Combining classical Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the new labor history pioneered by E. P. Thompson and Herbert Gutman, David Roediger’s widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States. This, he argues, cannot be explained simply with reference to economic advantage; rather, white working-class racism is underpinned by a complex series of psychological and ideological mechanisms that reinforce racial stereotypes, and thus help to forge the identities of white workers in opposition to Blacks.
In a new preface, Roediger reflects on the reception, influence, and critical response to The Wages of Whiteness, while Kathleen Cleaver’s insightful introduction hails the importance of a work that has become a classic.
“At last an American labor historian realizes that white workers have a racial identity that matters as race matters to workers who are not white.”—Nell Irwin Painter, Princeton University
“A timely and important intervention in the current debates over ‘race’ and ethnicity.”—Catherine Hall, New Left Review
“Roediger’s exciting new book makes us understand what it means to see oneself as white in a new way. An extremely important and insightful book.”—Lawrence Glickman, The Nation
“The Celestine Prophecy of whiteness studies.”—SPLN