Jacqueline Battalora

Jacqueline Battalora

The legal distinction of whiteness as a race did not exist anywhere in the world until 1681, when Colonial American lawmakers sought to outlaw marriages between European people and others, the sociologist Jacqueline Battalora told Upper School students. This was, essentially, “the invention of white people,” said Dr. Battalora, who visited Milton as the Henry R. Heyburn guest lecturer. Dr. Battalora is a lawyer and a professor of sociology and criminal justice at Saint Xavier University, and previously worked as a Chicago police officer. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and has been engaged in anti-racist training since the mid-1990s. Her book, Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today, was published in 2013.

“It was truly extraordinary how lawmakers worked to restrict the rights of people of African descent and generated this presumption of superiority via the new status called ‘white.’ There is no genetic basis to the construct of race. It’s about power. And because it is man-made, because it’s about power, we can do something about it.”

The Food Issue

In this issue we celebrate the world of food. In putting it together, we visited alumni at farms as close as Mattapan and as far away as Downeast Maine. We spoke to chefs who’ve chosen diverse culinary paths and to alumni who, during challenging times, created a platform for sharing recipes and memories that are keeping them closer together. These stories help remind us that food nourishes not only the body but also the soul, keeping friends and families close. As the renowned food writer MFK Fisher wrote: “I think our three basic needs for food and security and love are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.” The stories and individuals featured in this issue echo that sentiment.