James Barrett/David Roediger
Inbetween Peoples: Race, Nationality, and the „New-Immigrant“ Working Class
This essay explores the racial position of southern and eastern European immigrants to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By examining racial identities ascribed to these „new immigrants“ by others – in shop floor and union settings, laws and court decisions, and popular culture – as well as their racial self-awareness and racial attitudes, it shows that their racial status and identity were neither clear nor fixed: They were seen, and often viewed themselves, neither as non-white like African Americans or Asian immigrants nor as white, but as somewhere „inbetween“. This status of „inbetween-ness“ was fraught with ambiguities and contradictions and offered no straight road to whiteness. The protracted process by which the „new immigrants“ eventually came to be racialized as „(ethnic) whites“, the authors argue, was closely linked to their becoming „American“. This, in turn, shows, that Americanization was not solely about nation, but also always an issue of race.
Kurz-Bio: James Barrett/David Roediger
James R. Barrett, Historiker, Professor am Department of History, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign
David Roediger, Historiker, Babcock Chair of History an der University of Illinios-Urbana/Champaign