White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (British Americans)
Whereas Native Americans have been among the most disadvantaged peoples, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) have been the most privileged group in this
country. Although many English settlers initially came to North Americ; as indentured servants or as prisoners, they quickly emerged as the dominant group,
creating a core culture (including language. laws, and holidays) to which aUother groups were expected to adapt. Most of the WASP immigrants arriving from Northern Europe were advantaged over later immirant because they were highly skilled and did not exprience high levels of prejudice and discrimination. Class, Gender, and WASPs Like members of other racial and ethnic groups, not all WASPsare alike. Social class and gender affect their life chances and opportunities. For example, members of the working class and the poor do not have political and economic power; men in the capitalist class do. WASPs constitute
the majority of the upper class and maintain cohesion through listings such as the Socilal Register and interactions with, one another in elite settings such as private schools and country clubs (Higley, 1997. Kendall, 2002). However, WASPwomen do not always have the same rights as the men of their group. Although WASPwomen have the privilege of a dominant racial position. they do not have the gender-related privileges of men (Amott and Matthaei, 1996). However, most WASPs do not think of themselves as having race or ethnicity. As Helen Standish explains, [Being a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) didn't seem like a culture because everyone else was the same. . , . ["Shareholder different ... They speak Italian, but everybody else in the U.S.speaks English. They eat strange, different food, but I eat the same kind of food as everybody else in the u.s was brought up was to think that everybody
who was the same as me were ·Americans; and the These beliefs are shared by some WASPs but are denied by other individuals who do not embrace the notion of·whiteness:' According to ra~ scholars, whiteness primarily signifies superiority and privilege, and it is used as a mechanism to devalue so-called nonwhite skin color (Cashmore, 1996).