The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-19 01:38Z by Steven

The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

University Press of Mississippi
April 2016
256 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches
introduction, 8 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496805553

Edited By:

Stephen Middleton, Professor of History and Director of African American
Mississippi State University

David R. Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies and History
University of Kansas

Donald M. Shaffer, Associate Professor of African American Studies and English
Mississippi State University

A critical engagement with the origins, power, and elusiveness of white privilege

Contributions by Sadhana Bery, Erica Cooper, Tim Engles, Matthew W. Hughey, Becky Thompson, Veronica T. Watson, and Robert St. Martin Westley

This volume collects interdisciplinary essays that examine the crucial intersection between whiteness as a privileged racial category and the various material practices (social, cultural, political, and economic) that undergird white ideological influence in America. In truth, the need to examine whiteness as a problem has rarely been grasped outside academic circles. The ubiquity of whiteness–its pervasive quality as an ideal that is at once omnipresent and invisible–makes it the very epitome of the mainstream in America. And yet the undeniable relationship between whiteness and inequality in this country necessitates a thorough interrogation of its formation, its representation, and its reproduction. Essays here seek to do just that work. Editors and contributors interrogate whiteness as a social construct, revealing the underpinnings of narratives that foster white skin as an ideal of beauty, intelligence, and power.

Contributors examine whiteness from several disciplinary perspectives, including history, communication, law, sociology, and literature. Its breadth and depth makes The Construction of Whiteness a refined introduction to the critical study of race for a new generation of scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach of the collection will appeal to scholars in African and African American studies, ethnic studies, cultural studies, legal studies, and more. This collection delivers an important contribution to the field of whiteness studies in its multifaceted impact on American history and culture.

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How psychologists used these doctored Obama photos to get white people to support conservative politics

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-15 20:38Z by Steven

How psychologists used these doctored Obama photos to get white people to support conservative politics

The Washington Post

Max Ehrenfreund

American politics always has surprises, but things have been especially unpredictable since President Obama took office. First, few observers were prepared for the tea party movement, which ousted several veteran GOP lawmakers, replaced them with more radically conservative newcomers, and helped the Republican Party win control of the House of Representatives in 2010.

“That left a lot of analysts slack-jawed, wondering: What was this latent force that drove the emergence of this movement?” said Robb Willer, a sociologist at Stanford University.

Then, of course, there was Donald Trump.

Willer speculates that one thing connecting these two political earthquakes might be white voters’ unconscious racial biases. In a series of psychological experiments between 2011 and 2015, he showed how hostility toward people with darker skin and perceived racial threats can influence white support for the tea party. He and his colleagues published a draft of a paper on their findings online last week — some of the most direct evidence of the importance of race to the conservative resurgence during Obama’s presidency.

First, the researchers randomly sorted subjects into two groups and showed them a series of pictures of celebrities, including digitally altered images of the commander in chief. One group saw a version in which Obama’s skin had been lightened, while in the other version, his skin had been darkened…

Read the entire article here.

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Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-09 01:06Z by Steven

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

University of Georgia Press
May 2016
336 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4956-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-4957-2
Author Website

Edited by:

Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African & Afro-American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Kidada E. Williams, Associate Professor of History
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michgan

Keisha N. Blain, Assistant Professor of History
University of Iowa

On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and sat with some of its parishioners during a Wednesday night Bible study session. An hour later, he began expressing his hatred for African Americans, and soon after, he shot nine church members dead, the church’s pastor and South Carolina state senator, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, among them. The ensuing manhunt for the shooter and investigation of his motives revealed his beliefs in white supremacy and reopened debates about racial conflict, southern identity, systemic racism, civil rights, and the African American church as an institution.

In the aftermath of the massacre, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain sought a way to put the murder—and the subsequent debates about it in the media—in the context of America’s tumultuous history of race relations and racial violence on a global scale. They created the Charleston Syllabus on June 19, starting it as a hashtag on Twitter linking to scholarly works on the myriad of issues related to the murder. The syllabus’s popularity exploded and is already being used as a key resource in discussions of the event.

Charleston Syllabus is a reader—a collection of new essays and columns published in the wake of the massacre, along with selected excerpts from key existing scholarly books and general-interest articles. The collection draws from a variety of disciplines—history, sociology, urban studies, law, critical race theory—and includes a selected and annotated bibliography for further reading, drawing from such texts as the Confederate constitution, South Carolina’s secession declaration, songs, poetry, slave narratives, and literacy texts. As timely as it is necessary, the book will be a valuable resource for understanding the roots of American systemic racism, white privilege, the uses and abuses of the Confederate flag and its ideals, the black church as a foundation for civil rights activity and state violence against such activity, and critical whiteness studies.

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Race & Racisms: A Critical Approach [Gabriel Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Science, Teaching Resources on 2016-05-04 21:09Z by Steven

Race & Racisms: A Critical Approach [Gabriel Review]

Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach (New York, London: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Published online before print 2016-04-22
DOI: 10.1177/2332649216645801

Ricardo Gabriel
The Graduate Center
City University of New York

Explaining to students that race is a social construction is one of the biggest challenges faced by all who teach courses on race and ethnicity, humble adjuncts and seasoned professors alike. Furthermore, the constructed and fabricated aspects of race must be balanced with how race and racism have shaped, and continue to shape, our society in concrete ways. Is race “real”? Does systemic racism still exist, or didn’t the civil rights movement take care of all of that? How can there still be racism if we elected a Black president? What about personal responsibility? Even if racism does exist, what can we do about it? These are just some of the questions that typically arise when discussing race and racism in the classroom. How do we explain the continued prevalence of racial inequality in the twenty-first century, in a society that some claim is now “post-“racial? And how do we discuss these issues with students in a way that both stretches their sociological imaginations and encourages a racial justice praxis?

Golash-Boza’s brief edition of Race & Racisms: A Critical Approach takes up this important challenge. Written for the undergraduate*level instructor, its main objective is to “engage students in significant questions related to racial dynamics in the United States and around the world.” From beginning to end. Golash-Boza provides a balanced mix of empirical data, rich theory, and personal narratives as well as useful pedagogical features such as the “Thinking about Racial Justice” sections that facilitate critical thinking.

Chapter 1 provides a concise summary of the scholarship on the origin of the idea that humans can be separated into different racial categories. The greatest strength of this opening chapter is the way it sets the tone for the rest of the book by emphasizing that racial taxonomy and racial ideologies were invented as a justification for colonialism, genocide. and slavery…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Multiracial families socially excluded

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-04-26 20:28Z by Steven

Multiracial families socially excluded

The Korean Times

Kim Bo-eun

Multiracial family members in Korea have become more stabilized but continue to feel isolated due to obstacles in building relationships with locals, a survey shows.

According to a Statistics Korea’s survey of 17,849 multiracial households here, more immigrant brides and naturalized Koreans have trouble befriending Koreans than in 2012, when the last survey was conducted.

More than 30 percent of the respondents said they lacked social ties — they did not have anyone with whom they could discuss problems they need help with, or enjoy pastimes and spend their leisure time with.

More respondents said they felt lonely. And perhaps due to the lack of acquaintances and friends around them with whom they could share information, they also were found to have greater problems in raising their children here.

Trouble with relationships was not only limited to mothers with foreign backgrounds — the children were also found to have trouble finding close friends…

Read the entire article here.

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“Passing” “Presenting” & the Troubled Language of Mixed Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-21 19:48Z by Steven

“Passing” “Presenting” & the Troubled Language of Mixed Race

Multiracial Asian Families: thinking about race, families, children, and the intersection of mixed ID/Asian

Sharon H. Chang

I’m a light-skinned mixed race Asian/white woman. I don’t deny it. On my lightest day, in the deep of winter, under cover of endless Seattle clouds, I could definitely hold my arm next to some white people and almost match (though the tinting never seems quite right). Because I’m non-Black and light-skinned I am not vulnerable to police brutality, housing discrimination, hate crimes, excessive surveillance, racial bullying and assault, and the many, many forms of violent oppression acted upon visibly Brown and Black peoples every day. This is undoubtedly a privilege, one that I actively acknowledge and try to hold in constant consciousness and conscientiousness as I write about race and am involved in social justice work. My main responsibility is often going to be de-centering myself to make room for the voices of others most impacted; to listen, not lead; support and even sometimes leave spaces entirely because my presence may interrupt safety and sacredness.

And yet, these are the things that have been said to me recently by whites and people of color (POC), men and women, young and old:

What are you? Because if you had said you were white – I would’ve believed you.

Man! How do you people do that international thing??

Excuse me, I’m sorry, but can I ask what your mix is?

There is no pure Asian anymore.

You Asian? I need help with my gardening.

So what do you do?

Are you a flight attendant, stewardess?

While I always need to be aware of my light-skinned privileges, I also have to hold being read by others as “definitely not white” a lot of the time. That matters. I, like everyone else, am a racialized body in a racialized/racist place. I am not Brown or Black and it’s incumbent upon me to be eternally thoughtful about this. But I am not often seen as white either. Could I describe myself as white? I could try. But does that reflect who I am? Or how the world sees me? Or, more importantly, does it prepare me to deal with the racial-boundary policing I butt up against? Absolutely not.

So why am I starting to see so many mixed race peoples foreground their whiteness as more significant than their color – when the world around them doesn’t actually allow that?…

Read the entire article here.

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Posted in Anthropology, Audio, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-04-21 00:22Z by Steven


The Podcast
Stuff Mom Never Told You

Cristen Conger, Co-host

Caroline Ervin, Co-host

Why does lighter skin improve women’s chances of getting through school, getting a job and getting married? Cristen and Caroline explore the historical roots, repercussions and cross-cultural shades of colorism around the world.

Listen to the episode (00:48:48) here. Download the episode here.

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Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-04-20 23:55Z by Steven


London South Bank University
K2-VG10 Keyworth Street
London, SE1 6NG, United Kingdom
Thursday, 2016-04-21 17:30 BST (Local Time)

Join us for this Black History Event organised by EquiNet, a network for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff at LSBU. This event is supported by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit.

This event brings together three speakers who will explore the social impact of gradations in skin tone. Skin colour is a potent signifier of both racial difference and sameness with the desire to have lighter skin evidenced by the increasing use of bleaching products across the globe. Shade∙ism or colourism is experienced intra-racially and is described as discrimination based on (darker) skin tone. The speakers take up the complexity of colourism by exploring skin bleaching and its relationship to shade∙ism. Can the colour complex be dealt with effectively or is it an age-old problem that won’t go away?


Skin Bleaching: is colourism to blame?
Shirley Tate, Associate Professor in Race and Culture, Leeds University

Shade∙ism: the age old issue that won’t go away
Yvonne Robinson, Senior Research Fellow, Weeks Centre, LSBU

The Colour Complex
Kavyta Raghunandan, Commonwealth Institute

Followed by a reception on the Mezzanine, Keyworth Centre

For more information, click here.

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The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-04-20 23:43Z by Steven

The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Journal of Black Studies
Published online before print 2016-03-21
DOI: 10.1177/0021934716638802

Kehinde Andrews, Associate Professor in Sociology
Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Critical Whiteness studies has emerged as an academic discipline that has produced a lot of work and garnered attention in the last two decades. Central to this project is the idea that if the processes of Whiteness can be uncovered, then they can be reasoned with and overcome, through rationale dialogue. This article will argue, however, that Whiteness is a process rooted in the social structure, one that induces a form of psychosis framed by its irrationality, which is beyond any rational engagement. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of the two only British big budget movies about transatlantic slavery, Amazing Grace and Belle, the article argues that such films serve as the celluloid hallucinations that reinforce the psychosis of Whiteness. The features of this discourse that arose from the analysis included the lack of Black agency, distancing Britain from the horrors of slavery, and downplaying the role of racism.

Read or purchase the article here.

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About Latino Whiteness…

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-20 23:37Z by Steven

About Latino Whiteness…

The NiLP Report on Latino Politics & Policy
The National Institute for Latino Policy


  • “A Response to Linda Martín Alcoff’s ‘Latinos and the Category of Whiteness'” By Manuel Pastor (April 10, 2016)
  • “Reply to Manuel Pastor” by Linda Martín Alcoff (April 10, 2016)

Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity
University of Southern California

Linda Martín Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy
City University of New York

Read both essays here.

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