How White People Became White

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Racism, United States Pages: 3 (942 words) Published: February 26, 2011
How white people became white.
The story of how white people became white in the United States goes as far back as the 15th and 16th century. People born white in this country were born with great privilege. It was an honor to be classified as a white man, or woman because white people had the pleasure of enjoying the many benefits that other cultures could not. If a person was classified as anything other than white, they were called minorities. Being a minority meant that one had no rights. People of all cultures set out to prove that that they belonged to the white heritage, and that’s how the story of How White people Became White began. “Whiteness does not stand alone. It draws part of its meaning from what it means to be nonwhite”. (Phillip C. Wanderer, 2009). “The roots of racial classification emerge from the naturalistic science of the 18th and 19th centuries”. (Phillip C. Wanderer, 2009, p. 30) “During this time, scientific studies extended the classifications of humankind developed by zoologists and physical anthropologists by systematically measuring and describing differences in hair texture, skin color, average height, and cranial capacity in various races”. (Phillip C. Wanderer, 2009, p. 30) Racial classification was a way of being able to separate the whites from the nonwhites. For European immigrants, racial identity was not always clear. “The process of becoming white and becoming “American” involved a whole range of evidence, laws, court cases, formal racial ideology, social conventions, and popular culture in the form of slang, songs, films, cartoons, ethnic jokes, and popular theater suggested that the native born and older immigrants often placed the new immigrants not only above African, and Asian Americans, but also below white people”. (Roediger, 2009, p. 36). Because of this immigrant workers wound up in between races. The literal in between’s of new immigrants suggests what popular speech affirms: The state of whiteness was approached...

Cited: Brodkin, K. (2009). How Jews Became White Folks. In P. S. Rothenberg, White Privilege. Worth Publishers.
Foley, N. (2009). Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americans and Whiteness. In P. S. Rothenberg, White Privilege. Worth Publishers.
Phillip C. Wanderer, J. N. (2009). The Roots of Racial Classification. Worth Publishers.
Roediger, J. E. (2009). White Privilege Third Edition. In P. S. Rothenberg, White Privilege. New York: Worth Publishers.
Rothenberg, P. S. (2009). White Privilege. New York: Worth Publishers.
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