Are you feeling uncomfortable and sceptical at this point? You’re probably experiencing White Fragility, which is completely normal. Click here to learn more about it before returning to this page, or simply read on…
“Whiteness studies is an interdisciplinary arena of academic inquiry focused on the cultural, historical and sociological aspects of people identified as white, and the social construction of whiteness as an ideology tied to social status.”
White is a term describing light-skinned people of European descent. Whiteness is about white race, identity and culture. It is also about the system of privileges and advantages, worldwide, that prioritises white people by means of government policies, media portrayal, institutional power, school curriculums, judicial bias, etc. Whiteness has normalised white culture over many centuries through purposefully discriminatory science and various social constructs in order to enforce the so-called superiority of the white race. The study of Whiteness usually includes the terms White Privilege and White Fragility which define the myriad ways in which Whiteness asserts itself in society.
Why is it important to talk about whiteness?
There is a common misconception among white people that talking about race serves only to perpetuate the racial divide, or that is intended to make an individual feel shame or guilt. This is not true. (Visit the Experts page for more information.) However, in order to bridge the racial divide, it is important for white people to acknowledge race, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist and develop an understanding of the construct of Whiteness. We live in a highly racialised society, worldwide, where issues of race matter a great deal. To turn a blind eye to race is to turn a blind eye to social injustice, racial inequality, and racism.
“What does it mean to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless yet is deeply divided by race? In the face of pervasive racial inequality and segregation, most whites cannot answer that question. A number of factors make this question difficult for whites—miseducation about what racism is; ideologies such as individualism and colorblindness; defensiveness; and tendency to protect (rather than expand) our worldviews. These factors contribute to terms white racial illiteracy.” – an extract from Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s book: ‘What does it mean to be white?’
To illustrate this point, have a look at the world-renowned Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Experiment devised by Jane Elliott.
In the drop down menu above you will find extrapolations of all applicable topics.