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Racism: A Short History
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Racism: A Short History

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  180 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Are antisemitism and white supremacy manifestations of a general phenomenon? Why didn't racism appear in Europe before the fourteenth century, and why did it flourish as never before in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Why did the twentieth century see institutionalized racism in its most extreme forms? Why are egalitarian societies particularly susceptible to viru...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published April 30th 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published 2002)
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Lock
I got pretty sucked into this one. While I had read accounts of the separate development of antisemitism and white supremacy, I hadn't encountered a study that so thoroughly and consistently related them to one another, crafting a single historical narrative and detailing the religious, philosophical, and "scientific" interplay between the two tendencies. Does a good job of creating and utilizing a specific taxonomy of racist societies and regimes; very useful. The style is pretty dry, typical a...more
Jon
A lot has been written about European anti-Semitism and American White Supremacism, but a comparative study of racism which takes into account both of its dominant manifestations is rare to find. Fredrickson's book manages to fill this gap by developing a conceptual framework of racism based on a comparison of Jim Crow America, Nazi Germany, and Apartheid South Africa. As a result, this book is more insightful and valuable than most works that dealt just with nation-specific manifestations of ra...more
Drick
This author takes a close look at three historical instances of racism: The American South, Nazi Germany and the apartheid regime of South Africa. Through a discussion of these three he develops a framework for identifying racism vs. culturalism or generally xenophobia. While I found his historical overview intersting, I sensed an underlying assumption that racism was rational decision. He did not accoutn much for the non-rational aspects of racism: fear of the "other," identity insecurity, self...more
Miss
I had to read this book for an university-course and I thought it presented a good overview of where rascist thoughts and ideologies come from, how they slowly evolved to legitimize certain hierarchies. From all the definitions I have read of the word "racism" I must say that I agree with Fredrickson's definition the most because it covers all the important areas and cuts out discrimination concerning things other than race or ethnicity. I also think it's important to emphasize openly racist reg...more
Brent
Fredrickson’s definition includes “difference and power” as the major components of racism (p. 9). He argues that anything that lacks one or the other of these characteristics, however negative, could be called culturalism or prejudice but it would not be racism. He also argues that if the characteristics that elicit prejudice are not genetic and one is able to move from the persecuted group to the dominant group through any means, then it is also not truly racism. With this definition in mind F...more
todd
As the title indicates, a short history. The parallels Fredrickson draws between color-coded racism and antisemitism are interesting but ultimately not very illuminating. As Fredrickson himself admits in the text, the differences between the two are often greater than the similarities.

Nevertheless, the book does much to arrive at a clearer definition of a frequently misused or sloppily-applied term: racism. It also serves as a decent sketch outline of the emergence of racism as a historical phen...more
Chris
For its length, I think this book does an excellent job of examining the history of "race" and "racism." It takes the approach of explaining racism as a modern "invention", rather than viewing it as an anthropological or psychological phenomenon. From the other literature I've read on the topic, this viewpoint is widely accepted in the academic community, and the historical record itself is very compelling to this point. The book begins with a description of events just prior to the "Limpieza de...more
Regina
Not sure if I agree with everything in this book but it is incredibly well written, thoughtful and even creative. Basic idea is that overt racist regimes appeared and disappeared in the 20th century. The most extreme examples include: Jim Crow South, Nazi Germany and S. African Apartheid. Interesting ideas about link between modernity, rationality and racism.
Paul
A comparative history of anti-Semitism and racism. Once the bibliography and appendix are taken out, it really is a "Short History" of racism, and I wouldn't have minded a bit more space to explore some of the arguments in a bit more detail as some generalisations creep in which I would rather were examined more closely.
Yasmina
I had to read this one for class.
Really made me think about racism differently. Frederickson compared the Nazis to the South African Apartheid to the Jim Crow South, three things I had always studied in a vacuum. I think this should be required reading for everyone-seriously.
Jim
A short exploration of racism, firmly couching it as a purely modern social ill.
Katie
I can find value in any book that makes its point in less than 150 pages.
Lindsey
This book was a bit repeatative and often very technical.
Alyssa
good but SUPER dense.
Hans Ollaiver
Svart. Pocket. Rasism.
Larry Buchalter
Larry Buchalter marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2014
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Carlotta marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2014
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