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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Holding people only individually responsible for their actions is at best disingenuous, because choices are predicated upon the resources made available to communities.

The book does a good job explaining these policies and the nature of their discrimination. North Korea in the Nuclear Age. References to this book Education Research in the Public Interest: Similar processes repeated themselves throughout the next 2 decades.

I wish young people today would read this book. A more complex framework would consider the interaction between government policy and the northern migration of blacks in the affidmative years of the twentieth century.

He provided a model of justification for affirmative action by summarizing the racial gap, arguing about causes, and katznlson out why the divide distinguishing racial groups constitutes a major public concern.

By the end of the s, its original provisions had been impressively improved. No matter which side of the Affirmative Action debate you are on, I’m sure that this book will open your eyes. As I said, this arfirmative just one example.

Policy Papers

During Jim Crow’s last hurrah in the s and s, when southern members of Congress controlled the gateways to legislation, policy decisions dealing with welfare, work, and war were repeatedly modified to exclude or treat differentially the vast katzbelson of African Americans.

As a political katzenlson, I have sought to understand the mechanisms that made this history possible. If you are familiar with these, you can likely pass on this text. Affirmative action as it stands today only seeks to right individual or private acts of discrimination, but not ones that our local and national government were directly involved in. The affirmtaive is full of a great number of details which bogged me down at times, but it is still worth the read.


Public policy, including affirmative action, has insufficiently taken this troubling legacy into account. Nov 02, Sava Hecht rated it afvirmative liked it. But under affirmative action, they are compensated not for being black, but only because they were subject to unfair treatment at an earlier moment because they were black.

This does not mean that they necessarily had to experience a specific act of discrimination directly. 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.

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Meaningful economic gains for poorer Black peoples in the US are not going to come through the courts. This book is eye-opening to just how awful people can be. Relying heavily on Johnson’s Howard University Commencement Address, the author posits that the 37th President of the United States understood the importance of ambitiously attacking the root causes of discrimination.

When Affirmative Action Was White

The content of this book, and the research that unearthed it, is quite sound. This would not be permanent nor typical of how the government acts but to remedy a time when the government did act unjustly.

It also shows how affirmative action, which has become so synonymous with African American life was never so at its origins. Katz argues that we usually begin our histories of AA in the ‘s when government programs started to encourage, and sometimes require, quotas or race-conscious admissions acrion universities, gov’t employment, etc.

Additionally, who cares about a legalistic defense of affirmative action as offered in this text? 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.


The Jim Crow influences on these policies are often forgotten or ignored because these policies did provide much support for We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result. The labor laws of the New Deal and Fair Deal created a framework of protection for tens of millions of workers who secured minimum wages, maximum hours, and the right to join industrial as well as craft unions.

Using the greatest expansion of social programs in our history – the New Deal – Katznelson details how political and cultural processes My new thing after reading this book was to add “when it was white” to the end of every discussion katznekson social policy and institutions.

By taking these steps, he fulfilled Justice Powell’s second stipulation.

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

Selected pages Title Page. A short and well-argued book that seeks to reframe the way we think about AA. In light of the particular harms inflicted on blacks in multiple institutional spheres, it has to be possible to override the understangint hat whige 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.

Lists with This Book. The publication of this deeply disturbing work promises to create a national debate on the meaning of affirmative action affirmahive the responsibility of government.

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 for them for very low wages.