The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class

Regular price $ 19.95

by David R. Roediger

Verso Books

11/22/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781839768309


Combining classical Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the new labor history pioneered by E. P. Thompson and Herbert Gutman, David Roediger's widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States. This, he argues, cannot be explained simply with reference to economic advantage; rather, white working-class racism is underpinned by a complex series of psychological and ideological mechanisms that reinforce racial stereotypes, and thus help to forge the identities of white workers in opposition to Blacks.


"At last an American labor historian realizes that white workers have a racial identity that matters as race matters to workers who are not white." --Nell Irwin Painter, Princeton University

"A brilliant account of how white workers in antebellum America constructed a social identity fundamentally premised on their 'whiteness.'" --Steve Fraser, American Historical Review

"Scholarly and thoroughly documented, The Wages of Whiteness is nonetheless a highly readable, compact and compelling narrative. A provocative illumination of the long and tortuous history of racism in the US." --Franklin Rosemont, Heartland Journal

"A real contribution to the study of the dynamic relationship that exists between the variables of race and class. A very engaging and compelling book. Wages of Whiteness will have a broad appeal to students and researchers across a wide array of disciplines." --Lisa Reilly and Cameron McCarthy, European Journal of Intercultural Studies

About the Contributors:

David Roediger is Kendrick Babcock Chair of History at the University of Illinois. Among his books are Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day (with Philip S. Foner), How Race Survived US History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon, and The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. He is the editor of Fellow Worker: The Life of Fred Thompson, The North and Slavery and Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White as well as a new edition of Covington Hall's Labor Struggles in the Deep South. His articles have appeared in New Left Review, Against the Current, Radical History Review, History Workshop Journal, The Progressive and Tennis.