WHEN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WAS WHITE An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America. By Ira Katznelson. pp. When Affirmative Action Was White has ratings and 81 reviews. ” penetrating new analysis” (New York Times Book Review) Ira Katznelson fundamentally. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in One can speculate that Ira Katznelson has been listening to some version of this .

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Policy Papers

This was no accident. When unions made inroads in the South, where most blacks lived, moreover, Congress changed the rules of the game to make organizing much more difficult.

A book with a better exploration of alternatives to our history, and a better forward-looking guidance based in whitw sense, would have been a remarkable read on the subject. Individual private acts of prejudice and discrimination count for less than more pervasive institutional ones. Welfare in Black and White.

The historical content was interesting and well-researched, but I didn’t care for the analysis of Bakke and its progeny, and found the writing overall pretty clunky.

The publication of this deeply disturbing work promises to wass a national debate on the meaning of affirmative action and the responsibility of government.

African Americans who worked on the land or as domestics- the great majority- lacked these protections. As a result of the legislation they passed, blacks became even more significantly disadvantaged when a modern American middle class was fashioned during and after the Second World War. I learned a great deal reading this book although the novel read more like a detailed essay than anything else.

Desmond King, Separate and Unequal: However, the conclusion of the book didn’t resolve well for me. The entirety of US history has been government sanctioned policies that amounted to affirmative action for whites. This book, to me, is overwhelmingly an argument for classical liberal principles. References to this book Education Research in the Public Interest: Affirmative action should be linked to historical causes. Skip to main content. The past four decades have not been kind to this vision.

To state the obvious, the principles of liberalism no longer shape policymaking in Washington, DC. Although less exact at the individual and family level, this approach would authorize a major assault on inequality and poverty that would be justified by these historical patterns and remedied by policy interventions offering boosts into middle class status.


May 16, Royce rated it liked it. Segregation in the armed forces meant that whites received vastly preferential access to job training, compared to blacks who were shunted into dishwashing and other menial tasks.

When Affirmative Action Was White | W. W. Norton & Company

At the time, and for decades if not centuries it brought enhanced opportunity to white Americans solely based upon their skin color. And instead of seeing it as a leg up for minorities, Katznelson argues that the prehistory of affirmative action was supported by Southern Democrats who were actually devoted to preserving a strict racial hierarchy, and that the resulting legislation was explicitly designed for the majority: I get the feeling that there was more to this story than Katzmann allows, as historical narratives around legislation this sweeping is never so cut-and-dry.

Similarly, southern segregationists skewed the natural direction of worker reform. This is an unsettling history, especially for those of us who keenly admire the New Deal and Fair Deal. For example, social security and unemployment benefits were specifically wuen to cut out domestic workers and farm workers in order to placate Southerners who didn’t want to encourage African Americans to stop working for them for very low wages.

I find his katnelson a little too small and wanting, but find the historical context he provides for the discussion necessary and incredibly valuable. Yet only in, and surrounding, the former Confederacy did the formal political system utilize race to exclude adults from citizenship and full access to civil society.

A more complex framework would consider the interaction between government policy and the northern migration of blacks in the middle years of the twentieth century. The author provides a powerful affimative for reparations and points out very specific ways that victims of these policies can be compensated. A must read for anyone wanting to know more about the sources of America’s racial inequality and to bolster their personal repertoire of arguments for affirmative action policies.

As settled law, Powell’s deeply historical approach has been applied to the type of affirmative action developed during the Johnson and Actiom administrations, but it also can shape and motivate a considerably broader effort that might target affirmative action at those who are less well-off. Some of it was by design exclusion of farm workers and domestic. I think this book would be great for those interested in politics, law, and black civil rights.


When affirmative action was white | History and Policy

This process coul A short and well-argued book that seeks to reframe the way we think about AA. No matter which side of the Affirmative Action debate you are on, I’m sure that this book will open your eyes.

The book is full of a great number of details which bogged me down at times, but it is still worth the read. The central thesis of this text is that racial disparities between whites and Black peoples in the US for a variety of outcomes e.

Nov 02, Sava Hecht rated it really liked it. This framing, Katz argues, ignores the fact that for the preceding 3 decades, gov’t benefits and largesse flowed overwhelmingly to whites but not to African-Americans. This is a comprehensive look at how the decentralized implementation of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the GI Bill enabled entrenched racism.

The undercurrent is the dilemma faced by Democratic legislators. Ira Katznelson challenges the conventional wisdom that the signature achievements of the FDR and Truman administrations – Social Security, the Wagner Act, XOetc – were as inclusive as historians claim.

When Affirmative Action Was White: Aug 13, Logan rated it really liked it Shelves: Wherever possible, race should not count for or against any given person. I read this book because I respect Glenn Loury and he uses it to teach his undergraduate class on race and inequality at Brown University.

Every violation of color-blind norms, in short, must be justified with the goal of a just color-blind society in mind. There are so many blind spots in American history between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

Sometimes the text is very uneven with very interesting passages then interspersed with really dry reading. Katznelson does an excellent job of highlighting how the great expansion of social programs and wealth of America after World War II specifically required the exclusion of African Americans to pass.