Streams

The History of White People

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Historian Nell Irvin Painter explains how the idea of the white race was invented, and why. In The History of White People she shows how the origins of American identity in the eighteenth century were tied to the elevation of white skin into the embodiment of beauty, power, and intelligence, and how the definitions of who is "white" and who is "American" have evolved over time.

Event: Nell Irvin Painter will be speaking and signing books
Tuesday, March 16, at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
2289 Broadway at 82nd Street

Guests:

Nell Irvin Painter

Comments [36]

a. g. from hudson county nj

the thing [race] is an artificial construct. that does not mean it does not exist as a very real historical entity[past present and i can assure you,future]. to argue that testing scores cannot have a correlation to race,based on the negation of race as "real", is so silly and intellectually specious. that someone would think so simplistically,in this day in age,pretty much dispels the absurd notion that we are "post racial" [whatever the heck that is].

Mar. 16 2010 06:49 PM
a. g. from hudson county nj

tion of a much greater political and historical reality.

Mar. 16 2010 06:31 PM
Jack The Bear from Brooklyn

To "thetruth!",

Race is an invention.

Mar. 16 2010 03:46 PM
hjs from 11211

truth
chill!

Mar. 16 2010 01:58 PM
Paul from Orange

Ms. Painter you need to review your research on suburban housing bias against non WASPS. There were anti-Semitic (and of course anti-negro) restrictive covenants in the property deeds in many communities and in many states (check out northern NJ - Pompton Lakes, Franklin Lakes, etc). The fact that these were eventually outlawed and rendered unenforceable via state and Federal law doesn't mean they weren't strictly (sometimes violently) enforced in the past.

Mar. 16 2010 01:58 PM
R. King from South Central. LA

Can't we all just get along?

Mar. 16 2010 01:58 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Huh? If you are white in the 20th century you are not considered "cool" OMG what a juvenile mentality!

Mar. 16 2010 01:55 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Nell is talking about everything EXCEPT the history of white people.

Mar. 16 2010 01:55 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Black people are now white too.

Mar. 16 2010 01:53 PM
Lucille Poleshuck from Manhattan

Nell Irvin Painter - what an obnoxious guest to interview. She replied "No" to most of your comments, contradicted you even when she agreed and consistently interrupted you. Difficult to listen to even when the subject matter is interesting.

Mar. 16 2010 01:51 PM
Seth from Upper West Side

This discussion is kind of all over the place and doesn't jive with the book's title.

Mar. 16 2010 01:51 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Mike from Atlanta GA -- A creed is defined in my dictionary as a formal statement or confession of religious belief, as well as a system of belief, principles, or opinions.

Mar. 16 2010 01:46 PM
a. g. from hudson county nj

we had a horrible crime a few days ago. the guy was described as "hispanic". it turned out he had a "middle eastern " sounding name.
my point: aren't we really saying puerto rican or mexican for the most part[especially the media] when someone is thought to be hispanic.
so a whole grouping of a more specific sub-set is being called out without explicitly saying so. [a sort of political correctness caved in on itself on the part of the media] on the other end,a whole grouping of PEOPLE'S are being indicted by association,simply by having some degree of seperation as a connecting association to the idiotic construct of hispanic[or latino for that matter] can we get a collective brain!

Mar. 16 2010 01:44 PM
the truth! from BKNY

I am going to "invent" a race.

Mar. 16 2010 01:43 PM
Mike from Atlanta, GA

Since I am a non believer, should I be classified as that race?

Mar. 16 2010 01:43 PM
John SMythe from NYC

Two things. I think race boundaries depend on the unknown. I'm from Northern Europe originally, grew up there 64-84. Remember distinctly "common knowledge" at the time was that Italians and Spanish people ('olive people') were not as smart and lazier than Northerners.

After the immigrants came from Turkey, the Italians and Spanish were considered 'white' and 'like us'.

Somehow people from the Eastern Block were considered non-white ('different') until after the fall of the Berlin wall.

Not related to race (perhaps) but interesting... Israelis might see themselves as White and European, but Europeans definitely do not think so the other way around.

Mar. 16 2010 01:43 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Gabriel and TC, you both are talking Waaayy above this lady's head...she is talking "skull size" and that type nonsense...she is not ready for either of your points of view. lol

Mar. 16 2010 01:42 PM
the truth! from BKNY

All of this convo about melanin!

Mar. 16 2010 01:38 PM
the truth! from BKNY

HJS...yes I am aware and the list goes on! Hungarians, Scottish, Australians..the list goes on.

Mar. 16 2010 01:37 PM
TC from Manhattan

if there is no scientific basis for differentiating race and you seem to argue that race is socially constructed, why then do some opponents of standardized tests claim that the tests are racially "unfair"? Related question--same segway, why do some schools still allow "minority" individuals with lower test scores, etc. gain admission, but "white" people need higher scores? Do you agree with these practices/arguments? In your opinion is this counterproductive in eradicating racial bases for intellectual ability?

Mar. 16 2010 01:36 PM
Gabriel Reich from Richmond VA

Eugenics is so full of irony. I have seen the proceedings of scientific conferences from the 20s in which most sessions are about breeding agricultural commodities and then there will be a session on human breeding. The irony is that the plant scientists discuss creating superior strains by cross-breeding varieties. When they talk about humans, however, cross breeding creates is supposed to weaken the offspring.

Culture frames scientific inquiry.

Mar. 16 2010 01:36 PM
the truth! from BKNY

what exactly is the history of white people? I am still not hearing the answer.

Mar. 16 2010 01:36 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Wow.

Mar. 16 2010 01:35 PM
Claire from White Plains

This entire subject is ridiculous. No one is really white or black. Many of us involved with genealogy understand this very well.

Mar. 16 2010 01:34 PM
hjs from 11211

the truth
english are immigrants also.

Mar. 16 2010 01:34 PM
Pete from Bronx, NY

Ms. Painter: With all due respect, being a Jew or Jewish is not a race! It is a Religion! Thank you.

Mar. 16 2010 01:31 PM
Sandra from Astoria

"Without the presence of black people in
America, European-Americans would not be 'white'--they would be only Irish, Italians, Poles, and others engaged in class, ethnic, and gender struggles over resources and identity." -- Cornell West, RACE MATTERS

Mar. 16 2010 01:31 PM
the truth! from BKNY

What is wrong with white people? Is it mental or emotional?

Mar. 16 2010 01:29 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Both jews and italians are immigrants and in this country minorities.

Mar. 16 2010 01:28 PM
the truth! from BKNY

Are jews and italians white? I think not, both are minorities.

Mar. 16 2010 01:28 PM
Mike from Atlanta, GA

I see race, creed, color. What is Creed exactly?

Mar. 16 2010 01:28 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Looking forward to reading Professor Painter's book. I highly recommend her 1989 book "Standing at Armageddon: The United States 1877-1919."

Mar. 16 2010 01:27 PM
Betty from Brooklyn

My facebook friends are discussing the new Census form that has categories for African American, Black, and Negro. They're wondering what the difference is and some of them are offended by the word "Negro."

Mar. 16 2010 01:26 PM
Seth from Upper West Side

Or the book "Are Italians White"?

Mar. 16 2010 01:19 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Is Ms. Painter familiar w/the book "How the Jews Became White," by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz?

Mar. 16 2010 01:16 PM
hjs from 11211

fear of the other, since the beginning, we continue that battle.

Mar. 16 2010 12:57 PM

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