[Marxism] Re David Roediger on Slavery

robert montgomery ilyenkova at gmail.com
Fri Nov 25 13:33:56 MST 2005

Mark Lause:
"I don't eye to eye with Roediger over the terminology of "whiteness,"
which has become a facile tool for the ham-handed to misunderstand the
past, the nature of race, and its relation to class--and another faddish
model of perception that allows us to avoid engaging the history we
actually experienced. However, David Roegider himself has kept his
focus comparatively very clear, as this comment reflects."

Agreed. Dave Roediger is one of the very few historians of class and
race I respect and this quote illustrates why. In his writings since
Wages of Whiteness he always takes pains to distance himself from his
pomo hijackers (those facile, ham handed people). But I don't think
that he quite succeeds in this and has opened up a can of worms with
the faddish "whiteness studies" stuff. Just last night I flipped a
piece of his across the room after reading that "people are never just
one thing" (i.e.) workers-- and that they will tell you they are
"Elvis impersonators, low riders,  crossdressers" and a host of other
identities to numerous to recall. He invoked the young Marx's critique
of the stultifiying effects on the human person of being reduced to
simply a "laborer." This wouldn't be so bad, but it's hard to read it
in context other than as a variant of the 'in the final analysis class
is unavoidable but in the meanwhile we ought to do our damndest to
junk the concept.'  To his credit, Roediger doesn't want to say this.
Yet, in everything he writes now, that's basically what he says.

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