Essay on whiteness

When bell hooks first suggested the possibility of white critique, she wanted “all those white folks who are giving blacks their take on blackness to let them know what’s going on with whiteness” ( Yearning 54 ). For better or worse, hooks’s wish has come true. As Peter Erickson notes, “the exploration of white identity is increasingly the purview of whites themselves” (171), a tendency which E. Ann Kaplan suggests might keep whiteness “at the center where it has always been” (328). Dyer, himself white, is conscious of this danger, which he refers to as the “green light problem” (giving whites the go-ahead to remain focused on themselves); likewise, he recognizes in White Studies the risks of “me-too-ism” (whites can join in a multicultural world, even claim victimization and guilt) (10–11). But Dyer hardly threatens to succumb to these problems, given that the impulse behind his study is to deconstruct white hegemony. “The point of seeing the racing of...

There have been outlets and pundits this election cycle who've shown they're willing and able to dig into the role that racial grievance plays in How Trump Happened. Others haven't, and continue not to. And that's a problem. When we don't grapple with whiteness in our politics directly and explicitly — to talk about the fact that not-insignificant numbers of white voters are motivated more by identity politics than by ideology or faith — we're essentially agreeing to misidentify some of the most important dynamics of this cycle.

Essay on whiteness

essay on whiteness

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