Some People Say

That race is our national DNA.

People hear it’s a book called “The History of White People” and that it’s by a black author, and make assumptions.

Author Nell Irvin Painter traces the American persistent desire to create racial difference out of nothing – with nothing referring to the 99.99% genetic code all humans share – to being founded in 1789 right about the same moment that Blumenbach was inventing Caucasians – this moment of racialization.

Then to:

We’re currently in the midst of the fourth great expansion, which is an expansion of the idea of the American — that an American doesn’t necessarily need to be white to be considered American. “American” now includes Hispanics, for example, and people who identify themselves as multiracial.

And here she REALLY loses me. The blanket term Hispanic completely ignores the wide range of color within Hispanic groups. And multiracial fails to note the implication that at least one of the multi races is white. For theories concerned with whiteness there is far too much emphasis on race, and not on color. I’ve always attributed the National DNA of race to power dynamics and slavery, color as a convenient means of asserting cultural difference and perpetuating class dominance.

She also equates Stuff White People Like with really, what middle class people like. I would see this and raise it one liberal hipster grade.


Filed under: Color, HISTORY

To Be or Not to Be

The marriage edition, by way of Charles Darwin.

To marry: Children — (if it Please God) — Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, — object to be beloved & played with. — —better than a dog anyhow.— Home, & someone to take care of house — Charms of music & female chit-chat. — These things good for one’s health.

Not to marry: Freedom to go where one liked — choice of Society & little of it. — Conversation of clever men at clubs — Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. — to have the expense & anxiety of children — perhaps quarelling — Loss of time. — cannot read in the Evenings — fatness & idleness — Anxiety & responsibility — less money for books &c — if many children forced to gain one’s bread. — (But then it is very bad for ones health to work too much)

Filed under: Contingency Plans, HISTORY

The New Deal

The greatest achievement of early modern economic growth was not the Industrial Revolution itself, but the way in which the leading Western economies began to move away from highly parochial, narrow networks of personal exchange and came to rest instead on increasingly complex national and international commercial networks of impersonal exchange.

Money, an item not necessarily intrinsically desirable or usable but serving as a stand-in for the complex wants and valuations of untold individuals, is an unnatural idea that required centuries to take hold. How much more difficult to grasp was a system of international finance founded upon even more complex forms of exchange?

The common man did not worry about such high and mighty notions. But to the extent that he moved from trusting the corner grocer to relying on national suppliers, or from worrying about the trustworthiness of individual bankers to trusting a currency or banking system backed by a larger, more diffuse international system (itself held together by gold and by the faith that governments and bankers managed that relationship properly), he served as a brick in the edifice of a new concept of political economy.

The Great Depression led to a loss in this social trust that institutions could be counted on and left to their own devices. Article here.

Filed under: Enterprise & Economies, HISTORY