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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

On "The Invention of the 'White' Race"

[Theodore W.] Allen describes how "the invention of the white race at the beginning of the eighteenth century was the solution to the problem of the participation of the bond-laborers and the poor free in Bacon's Rebellion" and of "how to maintain social control while continuing to base the economy on chattel bond-labor." The "great majority of the free men could not become employers or even secure long-term leaseholders," so they were "enlisted in the system of social control, not by a class interest, but by being ‘promoted’ to the ‘white race." This was accomplished "by conferring on the poor European-Americans a set of white-skin privileges; privileges that did not require their promotion to the class of property owners.”

For more see Jeffrey B. Perry, "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" ("Cultural Logic," 2010) Click Here (and go to top left for PDF)
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