As American As Pie Essay

As American As Pie Essay-40
But the dignity accorded to white labor was situational, dependent on the scorn heaped upon black labor—much as the honor accorded a “virtuous lady” was dependent on the derision directed at a “loose woman.” And like chivalrous gentlemen who claim to honor the lady while raping the “whore,” planters and their apologists could claim to honor white labor while driving the enslaved.And so George Fitzhugh, a prominent 19th-century Southern pro-slavery intellectual, could in a single stroke deplore the exploitation of free whites’ labor while defending the exploitation of enslaved blacks’ labor.This early white working class “expressed soaring desires to be rid of the age-old inequalities of Europe and of any hint of slavery,” according to David R.

But the dignity accorded to white labor was situational, dependent on the scorn heaped upon black labor—much as the honor accorded a “virtuous lady” was dependent on the derision directed at a “loose woman.” And like chivalrous gentlemen who claim to honor the lady while raping the “whore,” planters and their apologists could claim to honor white labor while driving the enslaved.And so George Fitzhugh, a prominent 19th-century Southern pro-slavery intellectual, could in a single stroke deplore the exploitation of free whites’ labor while defending the exploitation of enslaved blacks’ labor.This early white working class “expressed soaring desires to be rid of the age-old inequalities of Europe and of any hint of slavery,” according to David R.

Black workers suffer because it was and is our lot.

But when white workers suffer, something in nature has gone awry.

“They also expressed the rather more pedestrian goal of simply not being mistaken for slaves, or ‘negers’ or ‘negurs.’ ”Roediger relates the experience, around 1807, of a British investor who made the mistake of asking a white maid in New England whether her “master” was home.

The maid admonished the investor, not merely for implying that she had a “master” and thus was a “sarvant” but for his basic ignorance of American hierarchy.

The focus on one subsector of Trump voters—the white working class—is puzzling, given the breadth of his white coalition.

Indeed, there is a kind of theater at work in which Trump’s presidency is pawned off as a product of the white working class as opposed to a product of an entire whiteness that includes the very authors doing the pawning. To accept that the bloody heirloom remains potent even now, some five decades after Martin Luther King Jr.And so an opioid epidemic among mostly white people is greeted with calls for compassion and treatment, as all epidemics should be, while a crack epidemic among mostly black people is greeted with scorn and mandatory minimums. This dynamic serves a very real purpose: the consistent awarding of grievance and moral high ground to that class of workers which, by the bonds of whiteness, stands closest to America’s aristocratic class.Sympathetic op‑ed columns and articles are devoted to the plight of working-class whites when their life expectancy plummets to levels that, for blacks, society has simply accepted as normal. With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and poor, but white and black; and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.But whereas Fitzhugh imagined white workers as devoured by capital, he imagined black workers as elevated by enslavement.The slaveholder “provided for them, with almost parental affection”—even when the loafing slave “feigned to be unfit for labor.” Fitzhugh proved too explicit—going so far as to argue that white laborers might be better off if enslaved.“None but negers are sarvants,” the maid is reported to have said.In law and economics and then in custom, a racist distinction not limited to the household emerged between the “help” (or the “freemen,” or the white workers) and the “servants” (the “negers,” the slaves).On the eve of secession, Jefferson Davis, the eventual president of the Confederacy, pushed the idea further, arguing that such equality between the white working class and white oligarchs could not exist at all without black slavery: I say that the lower race of human beings that constitute the substratum of what is termed the slave population of the South, elevates every white man in our community …It is the presence of a lower caste, those lower by their mental and physical organization, controlled by the higher intellect of the white man, that gives this superiority to the white laborer.From these and other changes of law and economy, a bargain emerged: The descendants of indenture would enjoy the full benefits of whiteness, the most definitional benefit being that they would never sink to the level of the slave.But if the bargain protected white workers from slavery, it did not protect them from near-slave wages or backbreaking labor to attain them, and always there lurked a fear of having their benefits revoked.

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