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Studying Whiteness: What's the Point and Where do We go from Here?

  • Karen Brodkin

Extract

If, as a famous dead white European man once suggested, the point of studying racism is to change it, what can we learn about ending racism by studying it as whiteness? The first part of the paper summarizes some of the major issues and findings of recent studies of whiteness in the United States. It suggests that there is a hidden life at the heart of whiteness which is about preserving a set of specifically white constructions of masculinity and femininity, and that whites' lack of consciousness about this, and about white privilege in general, have undermined antiracist efforts. It summarizes some of the ways in which working-class white privilege is gendered, and how notions of masculinity and femininity are racial. Part II examines whiteness as ambivalence about the privileges and costs of whiteness as a useful entry point for understanding impulses to white antiracism.

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Studying Whiteness: What's the Point and Where do We go from Here?

  • Karen Brodkin

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