Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability

Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard

Language: English

Pages: 328

ISBN: 0520280873

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A pathbreaking history of the development of scientific racism, white nationalism, and segregationist philanthropy in the U.S. and South Africa in the early twentieth century, Waste of a White Skin focuses on the American Carnegie Corporation’s study of race in South Africa, the Poor White Study, and its influence on the creation of apartheid.

This book demonstrates the ways in which U.S. elites supported apartheid and Afrikaner Nationalism in the critical period prior to 1948 through philanthropic interventions and shaping scholarly knowledge production. Rather than comparing racial democracies and their engagement with scientific racism, Willoughby-Herard outlines the ways in which a racial regime of global whiteness constitutes domestic racial policies and in part animates black consciousness in seemingly disparate and discontinuous racial democracies. This book uses key paradigms in black political thought—black feminism, black internationalism, and the black radical tradition—to provide a rich account of poverty and work. Much of the scholarship on whiteness in South Africa overlooks the complex politics of white poverty and what they mean for the making of black political action and black people’s presence in the economic system.

Ideal for students, scholars, and interested readers in areas related to U.S. History, African History, World History, Diaspora Studies, Race and Ethnicity, Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Science.

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poverty. In South Africa, advertisements, political cartoons, and ethnographic and documentary photography have all used visual imagery to represent debates over meaning, history, and social relations. Using these sources, I read and examine the practices of the black radical tradition that expose rediscoveries of white misery, playing with whiteness, and the constant need to reconsolidate the unstable racial regime of white nationalism. I offer the language of “global whiteness” to extend the

of authenticity is the same racial logic that Bantu Affairs used to justify separate development since black people who participated in urban commodity culture were said to be in danger of losing their culture. The poor whites were not primitive. They were not remnants of a prior historical time. And probably long before Ballen came to photograph them, they knew that other white people had the consumer attributes of white status and a white standard of living—suburban homes, garbage disposals,

specter that poor whites would become eventual political allies of their neighbors, who they had begun to marry and rent rooms from. The prominent educator and Poor White Study researcher Ernest G. Malherbe wrote, “We saw the poor white was often a victim of his environment. But just as often he was the cause of his deteriorating environment.”50 Malherbe’s conclusion directly challenged the ecological and structural explanations of poverty, reducing poverty (and white poverty especially) to a

rural areas. Each of these are key nation-building sites, albeit not sites for promoting democracy. Rothmann’s experiences and history of leadership of female and male social workers and educators made her the most appropriate woman to be appointed to the Carnegie Commission’s Poor White Study, which provided an international audience that was deeply committed to white supremacy and segregated racial regimes as a solution to both the “Negro Problem” and the “Poor White Problem,” as they were

affairs.10 Reading African Diaspora Studies through the lens of political diaspora, by which I mean identifying mutually reinforcing global racial conditions of antiblackness and the organizing of black consciousness solidarity campaigns throughout the world, is a central protocol for this long history and differs in decisive ways from culturalist diaspora. To draw on Frederick Cooper’s insights on this: “Anti-colonial and anti-apartheid movements were truly border crossing,” drawing on the

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