"Making The White Man's West" On Tuesday's Access Utah
The West, especially the Intermountain states, ranks among the whitest places in America, but this fact obscures the more complicated history of racial diversity in the region. In his new book "Making the White Man's West: Whiteness and the Creation of the American West" (University Press of Colorado), Jason E. Pierce argues that since the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the American West has been a racially contested space.
He says The West had the most diverse population in the nation with substantial numbers of American Indians, Hispanics, and Asians, but Anglo-Americans were able to control these mostly disenfranchised peoples and enjoy the privileges of power while celebrating their presence as providing a unique regional character. From this came the belief in a White Man's West, a place ideally suited for "real" Americans in the face of changing world.
We'll review the history and bring it forward to a discussion of today's issues and recent events like immigration and the stand-off in Oregon.
Jason E. Pierce is associate professor of history at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.