The Gap Between Whites and Whiteness: Interracial Intimacy and Racial Literacy

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2009-11-15 22:38Z by Steven

The Gap Between Whites and Whiteness: Interracial Intimacy and Racial Literacy

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
September 2006
Volume 3, Issue 2
pages 341-363
DOI: 10.1017/S1742058X06060231

France Winddance Twine, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Amy C. Steinbugler, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Dickinson University

How do White members of Black-White interracial families negotiate the meanings of race, and particularly Whiteness? Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois‘s concept of double consciousness, this article argues that interracial intimacy is a microlevel political site where White people can acquire a critical analytical lens that we conceptualize as racial literacy. This article fills a gap in the empirical and theoretical literature on race and Whiteness by including gay, lesbian, and heterosexual families on both sides of the Atlantic. Drawing on two ethnographic research projects involving one hundred and twenty-one interracial families in the United Kingdom and the eastern United States, we provide an analysis of how White people learn to translate racial codes, decipher racial structures, and manage the racial climate in their communities. We draw on “racial consciousness” interviews conducted with one hundred and one heterosexual families and twenty gay and lesbian families to present seven portraits that illuminate three dimensions of racial literacy: double consciousness, negotiation of local racial meanings, and seeing routine forms of everyday racism.

Read the entire article here.

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