At the heart of whiteness studies is the invisibility of whiteness and white privilege (Ahmed, 2004). Whiteness is thought of as the hidden criterion to which every other race is measured against. Through the lens of whiteness, the “other” is seen as deviant (Ahmed, 2004). The invisibility of whiteness, however, is only from the perspective of those who are white (Matthews, 2012). To people who are not white, it is pervasive and blatant. People see whiteness because they experience its effects. A useful comparison can be drawn between the unrecognised privileges of males, and those of white people (McIntosh, 1988). It is not unusual for men to acknowledge that women are disadvantaged. With that said, McIntosh (1988) argues that white privilege is in the same manner without recognition and thus preserved. McIntosh (1988) views white privilege as an invisible collection of unearned assets that is of benefit to white people on a daily basis. As a result of its invisibility, the predominant systems of white racism operate on an unconscious level (McIntosh, 1988). White people have come to adopt certain physical and mental ways of interacting in the world that lack conscious attention and reflection which ultimately perpetuate systems of white privilege (Sullivan, 2006). White …show more content…
Frankenburg (1993) argues that studying whiteness will put whiteness in the centre of the spotlight of intellectual inquiry. Frankenburg (1993) further questions why scholars need to explore whiteness, identifying that there is a risk of contributing to the process of re-centering, rather than de-centering it, while reifying the term and inhabitants of whiteness. Furthermore, re-centering whiteness may result in whiteness studies developing into a discourse of love, lending itself to narcissistic self-promotion. This in turn would see whiteness progressing into social and bodily models (Ahmed,
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Throughout history whites have been known to be narcissistic and power hungry. The desire for power and the power they thought they had, clouded their vision and thinking of what was moral and what wasn’t. For example, when whites first saw the blacks they immediately thought that they were superior. However, the whites were also threatened by them,
America is a diverse melting pot of various ethnicities and heritages all blended together to create the American society. As beautiful as that is, America as a population is mired in fear of addressing issues such as white privilege which is the product of discrimination and racism. White privilege is viewed by those opposed to it that those who are privilege received unwarranted success as a result of status, luck and privilege rather than putting in hard work or using their brain to earn their success. The existence of discrimination from white privilege comes from the privilege attained by a certain as well as oppression and social prejudice facing certain other groups or races. Individuals who are privileged in one society seldomly are unaware of their privilege, not because of their own doing, but simply because it is very easy to be oblivious to the privilege when you have never seen its adverse effect from the other side.
I had always thought of race as a biological construct, but Takaki's argument that whiteness is a social construct created to maintain power and privilege for white people challenged my understanding of race in society. He challenges the previous understanding of race and how it operates in society by explaining how different ethnic groups were considered "non-white" but eventually assimilated into mainstream American society by adopting whiteness. Takaki's exploration of the concept of whiteness is particularly insightful as it reveals how social constructs can be used to oppress and marginalize certain groups. This idea highlights the importance of understanding the ways in which power and privilege operate in society and how they affect different communities. Overall, Takaki's chapter serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of recognizing and celebrating the diversity of America's history and the ongoing struggle for social
Through the experiences of their characters and themselves, these authors demonstrate the emotional and psychological toll that passing as white can take on individuals. Passing as white, which is the act of hiding one's racial identity in order to escape discrimination, can lead to a loss of one's true identity and a disconnection from one's sense of self. This is illustrated in Larsen's novel through the characters of Irene and Clare, who both choose to pass as white but ultimately realize the limitations and drawbacks of this decision. Similarly, in McWilliams' and Lusasik's personal accounts, it is shown that passing as white can lead to alienation, disconnection, and emotional turmoil. Furthermore, these works also highlight the societal pressure and discrimination that individuals of color face, which can lead them to make the decision to pass as white.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, she notes that the whites in America are taught not to recognize their white privilege as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. Whites were also taught to see racism as something that puts people at a disadvantage rather than something that puts people at an advantage as well. Therefore, McIntosh decides to unpack her invisible knapsack and list 46 privileges she was granted because of her skin color. In Audre Lorde’s essay, she argues that feminists must critically examine their own use of dominant concepts. She also mentions that academic knowledge is based on an institution that has excluded people of colour.
Passing by Bella Larsen is a novel that exemplifies the complex nature of racial identity politics and how it can be a negative force of oppression. The book explores the experiences of two Black women, Irene and Clare, who both "pass" as white in order to gain access to certain privileges and protections that come with whiteness. This paper will argue that the racial identity politics of Passing can be a negative force of oppression, perpetuating white supremacist systems by inherently proposing that whiteness is superior or at least more advantageous. Passing reveals the conflict between race and identity politics, highlighting the negative impact that racial identity politics can have on the lives of black women. The theme of passing allows
In his article “White Ignorance, ” Charles Mills argues that ignorance has largely contributed to the creation and segregation of racial and gender groups. He supports his case by identifying the “originally solitary Cartesian cognizer,” which is the imperialistic British state of mind where whites, especially white males, were dominant, and the historical implications of that state of mind, specifically the idea that all non-whites were inferior in thought process and mannerisms therefore do not deserve the time of day required to be understood. Although he labels this ignorance “white ignorance,” he does not limit this intentional ignorance to just white males or the repercussions to racial separation. Instead he designates it as a specific way of thinking that encourages ignorance in favor of the dominant party in a given situation. At the end of his article, Mills comes to the conclusion that ignorance, in general, is damaging to society, specifically interactions between people, and comes up with
Race has always been a problem in America and other countries. But developments such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) has helped challenge race and racial power and its representation in American society. Articles such as Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic; White Privilege, Color, and Crime: A Personal Account by Peggy McIntosh have helped CRT develop further. Along with the documentary White Like Me by filmmaker Tim Wise. These articles and film explore the race and racism in the United States, along with critical race theory.
White Privilege: Essay 1 White privilege is a systemic issue that has roots in our history as far back as the creators of our country. Searching back, we see our norms and values created into habits that have been woven into how we view and act around specific groups such as African Americans. This essay is going to explain how the average Caucasian individual experiences white privilege on a day to day basis and the solutions to insure that white privilege will stop and true equality can be handed out. This paper views the latter issues through symbolic interactionism, with supporting sub theories such as; labeling theory, looking glass self, and selective perception.
Over the past decade the term white privilege has emerged in our American history. White privilege is the concept that one particular group is benefited which is typically identified as white people. Most of the victims experiencing harsh conditions are non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances of mistreatment. A conversation took place with a few people about white privilege whose race is identified as white. An interviewer started that “the belief that being white comes with unearned advantages and everyday perks”.
A color-blind ideology appears to permeate throughout our society drawn from a lack of color consciousness. This is for the reason that it neglects to challenge white privilege by subsisting in a position of race privilege. Reflection of one’s conscious and unconscious belief about race can help to break down existing societal and inevitable racism as opposed to culture or personal ineptitude. Self-reflexivity will also provide assistance with an honest discussion about race and ethnicity being social constructions from attitudes, actions, beliefs, and so on. Ultimately, racial ideologies are consistently subject to change for engaging with the transformation of a particular era’s social conditions at the complexly interconnected levels of
Fahad Albrahim Response 1: Review/Summary: “Whiteness as property” is an article written by Cheryl Harris, in which she addresses the subject of racial identity and property in the United States. Throughout the article, professor Harris attempts to explain how the concept of whiteness was initiated to become a form of racial identity, which evolved into a property widely protected in American law (page 1713). Harris tackles a number of facts that describe the roots of whiteness as property in American history at the expense of minorities such as Black and American natives (page 1709). Additionally, Harris describes how whiteness as property evolved to become seen as a racial privilege in which the whites gained more benefits, whether
In the essay, “A Genealogy of Modern Racism”, the author Dr. Cornel West discusses racism in depth, while conveying why whites feel this sense of superiority. We learn through his discussion that whites have been forced to treat black harshly due to the knowledge that was given to them about the aesthetics of beauty and civility. This knowledge that was bestowed on the whites in the modern West, taught them that they were superior to all races tat did not emulate the norms of whites. According to Dr. West the very idea that blacks were even human beings is a concept that was a “relatively new discovery of the modern West”, and that equality of beauty, culture, and intellect in blacks remains problematic and controversial in intellectual circles
In the McIntosh article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” my overview of this article for the reading assignment is that “white privilege,” as McIntosh states, is “an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious.” This revelation came as she was writing an observation article on white male privilege in America. Her reviews in this area began in her discoveries of men’s unwillingness to recognize their over-advantage status, however they would concede the impediment condition of women. These denials protected male privilege from being acknowledged, diminished, or abridged. Her findings concerning unattended white privilege may be key to bigotry.
Johnson (2006) addresses that the root of problems of inequality is not due to difference but due to privilege and power. He states that “[t]he trouble [around diversity] is produced by a world organized in ways that encourage people to use differences to include or exclude, reward or punish, credit or discredit, elevate or devalue, leave alone or harass” (16). Thus, differences are socially constructed. To illustrate this point Johnson gives the example of a “black woman” in Africa not thinking or experiencing herself as black because she has not been exposed to white racism.