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Chapter 7

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York University
Administrative Studies
ADMS 3450
Lois King

WhitesEuropean Americans Chapter 7HISTORY OF WHITES IN THE UNITED STATESIn the past a common complaint about such courses was that they effectively and at times purposely excluded people of color or represented them in a derogatory mannerWhite ethnic groups faced considerable overt discrimination and exclusion in their early years in the United StatesClashes between Irish German Polish and Italian immigrants conflicts over work and residential segregation were common There was a pecking order for Whites with the earliest immigrants the English at the top followed by Germans Irish Italians and PolesThe English viewed later White immigrants as dirty immoral unintelligent and dishonest terms quite similar to those used for Blacks and immigrants of color and sought to avoid interacting with them at work and in the homeWhite ethnic groups encouraged and capitalized on the fear and antipathy of highstatus Whites toward Blacks using it to become insiders or Americans by claiming their membership as Whites designating Blacks as the otherThe Past Transiency and Current Meaning of Race for WhitesWhite ethnic groups were segregated from one another certain jobs were reserved for members of one ethnic group and other jobs for other groups Italians were perceived as likely to engage in criminal activity a stereotype that remains to some extent eg mobsters Irish Catholics many of whom had fled Ireland in the face of religious persecution faced open hostility and exclusion In response they formed social political and labor organizations to resist discrimination and played key roles in the formation of the American Federation of LaborBrodkin suggests that White ethnic groups became White in several ways through overt actions of the government their own recognition that the way to become American was to assert their Whiteness in contrast to Blacks intermarriage with Whites from other groups that diluted the group differences and through the invisibility of their ethnicityDistinctions between native and immigrant Whites were no longer recorded allowing immigrants to become further incorporated into the White category although some overt discrimination against certain ethnic groups remainedOne advantage is the ability of Whites to behave badly without such behavior being attributed to all Whites Because Whites are the dominant and majority group they are less likely to be viewed as homogeneous eg ingroup heterogeneity and outgroup homogeneityHistory of Whites as Allies of Diversity
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