This unique collection brings together selections from the work that has defined our understanding of racism. Every significant contribution to the analysis of racism over the past 50 years are comprised in this one book, including extracts from Myrdal's An American Dilemma, Cox's Marxist theory, Carmichael and Hamilton's introduction of the term ‘institutional racism’ and recent textual analyses. Ordered chronologically, so that the reader can work through the narrative of changes coherently, each contribution is introduced by the editors and the whole collection is bound together by introductory and concluding chapters. The result is an unparalleled teaching and study resource. No other book presents the highlights, range and complexity of the various attempts to unravel racism, in such a comprehensive and panoramic way.
Chapter 7: Race and Nationality in American Life
Race and Nationality in American Life
Historian Oscar Handlin had written widely on the subjects of immigration, settlement and government policy. His The Uprooted won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1952. He was uneasy with theoretical developments such as those initiated by Cox.
The conception of racism as an epiphenomenon – a secondary phenomonenon accompanying though not necessarily connected to underlying economic conditions – grew in currency following the Second World War. Cox's was the boldest and most challenging of several theories, all based on the conception of racism as a product of capitalism.
Handlin took issue with Cox's work and that of Carey McWilliams and Abram Léon, all of which he found reductive and insensitive to the characteristics of racism, ...