WHEN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WAS WHITE An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America. By Ira Katznelson. pp. When Affirmative Action Was White has ratings and 81 reviews. ” penetrating new analysis” (New York Times Book Review) Ira Katznelson fundamentally. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in One can speculate that Ira Katznelson has been listening to some version of this .

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The central reason, according to Katznelson, was because Democratic leaders needed the support of southern representatives in Congress to pass their ambitious legislative programs. By taking these steps, he fulfilled Justice Powell’s second stipulation. North Korea in the Nuclear Age. The New Deal was crafted with discriminatory intent. The army was a great engine of skill training and mobility during the Second World War. Neither can the goal to be pursued by affirmative action be vague or only of moderate importance.

Until then, Ida will continue moderating my classroom debates and watching the differences between Americans grow. Administered by local politicians throughout the South, New Deal relief programs were simply not given to the vast majority of African Americans.

However, the conclusion of the book didn’t resolve well for me. It also shows how affirmative action, which has become so synonymous with African American life was never so at its origins. Positioning the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act as key moments in America’s modern labor wxs, Katznelson shows how southern congressmen incorporated provisions into legislation that exempted agricultural and domestic labor.

To the contrary, individually and collectively they organized a revolution in the role of government that remade the country’s social structure in dramatic, positive ways. In the words of noted historian Eric Foner, “Katznelson’s incisive book should change the terms of debate about affirmative action, and about the last seventy years of American history.

When affirmative action was white | History and Policy

In doing so, he also highlights the effectiveness of those social programs – the GI Bill, Social Security, etc. Combining Powell’s principles and Johnson’s ambitions can push us forward to a framework for public policies that can respond to the injuries inflicted by officially-sanctioned racism.


Powell’s distinctions placed the onus of proof on the character of the historical evidence that is deployed to justify rectification. Katznelson believes that progressives have done a poor job over the past years of defending affirmative action for minorities, and that the public as a whole is pivoting towards the belief that such programs do more harm affirative good, by giving minorities unfair advantage over the majority white population.

Robert Lieberman, Shifting the Color Line: A more complex framework would consider the interaction between government policy and the northern migration of blacks in the middle years of the twentieth century.

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International Relations Religion Education Sports. An extension of affirmative action, in the author’s mind, would end the need for state-sponsored compensation within a generation and create a qas “color-blind” society. How did these local officials behave? Social Security began to pay old age pensions in On a more substantial level, Katznelson’s emphasis on the culpability of southern representatives in Congress is not completely satisfactory. Puts the whole concept of affirmative action in historical context compared to all the times when government action was essentially an economic launching pad for white people at the expense of black Americans.

This process could go back a while: Consequently, while white workers throughout the United States gained the means to organize and improve their standard of living, the sectors dominated by African American workers were left to languish in further poverty. Katznelson makes a persuasive case for affirmative action as a corrective for identifiable instances of government intervention on behalf of white Americans, rather than as a generalized apology for racism.

This book is an excellent survey of racial discrimination in the New Deal and Fair Deal programs. At no other time in American history has so much money and so many resources been put at the service of the generation completing education, entering the work force, and forming families. Further, if there is a non-racial way to pursue a given whtie, that course should always be preferred. Powell argued that modifications to colour-blind policies could be undertaken to remedy race-based disadvantages when two conditions are met.

Feb 18, Marcella Wigg rated it really liked it Shelves: In light of the particular harms inflicted on blacks in multiple institutional spheres, it has to be possible to override the understangint hat equal protection ordinarly applies to individuals, not racital groups, in order “not only to end discrimination,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has hargued, “but also to counteract discrimation’s lingering effects.


Social Security and the The title alone of this book deserves a affirmatve and so here I give it. In this approach, he followed Justice Powell’s first requirement. However, he adds an important principle and deeper historical understanding to our conversations about the gov’t role in redressing past injustices. For example, social security and unemployment benefits were specifically engineered to cut out domestic workers and farm workers in order to placate Southerners who didn’t want to encourage African Americans to stop working affjrmative them for very low wages.

Lots of good information, just for some reason I found it a slog, though it isn’t particularly unreadable. Wyen library Help Advanced Book Search. May 30, Fraser Kinnear rated it liked it Shelves: It was fascinating and horrifying to see how and why programs running from the New D Really academic but informative book This book has been touted recently in light of news on affirmative action so it seemed like a good candidate to borrow from the library. According to Katznelson, it had deep roots in the s and played an active role in exacerbating the socio-economic chasm between whites and blacks in the post-World War II years.

I learned a great deal reading this book although the novel read more like a detailed essay than anything else.

When Affirmative Action Was White | W. W. Norton & Company

Jul 17, George rated it it was amazing. I think this is a great read, but recommend it only on the condition that it not be your only read on the subject. This was no accident. Pretty interesting, Katznelson makes the case that legislators and government administrators worked to keep the 20th century’s social welfare programs from helping blacks in America.