Paper 2 Draft

Something so dynamic that seems as far off as a delusion, but is equally important for understanding American history after 1945 are race and class. One needs to understand that both terms are equally important. The distinctions between the two are so intertwining, that discussing which is more important really depends on the person speaking.

People of color would say race, because during the postwar time period, your race defined your place in the social class; having the same social, economic or educational status. The preconceived judgment white Americans held against black Americans was their intelligence. Psychologically speaking, it was known widely that blacks were better suited for certain types of jobs, their laziness, and their dependence. How can one ever rise above their degraded position if never giving the opportunity by stronger powers? You cannot. Thomas Surgue, author of “Urban Crisis Race and Inequality in Detroit. *Michigan, states: “Racism is portrayed as a pathological condition, an unchanging part of white culture. But the word “racism” oversimplifies what was a complicated and multifaceted reality.” 89.

Race never played the “more important concept” after 1945 because, class and race are entwined social identities. Jefferson Cowie stated: “Class and race are fundamentally intertwined social identities in American history.” White Americans who lived outside black ghettoes translated the ghettos as suggestion that “blacks would ruin any white neighborhood that they move into.” Black Americans who lived in the ghettos were placed into the category of “the undeserving poor” and “a threat to urban law and order.” White Americans developed a sense of an economic fear. “Housing for Negroes was the Number One problem.” Surgue 147. Black Americans of the lower class in 1950 agonized the shortage of housing and housing prices in Detroit. Properties in these older black American living neighborhoods, demanded a higher costs for down payments, maintenance, and higher-interest which filled their housing expenses.
With the information presented, we can agree that the racial discrimination against African Americans of the lower class, exploits the two important concepts; race and class. Both equally important and intertwined together.

*I have an Ebook for “The Urban Crisis” book page numbers might be different from others.


stayin alive questions

1) The work is comprised of three main topic areas: accounts of the sporadic eruptions of worker discontent of the era, of its various presidencies and presidential campaigns, and of the popular culture of the two halves of the 1970s. how does cowie manage these approaches to our perspective?

2) What elements across the Left and in society at large attempted to reconcile the challenges of the 1960s with the New Deal establishment, hoping to create a newly diverse and democratic form of working class power by bridging the divides of race and gender and creating a rank-and-file democratic unionism?

3) The 1972 election is often described by middle class liberals in terms of a wholesale flight of the working class from the Democratic Party into the arms of Nixon’s New Right. What truth does Cowie point out about the middle class?

The Origin of Urban Crisis Questions

  1. if rates of poverty among black residents range from 25 – 40 percent, will blacks ever rise above their generally “degraded” position?
  2. If white Americans were responsible for developing the view that black Americans had no culture of their own, what does it mean to be “Black in America,” if, “To be fully American was to be white?”
  3. If the ideal white man was one who knew how to use his head, manage and control things to get them done, why is it that blacks are suited for “certain types of jobs,” different from the white population; psychologically speaking?
  4. Is the distorted perspective social problem of blacks being to poor to move out of the ghetto a reason why the drop out rate is so high? if given a better opportunity would there be a rise of more graduates in high schools, or will blacks accept the reason to believe that a diploma isn’t going to change their situation?
  5. Why are black Detroiters less powerful than employers, white workers and homeowners?