Roediger and Barret on Whiteness.doc - Title Inbetween...

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Title: Inbetween peoples: Race nationality and the `new immigrant' working class. By: Barrett, James R., Roediger, David, Journal of American Ethnic History, 02785927, Spring97, Vol. 16, Issue 3 Database: SocINDEX with Full Text HTML Full Text INBETWEEN PEOPLES: RACE, NATIONALITY AND THE 'NEW IMMIGRANT' WORKING CLASS Contents 1. INBETWEEN IN THE POPULAR MIND 2. WHITE CITIZENSHIP AND INBETWEEN AMERICANS: THE STATE OF RACE 3. "INBETWEEN" JOBS: CAPITAL, CLASS AND THE NEW IMMIGRANT 4. WHITE MEN'S UNIONS AND NEW IMMIGRANT TRIAL MEMBERS 5. INBETWEEN AND INDIFFERENT: NEW IMMIGRANT RACIAL CONSCIOUSNESS 6. NOTES By the Eastern European immigration the labor force has been cleft horizontally into two great divisions. The upper stratum includes what is known in mill parlance as the 'English-speaking' men; the lower contains the 'Hunkies' or 'Ginnies.' Or, if you prefer, the former are the 'white men,' the latter the 'foreigners.' John Fitch, The Steel Workers In 1980, Joseph Loguidice, an elderly Italian American from Chicago, sat down to give his life story to an interviewer. His first and most vivid childhood recollection was of a race riot that had occurred on the city's near north side. Wagons full of policemen with "peculiar hats" streamed into his neighborhood. But the "one thing that stood out in my mind," Loguidice remembered after six decades, was "a man running down the middle of the street hollering ... 'I'm White, I'm White!'" After first taking him for an African American, Loguidice soon realized that the man was a white coal handler covered in dust. He was screaming for his life, fearing that "people would shoot him down." He had, Loguidice concluded, "got caught up in ... this racial thing."[ 1 ] Joseph Loguidice's tale might be taken as a metaphor for the situation of millions of Eastern and Southern European immigrants who arrived in the United States between the end of the nineteenth century and the early 1920s. The fact that this episode made such a profound impression is in itself significant, suggesting both that this was a strange, new situation and that thinking about race became an important part of the consciousness of
immigrants like Loguidice. We are concerned here in part with the development of racial awareness and attitudes, and an increasingly racialized worldview among new immigrant workers themselves. Most did not arrive with conventional United States attitudes regarding "racial" difference, let alone its significance and implications in the context of industrial America. Yet most, it seems, "got caught up in ... this racial thing." How did this happen? If race was indeed socially constructed, then what was the raw material that went into the process? We are also concerned with how these immigrant workers were viewed in racial terms by others--employers, the state, reformers, and other workers. Like the coal handler in Loguidice's story, their own ascribed racial identity was not always clear. A whole range of evidence--laws; court cases; formal racial ideology; social conventions; popular

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