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White Philanthropy

Carnegie Corporation's An American Dilemma and the Making of a White World Order

By Maribel Morey

White Philanthropy

Approx. 336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6474-3
    Published: October 2021
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6473-6
    Published: October 2021

Paperback Available October 2021, but pre-order your copy today!

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Since its publication in 1944, many Americans have described Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma as a defining text on U.S. race relations. Here, Maribel Morey confirms with historical evidence what many critics of the book have suspected: An American Dilemma was not commissioned, funded, or written with the goal of challenging white supremacy. Instead, Morey reveals it was commissioned by Carnegie Corporation president Frederick Keppel, and researched and written by Myrdal, with the intent of solidifying white rule over Black people in the United States.

Morey details the complex global origins of An American Dilemma, illustrating its links to Carnegie Corporation’s funding of social science research meant to help white policymakers in the Anglo-American world address perceived problems in their governance of Black people. Morey also unpacks the text itself, arguing that Myrdal ultimately complemented his funder’s intentions for the project by keeping white Americans as his principal audience and guiding them towards a national policy program on Black Americans that would keep intact white domination. Because for Myrdal and Carnegie Corporation alike, international order rested on white Anglo-Americans’ continued ability to dominate effectively.

About the Author

Maribel Morey is founding executive director of the Miami Institute for the Social Sciences.
For more information about Maribel Morey, visit the Author Page.


"Offering spectacular reach and an audacious commitment to archival methods, Morey's work is listening to African and Black political thought on the question of colonialism and segregation while also humanizing the white actors who desperately needed to believe that their unique constitutional, bureaucratic, and social scientific interventions were leaving the ideologies of slavery and racial colonialism behind. Thoughtful and wise, this book asks us to take a serious look at what the 'American Dilemma' actually is and understand it within a global context."--Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, University of California, Irvine