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The Politics of Whiteness: Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South (review)

The Politics of Whiteness: Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South (review) The Politics of Whiteness Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South By Michelle Brattain Princeton University Press, 2001 301 pp. Cloth $35.00 Reviewed by Carl Burkart, a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia. For decades, outside observers have wondered why white southern workers in the twentieth century have so willingly supported demagogues and reactionaries who offered them nothing but appeals to racial pride. In particular, many have asked, why did working class southerners follow a couple of decades of support for New Deal liberalism with a virulent, and sometimes violent, swing to the right? For most commentators, an unthinking racism blinded whites to their true economic interests. In The Politics of Whiteness, Michelle Brattain challenges this assumption by focusing on the ways that white supremacy brought genuine economic and psychological benefits to cotton mill-hands in Rome, Georgia. Using union records, newspaper articles, and government documents, Brattain argues that whiteness, far from being a troublesome distraction, was at the core of the white worker's place in the South. In a narrative that is briskly written, closely argued, and generally persuasive, Brattain follows white mill workers through some of the most volatile periods in southern politics--from the general http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

The Politics of Whiteness: Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South (review)

Southern Cultures , Volume 9 (1)

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
Publisher site
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Abstract

The Politics of Whiteness Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South By Michelle Brattain Princeton University Press, 2001 301 pp. Cloth $35.00 Reviewed by Carl Burkart, a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia. For decades, outside observers have wondered why white southern workers in the twentieth century have so willingly supported demagogues and reactionaries who offered them nothing but appeals to racial pride. In particular, many have asked, why did working class southerners follow a couple of decades of support for New Deal liberalism with a virulent, and sometimes violent, swing to the right? For most commentators, an unthinking racism blinded whites to their true economic interests. In The Politics of Whiteness, Michelle Brattain challenges this assumption by focusing on the ways that white supremacy brought genuine economic and psychological benefits to cotton mill-hands in Rome, Georgia. Using union records, newspaper articles, and government documents, Brattain argues that whiteness, far from being a troublesome distraction, was at the core of the white worker's place in the South. In a narrative that is briskly written, closely argued, and generally persuasive, Brattain follows white mill workers through some of the most volatile periods in southern politics--from the general

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

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