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The Invention of the White Race, by Theodore W. Allen

The Invention of the White Race, by Theodore W. Allen

Verso Books9781839763922

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Long heralded as a classic study of the origin of white privilege from the activist who first coined the term, Theodore W. Allen’s work remains an indispensable resource for making sense of our conflicted present, a reference point for everyone from Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Nell Irvin Painter to Reni-Eddo Lodge and Aníbal Quijano.

When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no “white” people there. Nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years. In this seminal work, available for the first time here in a single volume, Allen tells how America’s ruling classes created the category of the “white race” as a means of social control. Since that early invention, white privileges have enforced the myth of racial superiority, a fact central to maintaining rulingclass domination over ordinary working people of all colors throughout the history of the Atlantic world.

Spanning centuries and nations, Allen’s analysis takes us from the plantations of Northern Ireland and the mines of Peru to the sugar fields of Brazil and colonies of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. His account records lives of hardscrabble immigrant survival, Faustian bargains with white supremacy, the tragedy of human bondage, and the stubborn, unbreakable resistance to the global color line.


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