposed "white working class" went on the offensive in the railroad wildcat strikes of that very same year. Like the Tammany Hall had served for the Irish, the Knights of Labor served as the organizational expression of this part of the working class, and there was a struggle over the race question -- they were willing to allow some blacks to join, but they were reluctant and ambivalent, and they were totally anti-Chinese.
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