Posted by: clunythescourge | January 15, 2008

Whiteness and Racism

I’m currently working on a blog for another class, Black Studies 410: White Studies: Race, Class, Culture. I think you can link onto it from this site and its titled “white studies black studies/whiteness and racism”. If not, the url is: http//whitestudiesblackstudies@wordpress.com.

From a historical, anthropological, and anti-racist perspective, we are examining what white culture is and how whiteness has been socially constructed as both “race-less” and “culture-less” yet as the societal norm and as the dominant power structure. We are analyzing the ways in white power and privilege has structured, maintained, and perpetuated racism using both biological and cultural arguments, and importantly, we are examining the CONTEMPORARY FORMS OF RACISM which as invisibility and denial shrouds racial inequality. This new insidious form of “colorblindness” is very dangerous because we cannot talk about race anymore without being accused of “playing the race card” especially as a person of color or retorts that the Civil Right Movement somehow fixed racial inequality in the U.S. despite overwhelming evidence that race is a major factor  in economic, social, and political inequality across the board.

In addition to deconstructing “race as biology” and “culture of poverty”arguments as the ways in which many individuals and structural policies justify racial inequality by “blaming the victim” while simultaneously denying racism and racial inequality, we are looking at what “whiteness” is and how whiteness perpetuates racism and racial inequality.  Whiteness as a culture and as a socially constructed “racial group” as the norm must be examined in order to understand how white privilege, complicity and denial, enables business to go on as usual, and for racial inequality to continue.

By examining the ways in which white complicity perpetuates white privilege, how “colorblindness” is the new racism, and how the denial of racism insidiously perpetuates racial inequality, we hope to develop cross-cultural alliances with people of color in order to end racial inequality. As white people as well as those who identify with whiteness and white culture, we must learn how to give up our privilege in order for social equality to be actualized. We must learn how to be allies without taking over social justice movements, without appropriating the knowledge of the oppressed, without perpetuating the very structure of whiteness and privilege that we are seeking to deconstruct. We must learn what our role is in illuminating and fighting racism.

This has been very difficult for me, but the fight must continue no matter how many times I mess up. Collective struggle is a learning experience for we have been taught in American society how to do things as individuals but not as a collective group, because individualism perpetuates capitalism and collective organization and struggle is revolutionary.

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Responses

  1. http://whitestudiesblackstudies.wordpress.com/- Here’s a link to my whiteness and racism blog.


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