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The racist legacy behind the Western idea of freedom The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. America, a nation founded on the principle of liberty, is also a nation built on African slavery, Native American genocide, and systematic racial discrimination. White Fr The racist legacy behind the Western idea of freedom The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. America, a nation founded on the principle of liberty, is also a nation built on African slavery, Native American genocide, and systematic racial discrimination. White Freedom traces the complex relationship between freedom and race from the eighteenth century to today, revealing how being free has meant being white. Tyler Stovall explores the intertwined histories of racism and freedom in France and the United States, the two leading nations that have claimed liberty as the heart of their national identities. He explores how French and American thinkers defined freedom in racial terms and conceived of liberty as an aspect and privilege of whiteness. He discusses how the Statue of Liberty--a gift from France to the United States and perhaps the most famous symbol of freedom on Earth--promised both freedom and whiteness to European immigrants. Taking readers from the Age of Revolution to today, Stovall challenges the notion that racism is somehow a paradox or contradiction within the democratic tradition, demonstrating how white identity is intrinsic to Western ideas about liberty. Throughout the history of modern Western liberal democracy, freedom has long been white freedom. A major work of scholarship that is certain to draw a wide readership and transform contemporary debates, White Freedom provides vital new perspectives on the inherent racism behind our most cherished beliefs about freedom, liberty, and human rights.


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The racist legacy behind the Western idea of freedom The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. America, a nation founded on the principle of liberty, is also a nation built on African slavery, Native American genocide, and systematic racial discrimination. White Fr The racist legacy behind the Western idea of freedom The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. America, a nation founded on the principle of liberty, is also a nation built on African slavery, Native American genocide, and systematic racial discrimination. White Freedom traces the complex relationship between freedom and race from the eighteenth century to today, revealing how being free has meant being white. Tyler Stovall explores the intertwined histories of racism and freedom in France and the United States, the two leading nations that have claimed liberty as the heart of their national identities. He explores how French and American thinkers defined freedom in racial terms and conceived of liberty as an aspect and privilege of whiteness. He discusses how the Statue of Liberty--a gift from France to the United States and perhaps the most famous symbol of freedom on Earth--promised both freedom and whiteness to European immigrants. Taking readers from the Age of Revolution to today, Stovall challenges the notion that racism is somehow a paradox or contradiction within the democratic tradition, demonstrating how white identity is intrinsic to Western ideas about liberty. Throughout the history of modern Western liberal democracy, freedom has long been white freedom. A major work of scholarship that is certain to draw a wide readership and transform contemporary debates, White Freedom provides vital new perspectives on the inherent racism behind our most cherished beliefs about freedom, liberty, and human rights.

43 review for White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karen Adkins

    Stovall's history covers a lot of ground chronologically (late 18th century to the present), while simultaneously focusing tightly on a single concept--how liberty is defined in racial terms (as a quality reserved for white people, based on their presumed underlying rationality and discipline, and in opposition to BIPOC folks). He's a historian by training, but has written this in a way that will engage folks who are interested in thinking more deeply about the history of racism. I was particula Stovall's history covers a lot of ground chronologically (late 18th century to the present), while simultaneously focusing tightly on a single concept--how liberty is defined in racial terms (as a quality reserved for white people, based on their presumed underlying rationality and discipline, and in opposition to BIPOC folks). He's a historian by training, but has written this in a way that will engage folks who are interested in thinking more deeply about the history of racism. I was particularly engaged with his early chapters, where he points out that alternative models of liberty existed during the social contract era when political liberty was conceptualized as a white concept. Piracy and childhood are his examples, and he makes the case well (I actually wanted these chapters to go a bit more in depth into some of the primary literature in all three cases, but I think that is more because of my own academic interests than his failing to make the case). I particularly valued the conclusion of the book, where he makes the case that a racialized past for liberty doesn't condemn it for the future. It's a cautiously optimistic conclusion, which essentially argues for us to learn the lessons from our past. Would that we might start.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Excellent points and opinions spanning a great deal of time. A little dry and therefore difficult to get through. Overall, a great read with a fantastic perspective.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  4. 4 out of 5

    MCTTAN

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Creer

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Diehl

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    Niamh

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    Maurice Weller

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  12. 4 out of 5

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  13. 4 out of 5

    Lance Lubelski

  14. 5 out of 5

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  19. 5 out of 5

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  21. 4 out of 5

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  22. 5 out of 5

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  23. 4 out of 5

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  24. 5 out of 5

    !Tæmbuŝu

  25. 4 out of 5

    Goodreads user

  26. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

  27. 5 out of 5

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  28. 5 out of 5

    Marley Fortin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Henderson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  31. 5 out of 5

    ColumbusReads

  32. 4 out of 5

    Melissa F.

  33. 5 out of 5

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  34. 5 out of 5

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  35. 5 out of 5

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  36. 4 out of 5

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  37. 5 out of 5

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  38. 5 out of 5

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  39. 4 out of 5

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  40. 4 out of 5

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  41. 5 out of 5

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  42. 4 out of 5

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  43. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Dilek

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