When Affirmative Action was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-century America

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2005 - History - 238 pages
A groundbreaking work that exposes the twisted origins of affirmative action.

When Affirmative Action Was White demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. This was no accident. With the United States still in an era of legal segregation, the powerful southern wing of the Democratic Party provided the framework for Social Security, the GI Bill, and landmark labor laws that helped create the foundations of the modern middle class. Through mechanisms that specifically excluded maids and farmworkers and through laws that kept administration in local hands, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. The publication of this deeply disturbing work promises to create a national debate on the meaning of affirmative action and the responsibility of government.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aketzle - LibraryThing

Learned a lot in this book! Very important reading! Highly recommended. 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. Read full review

WHEN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WAS WHITE: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America

User Review  - Kirkus

A searching study of institutional inequality, much of it wrought, then as now, by the South."Three-fourths of us are disenfranchised; yet no writer on democratic reform says a word about Negroes ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Ira Katznelson is Columbia University's Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History. Having served as president of the American Political Science Association, he is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is also the author of Fear Itself and When Affirmative Action Was White.

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