Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality

I do not laugh. I am quite straight-faced as I ask soberly:

“But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?” Then always, somehow, some way, silently but clearly, I am given to understand that whiteness is the ownership of the earth forever and ever, Amen!

Now what is the effect on a man or a nation when it comes passionately to believe such an extraordinary dictum as this? That nations are coming to believe it is manifest daily. Wave on wave, each with increasing virulence, is dashing this new religion of whiteness on the shores of our time. Its first effects are funny: the strut of the Southerner, the arrogance of the Englishman amuck, the whoop of the hoodlum who vicariously leads your mob.

Darkwater (1920), Ch. II: The Souls of White Folk, W.E.B. DuBois


Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality (Critical Perspectives on Empire) – Kindle edition by Marilyn Lake, Henry Reynolds

In 1900 W. E. B. DuBois prophesied that the colour line would be the key problem of the twentieth-century and he later identified one of its key dynamics: the new religion of whiteness that was sweeping the world. Whereas most historians have confined their studies of race-relations to a national framework, this book studies the transnational circulation of people and ideas, racial knowledge and technologies that under-pinned the construction of self-styled white men’s countries from South Africa, to North America and Australasia. Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds show how in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century these countries worked in solidarity to exclude those they defined as not-white, actions that provoked a long international struggle for racial equality. Their findings make clear the centrality of struggles around mobility and sovereignty to modern formulations of both race and human rights.


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The Souls of Black Folk eBook: W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois: Kindle Store

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