The History Of White People By Nell Irvin

952 Words4 Pages
“The History of White People”, is a book written by Nell Irvin Painter. My first impression was very wrong. From the title, I expected a documentary type video about white culture; honestly, I expected the video to concentrate mostly on the historical time period when slavery existed. However, the video is Nell Irvin Painter reading from the beginning, and ends of her book. Rather than the video being about a certain historical time period, it is a literal adaptation of the title. The book is about how the “white race” came about; it discusses how certain ethnicities, and races came to be considered white, or Caucasian. I believe the book probably contains a lot more history, however she skipped over most of that and touched on the main points. The concept of race is a human construction. Painter called it an idea. The main point of the video is the concept of “whiteness”, and how it has evolved over time. She begins by discussing the idea of what it meant to be considered a white person in ancient Rome. In ancient times, people concentrated on cultural differences rather than physical differences, such as skin color. She then goes on to discuss the concept of whiteness in America. The term Caucasian, that refers to white people, comes from a history that defines white people as the most beautiful, therefore the term itself is rooted in racism. Today, many people relate “white America” with freedom, and “black America” with slavery. At a certain point in history there
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