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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Theodore W. Allen Shied Away From The Term "whiteness"




Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) did pioneering work on “white privilege” and “white skin privilege” from the mid-1960s until his death in 2005. He shied away from the term “whiteness.” As he explained:


“. . . it’s an abstract noun, it’s an abstraction, it’s an attribute of some people, it’s not the role they play. And the white race is an actual objective thing. It’s not anthropologic, it’s a historically developed identity of European Americans and Anglo-Americans and so it has to be dealt with. It functions . . . in this history of ours and it has to be recognized as such . . . to slough it off under the heading of ‘whiteness,’ to me seems to get away from the basic white race identity problem.”



The fullest treatment of the development of Theodore W. Allen’s work can be found in “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” available in PDF format HERE (at the top left) and HERE.

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE.

For a video on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books with a new, internal study guide CLICK HERE.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s Vol. I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books with a new, internal study-guide CLICK HERE.

For Sean Ahern’s review of Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” (Verso Books) in "Black Commentator" CLICK HERE.

For another video “On Theodore W. Allen, ‘The Invention of the White Race,’ and White Supremacy in U.S. Labor History” – An Interview with Jeffrey B. Perry at the Labor and Working Class History Association Conference in New York City CLICK HERE.

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