Invisibility Of Whiteness Essay

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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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