Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California / Edition 2

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Overview

"This book unravels the ethnic history of California since the late nineteenth-century Anglo-American conquest and institutionalization of "white supremacy" in the state. Tomas 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 Mexican ranchero and 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." "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 groupsin 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 Lines is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of ethnicity and class in America, and the social construction of "race" in the Far West.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A survey of the historical origins of the relationship between Anglos and Mexicans in California, and the differences in the 19th century historical experiences of the Mexican and the Indian, Chinese, and Japanese populations in the US. Examines attitudes such as manifest destiny and white supremacy, and discusses the class-specific nature of the Mexican encounter with European Americans, the federal government's policy of relocating California Indians, and anti-Chinese sentiment displaced on Japanese workers. Paper edition (unseen), $15.00. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520257863
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 554,453
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author


Tomás Almaguer is Professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 "We Desire Only a White Population in California": The Transformation of Mexican California in Historical-Sociological Perspective 17

Pt. 1 Racial Ambiguities, Class Realities, and "Half Civilized" Mexicans in Anglo California

2 "The True Significance of the Word 'White'" 45

3 "The Ravages of Time and the Intrusion of Modern American Civilization" 75

Pt. 2 White Civilization's Crusade Against the "Devils of the Forest"

4 "Before the March of Civilization He Must Give Way" 107

5 "Unfit and Incapable of Being Associated with Whites on Any Terms of Equality" 131

Pt. 3 Racialized Class Conflict and Asian Immigrants in Anglo California

6 "They Can Be Hired in Masses; They Can Be Managed and Controlled like Unthinking Slaves" 153

7 "In the Hands of People Whose Experience Has Been Only to Obey a Master Rather than Think and Manage for Themselves" 183

Epilogue 205

Notes 215

Bibliography 259

Index 275

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