Breaking the Cycle of White Dependence

Breaking the Cycle of White Dependence: LiP gives you Tim Wise. Or is it the other way round?

We were dependent on Mexicans to teach us how to extract gold and quartz from riverbeds, both critical to the growth of the national economy in the mid to late 1800's. And had we not taken over half their nation in an unprovoked war, the emerging Pacific ports so vital to the modern U.S. economy would not have been ours, but Mexico's.

Then we depended on Latino/a labor in the mid-20th century under the bracero program, through which over five million Mexicans were brought into the country for cheap agricultural work, and then sent back across the border when they were no longer deemed useful.

And we were dependent on Asian labor to build the railroads that made transcontinental travel and commerce possible. Ninety percent of the labor used to build the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860's were Chinese, imported for that express purpose, and exploited because the railroad bosses felt they could control them better than white workers.

In fact, all throughout U.S. labor history, whites have depended on the subordination of workers of color by the marking of black and brown peoples as the bottom rung on the ladder, a rung below which they would not be allowed to fall. By virtue of this racialized class system, whites received the "psychological wage" of whiteness, even if their real wages left them destitute. That too is dependence, and a kind that has marked even the poorest whites.
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