The Nation: Union Is to Whiteness As ...

In order to gain admission the applicant is asked, among other things, the relationship of Shakespeare to Othello, Dante to the Inferno, Brahms to music, and Whitman to poetry. He must understand such words as debutante and modiste, know that Dali is a painter and verity is the opposite of myth. Only after having established such credentials is a man judged to be qualified under the union rules to become an apprentice steam fitter in New York. In the past, the test has weeded out 66% of the nonwhite applicants and only 18% of the whites—a fairly effective method, according to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!