Racial Fault Lines The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California

ISBN-10: 0520089472
ISBN-13: 9780520089471
Edition: 1994
List price: $22.95
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Description: This book unravels the ethnic history of California since the late nineteenth-century Anglo-American conquest and institutionalization of "white supremacy" in the state. Almaguer comparatively assesses the struggles for control of resources, status,  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 12/6/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

This book unravels the ethnic history of California since the late nineteenth-century Anglo-American conquest and institutionalization of "white supremacy" in the state. Almaguer comparatively assesses the struggles for control of resources, status, and political legitimacy between the European American and the Native American, Mexican, African-American, Chinese, and Japanese populations. Drawing from an array of primary and secondary sources, he weaves a detailed, disturbing portrait of ethnic, racial, and class relationships during this tumultuous time. The U.S. annexation of California in 1848 and the simultaneous discovery of gold sparked rapid and diverse waves of immigration westward, displacing the already established pastoral Mexican society. Almaguer shows how the confrontation between white immigrants and the Mexicanrancheroand working class populations was also a contestation over racial status in which racialization influenced and was in turn influenced by class position in the changing economic order. Partly because of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which granted U.S. citizenship and other rights, parts of the Mexican population were integrated into the emerging Anglo society more easily than other racialized groups. A case study of Ventura County highlights declining political and economic fortunes of the Mexican elite while showing how Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian populations were permanently relegated to the bottom of the class structure as unskilled manual workers. The fate of the Native American population provides perhaps the most extreme example of white supremacy during the period. Popular conceptions of Native Americans as "uncivilized and "heathen," justified the killing of more than 8,000 men, women, and children between 1848 and 1870. Many survivors were incorporated at the periphery of Anglo society, often as indentured laborers and virtual slaves. Underpinning the institutional structuring of white supremacy were notions such as "manifest destiny," the inherent good of the capitalist wage-system, and the superiority of Christianity and Euro-American culture, all of which helped to marginalize non white groups in California and justify Anglo-American class dominance. As other racialized groups assumed new roles, Almaguer assesses the complex interplay between economic forces and racial attitudes that simultaneously structured and allocated "group position" in the new social hierarchy. California remains a contested racial frontier, as political struggles over the rights and opportunities of different groups continue to reverberate along racial lines.Racial Fault Linesis an invaluable contribution to our understanding of ethnicity and class in America, and the social construction of "race" in the Far West.

Tomaacute;s Almagueris Professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
"We Desire Only a White Population in California": The Transformation of Mexican California in Historical-Sociological Perspective
Racial Ambiguities, Class Realities, and "Half Civilized" Mexicans in Anglo California
"The True Significance of the Word 'White'"
"The Ravages of Time and the Intrusion of Modern American Civilization"
White Civilization's Crusade Against the "Devils of the Forest"
"Before the March of Civilization He Must Give Way"
"Unfit and Incapable of Being Associated with Whites on Any Terms of Equality"
Racialized Class Conflict and Asian Immigrants in Anglo California
"They Can Be Hired in Masses; They Can Be Managed and Controlled like Unthinking Slaves"
"In the Hands of People Whose Experience Has Been Only to Obey a Master Rather than Think and Manage for Themselves"
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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