3255 – “White Man’s Work”: Race and Class Mobility w/ Joseph Jewell

 

It’s Hump Day! Sam and Emma speak with Joseph Jewell, professor and department head of black studies at the University of Illinois Chicago, to discuss his recent book White Man’s Work: Race and Middle-Class Mobility into the Progressive Era.

First, Sam and Emma run through updates on the Senate voting down Bernie’s call for releasing data on Israeli human rights violations, Hamas negotiations, devastation in Gaza, Iran’s strike on Pakistan, Biden’s redesignation of the Houthis as a terror group, the Chevron doctrine, the Child Tax Credit, the Jet Blue-Spirit merger, growing child labor issues in the US, and Trump’s newest court appearance, also parsing through the developments in the GOP primary coming out of the Iowa caucuses. Joseph Jewell then dives right into his work on the evolution of the race-class nexus in 19th Century America, and the continuing impact of these developments today, including the role of freed black men in Atlanta, Tejano police officers in San Antonio, and Chinese immigration workers in San Fransisco. Professor Jewell then looks to post-Civil War Atlanta, walking through the concentration of former slaves in manual labor and agriculture, and the impact on their freedom – alongside reconstruction’s social policies – in disrupting this racialized labor construction, with a particular impact in funneling Black men into federal work, including the postal service. Expanding on this, Professor Jewell walks through the following evolution of the reconception of these racialized labor stereotypes, restructuring around questioning the role of African Americans in Federal jobs and the trust they can hold in positions with important social functions. Next, Joseph walks Sam through the story of Tejano police officers in the San Antonio police forces over the 1800s, with the repeated blurring and brightening of the lines of whiteness and Tejano identity, with these officers serving an important role in rounding up Black and brown criminals, a quality which took on even more importance post-Civil War, despite rarely holding any power in the department. Expanding on this, they tackle the use of drug stereotypes in pushing back on the growing role of Tejanos in the public workforce, with a specific emphasis on the role of alcohol in Tejano communities. Professor Jewell then looks to the Bay Area and the role of Chinese-American workers – largely as Chinese translators – in US immigration offices, exploring the similar parallels in reframing the conversation around a stereotype that undermines trust in these non-white races to perform honestly in a white political system, emphasized in the firing of one Richard Williams, before wrapping up with the lasting legacy of each of these stories on the modern relationship between class and race in the US.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma watch Bassem Youssef school PBD2 on the facts around the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Gaza, listen to Palestinian filmmaker Bisan Owda ask “what would you do,” and parse through the Biden Administration’s inhumane and unconditional support for Israel’s genocidal aims. Taylor Swift drives the right insane by having political opinions, Sam from Baltimore dives into the Maryland Senate race, and Patrick from Buffalo discusses global warming. Amber from Northern VA discusses the Democrat-GOP gulf on Trans issues and how to grapple with that when organizing, Malika from Raleigh gives her take on the obsession with youth politics, and the MR Crew chats about the shortcomings of the “voting privilege” conversation, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Joseph’s book here: https://uncpress.org/book/9781469673493/white-mans-work/

Find out more about MK Cassif’s decision here: https://www.commondreams.org/news/ofer-cassif-icj-genocide-case

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