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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry The Commons, Brooklyn December 10, 2014, 7:30 PM

Brooklyn-based Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic, first published in 1994 and 1997, presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Its thesis on the origin and nature of the “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges master narratives taught in the media and in schools, colleges, and universities. With its equalitarian motif and emphasis on class struggle it speaks to people today who strive for change worldwide. Its influence on our understanding of American, African American, and labor history will continue to grow in the twenty-first century.

Allen pioneered his "white skin privilege" analysis in the 1960s, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997; Verso Books: New Expanded Edition, 2012).

Jeffrey B. Perry authored Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press, 2008); contributed new front and back matter to the new edition of Allen's The Invention of the White Race; and authored "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)

People may be interested in the following links --

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"

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race

For information on Hubert Harrison --
CLICK HERE for reviews of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918"
and CLICK HERE for information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader"
and CLICK HERE for writings, audio, and video abour Hubert Harrison

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" (Verso Books) CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE
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The Invention of The White Race by Theodore W. Allen Special 50% Off Free Shipping and Bundled E-Book

The Invention of
The White Race

by Theodore W. Allen
Special 50% Off
Free Shipping and Bundled E-Book
New Expanded Edition
Essential for Understanding "Race and Class" in the U.S.
A Wonderful Gift


Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic, first published in 1994 and 1997, presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Its thesis on the origin and nature of the “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges master narratives taught in the media and in schools, colleges, and universities. With its equalitarian motif and emphasis on class struggle it speaks to people today who strive for change worldwide. Its influence on our understanding of American, African American, and labor history will continue to grow in the twenty-first century.

Readers of the first edition of The Invention of the White Race were startled by Allen’s bold assertion on the back cover: “When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.” That statement, based on twenty-plus years of research of Virginia’s colonial records, reflected the fact that Allen found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691. As he later explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’ White identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be only after the passage of some six crucial decades” that the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”

Allen was not merely speaking of word usage, however. His probing research led him to conclude – based on the commonality of experience and demonstrated solidarity between African-American and European-American laboring people, the lack of a substantial intermediate buffer social control stratum, and the indeterminate status of African-Americans – that the “white race” was not, and could not have been, functioning in early Virginia.

It is in the context of such findings that he offers his major thesis -- the “white race” was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the later, civil war stages of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77). To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) the ruling elite, in its own class interest, deliberately instituted a system of racial privileges to define and maintain the “white race” and 2) the consequences were not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans, they were also “disastrous” for European-American workers, whose class interests differed fundamentally from those of the ruling elite.

In developing these theses Allen challenges the two main ideological props of white supremacy – the notion that “racism” is innate, and it is therefore useless to struggle against it, and the argument that European-American workers benefit from “white race” privileges and that it is in their interest not to oppose them and not to oppose white supremacy.

In an effort to assist readers and to encourage meaningful engagement with Allen’s work this new edition of The Invention Of the White Race includes new introductions, appendices, internal study guides, and expanded indexes.

For reader's comments, an introduction, the Verso Books discount offer, and a link to Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control CLICK HERE

For reader's comments, an introduction, the Verso Books discount offer, and a link to Volume 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America CLICK HERE

For further information on the work of Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For an in-depth discussion of Allen's work 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” at the top left HERE and also at "Cultural Logic" HERE

For a video of a slide presentation/talk on Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” by Jeffrey B. Perry see



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This Video on The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Just Passed the 30,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube Allen's Work is of Great Importance




This Video on The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Just Passed the 30,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube


The slide presentation/talk opens with some insights from Hubert Harrison, “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison and Allen are two of the most important writers and thinkers on "race" and class in the twentieth century and people are strongly encouraged to view and share this video and to discuss their work with others.

For information on Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE
For information on Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
For the Columbia University Press webpage on Hubert Harrison see CLICK HERE
For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, HERE discusses their work in detail.
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This Video on The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Just Passed the 25,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube




This Video on The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Just Passed the 25,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube


It opens with some insights from Hubert Harrison, “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison and Allen are two of the most important writers and thinkers on "race" and class in the twentieth century.
You are encouraged to view and share this video and and discuss their work with others.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gq77rOuZck

To see “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, CLICK HERE

For a short video of Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

This video introduction to Hubert Harrison is part of a five-part presentation series on Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen. This segment was videoed on July 26, 2014 by Fred Nguyen of Fan Smiles.

For information on Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE

For information on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
and CLICK HERE

For a video of Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry CLICK HERE
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The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy

In recent years the gap between rich and poor in the United States has grown to record proportions while stark racial disparities have persisted and in many instances increased. Millions of poor and working people are suffering and conditions are getting worse, particularly for Black and Latino people. This is happening at a time when the U.S. Census Bureau is predicting that “minorities” will comprise more than half of all children by 2023 and the majority of the population by 2042 and at a time when poor and working people domestically and internationally are showing an increased willingness to protest against exploitation and oppression.

While there are many factors affecting the current situation it is instructive to review some class and racial aspects of the developing conjuncture in the United States and to do so in the context of insights drawn from the lives and work of Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005). Harrison and Allen were working-class intellectual/activists who focused on the centrality of the fight against white supremacy and they are two of the twentieth-century’s most important writers on race and class. In the belief that their work has much to offer scholars, activists, and readers today, this essay presents an introduction to Harrison and Allen followed by a brief look at the developing conjuncture and a lengthier discussion of some insights from their lives and work.

For more see -- "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" by Jeffrey B. Perry in Cultural Logic, Special Issue: Culture and Crisis, available HERE and HERE
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The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Slide Presentation/Talk (Video) by Jeffrey B. Perry


Jeffrey B. Perry -- Slide Presentation/Talk on
The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books) by Theodore W. Allen
with special emphasis on Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.
Hosted by “The Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen Society”
Filmed by Fred Nguyen on January 31, 2013
Brecht Forum, New York City
.


Note -- On this cold January night in 2013 the Brecht Forum, when it was still located in lower Manhattan, had no heat. The standing room only audience is testimony to the interest in Theodore W. Allen's important work and the struggle against white supremacy. For more on Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race CLICK HERE!

Please mark this video for viewing and share with others!
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December 17th is the Anniversary of the Death of Hubert Harrison in 1927 at Age 44

Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) is one of the truly important figures of early twentieth-century America. A brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and political activist, he was described by the historian Joel A. Rogers, in World’s Great Men of Color as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time.” Labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph described Harrison as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison’s friend and pallbearer, Arthur Schomburg, fully aware of his popularity, eulogized to the thousands attending Harrison’s Harlem funeral that he was also “ahead of his time.”

Born in St. Croix, Danish West Indies, in 1883, to a Bajan mother and a Crucian father, Harrison arrived in New York as a seventeen-year-old orphan in 1900. He made his mark in the United States by struggling against class and racial oppression, by helping to create a remarkably rich and vibrant intellectual life among African Americans, and by working for the enlightened development of the lives of “the common people.” He consistently emphasized the need for working class people to develop class-consciousness; for “Negroes” to develop race consciousness, self-reliance, and self-respect; and for all those he reached to challenge white supremacy and develop modern, scientific, critical, and independent thought as a means toward liberation.

A self-described “radical internationalist,” Harrison was extremely well-versed in history and events in Africa, Asia, the Mideast, the Americas, and Europe. More than any other political leader of his era, he combined class-consciousness and anti-white supremacist race consciousness in a coherent political radicalism. He opposed capitalism and maintained that white supremacy was central to capitalist rule in the United States. He emphasized that “politically, the Negro is the touchstone of the modern democratic idea”; that “as long as the Color Line exists, all the perfumed protestations of Democracy on the part of the white race” were “downright lying,” that “the cant of ‘Democracy’” was “intended as dust in the eyes of white voters,” and that true democracy and equality for “Negroes” implied “a revolution . . . startling even to think of.”

Working from this theoretical framework, he was active with a wide variety of movements and organizations and played signal roles in the development of what were, up to that time, the largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the “New Negro”/Garvey movement) in U.S. history. His ideas on the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy anticipated the profound transformative power of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation struggles of the 1960s and his thoughts on “democracy in America” offer penetrating insights on the limitations and potential of America in the twenty-first century.

Harrison served as the foremost Black organizer, agitator, and theoretician in the Socialist Party of New York during its 1912 heyday; he founded the first organization (the Liberty League) and the first newspaper (The Voice) of the militant, World War I-era “New Negro” movement; and he served as the editor of the New Negro in 1919 and as the editor of the Negro World and principal radical influence on the Garvey movement during its radical high point in 1920. His views on race and class profoundly influenced a generation of “New Negro” militants including the class radical A. Philip Randolph and the race radical Marcus Garvey. Considered more race conscious than Randolph and more class conscious than Garvey, Harrison is a key ideological link between the two great trends of the Black Liberation Movement--the labor and civil rights trend associated with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the race and nationalist trend associated with Malcolm X. (Randolph and Garvey were, respectively, the direct links to King marching on Washington, with Randolph at his side, and to Malcolm, whose parents were involved with the Garvey movement, speaking militantly and proudly on street corners in Harlem.)

Harrison was not only a political radical, however. J. A. Rogers described him as an “Intellectual Giant and Free-Lance Educator,” whose contributions were wide-ranging, innovative, and influential. He was an immensely skilled and popular orator and educator who spoke and/or read six languages; a highly praised journalist, critic, and book reviewer (reportedly the first regular Black book reviewer in history); a pioneer Black activist in the freethought and birth control movements; a bibliophile and library builder and popularizer who helped develop the 135th Street Public Library into what became known as the internationally famous Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; a pioneer Black lecturer for the New York City Board of Education and one of its foremost orators). His biography offers profound insights on race, class, religion, immigration, war, democracy, and social change in America.

For information on vol. 1 of his biography, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

For writings by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

December 17th is the anniversary of the death of Hubert Harrison in 1927 at age 44. – Please help to spread the word about his important life and work!

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Slavery in Anglo-America as capitalism, Slaveholders as capitalists, Chattel bond-laborers as proletarians . . . and Class Consciousness

"Given this understanding of slavery in Anglo-America as capitalism, and of the slaveholders as capitalists, it follows that the chattel bond-laborers were proletarians. Accordingly, the study of class consciousness as a sense the American workers have of their own class interests, must start with recognition of that fact."

-- Theodore W. Allen --
-- From his critical review --
--"On Roediger’s 'The Wages of Whiteness,'” 2001
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