Labor History Seminar: Dennis Deslippe, Franklin & Marshall College

Labor History Seminar
Friday, January 18, 2008

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

“ ‘We Must Bring Together a New Coalition’: The Challenge of Working-Class White Ethnics to Color-Blind Conservatism in the 1970s”
Dennis Deslippe, Franklin & Marshall College
This essay examines working-class white ethnics’ rejection of middle-class suburbanite notions of racial innocence, meritocratic individualism, and idealized equality in post-civil rights America. Most scholarship in white ethnicity does not adequately capture the complex and often contradictory expressions of “ethniclass” identity in a decade characterized by working-class revolt, backlash, and retreat. I focus on progressive white ethnic leaders allied with the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs and their imprint on civic and popular discourse in a period where, despite its powerful effects in the corridors of power, color-blind conservatism failed to capture the views of a majority of white Americans.

Commentators: Martha Biondi, Northwestern University, and Jack Metzgar, Roosevelt University