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Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be Whiteby David R. Roediger
Synopses & Reviews
In this thought-provoking volume, David R. Roediger has brought together some of the most important black writers throughout history to explore the question: What does it really mean to be white in America?
From folktales and slave narratives to contemporary essays, poetry, and fiction, black writers have long been among America's keenest students of white consciousness and white behavior, but until now much of this writing has been ignored.Black on White reverses this trend by presenting the work of more than fifty major figures, including James Baldwin, Derrick Bell, Ralph Ellison, W.E.B. Du Bois, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker to take a closer look at the many meanings of whiteness in our society.
Rich in irony, artistry, passion, and common sense, these reflections on what Langston Hughes called "the ways of white folks" illustrate how whiteness as a racial identity derives its meaning not as a biological category but as a social construct designed to uphold racial inequality. Powerful and compelling, Black on White provides a much-needed perspective that is sure to have a major impact on the study of race and race relations in America.
David R. Roediger is professor of history and chair of American studies at the University of Minnesota.He is the
Gathers selections from the writings of fifty African American authors depicting white people and their actions, beliefs, and role in society
Table of Contents
Pt. I. Confronting Whiteness and Seeing Through Race. Dialogue with a White Friend (1940) / W. E. B. Du Bois. Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination (1992) / Bell Hooks. Whites as Heathens and Christians (1830) / David Walker. On Race and Change (1874) / William Wells Brown. What Shall We Do with the White People? (1860) / "Ethiop" (William J. Wilson). The Color of Heaven (1996) / Mia Bay. Klansman's Prayer, cartoon (Undated) / Charles Johnson. Our White Folks (1927) / George S. Schuyler. Debating the Senator (1917) / J. A. Rogers — Pt. II. Whiteness as Property: The Workings of Race. Blacks, Whites and Work (1935) / Zora Neale Hurston. Whiteness as Property (1993) / Cheryl Harris. White Wages (1978) / Amiri Baraka. Enslaved (1976) / Elma Stuckey. Speech (1940) / Robert Hayden. White Man (1936) / Langston Hughes. Shadow of the Plantation (1948) / Harry Haywood. Snapshots of the Cotton South (1948) / Frank Marshall Davis. White Superiority in America (1988) / Derrick Bell — Pt. III. The White World and Whiter America. From Playing in the Dark (1992) / Toni Morrison. What America Would Be Like Without Blacks (1970) / Ralph Ellison. The Poor White Musician (1915) / James Weldon Johnson. Vanilla Nightmares (1986) / Adrian Piper. On Being "White" ... and Other Lies (1984) / James Baldwin. The White Witch (1935) / James Weldon Johnson. The Souls of White Folk (1920) / W. E. B. Du Bois — Pt. IV. Some White Folks. Jefferson Davis as a Representative of Civilization (1890) / W. E. B. Du Bois. On Aaron Henry (1995) / Charles M. Payne. On Herman Melville (1988) / Toni Morrison. The Caucasian Storms Harlem (1927) / Rudolph Fisher. Guerrilla Scholar on the Loose (1984) / Greg Tate. On White Negroes (1988) / Nelson George. The Dummy in the Window (1981) / Alice Walker. Slave on the Block (1934) / Langston Hughes. John Brown (1941) / Jacob Lawrence — Pt. V. White Women, White Men. Going to Meet the Man (1965) / James Baldwin. Mrs. Auld (1845) / Frederick Douglass. The Jealous Mistress (1861) / Harriet Jacobs. Wimodaughsis (1892) / Anna Julia Cooper. The Case Stated (1895) / Ida B. Wells-Barnett. On White Women Workers (1945) / Richard Wright. Health Card (1956) / Alice Childress. White Men as Performers in the Lynching Ritual (1984) / Trudier Harris. From Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism (1995) / Lewis Gordon. Madonna: Plantation Mistress or Soul Sister (1992) / Bell Hooks — Pt. VI. White Terrors. White Man's Guilt (1965) / James Baldwin. Slavery and Soul Murder (1995) / Nell Irvin Painter. Old Lem (1939) / Sterling A. Brown. The Lynching (1922) / Claude McKay. Muster (1861) / Harriet Jacobs. Mob Madness (1936) / Marion Vera Cuthbert. A Party Down at the Square (Undated, circa 1940) / Ralph Ellison.
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