Defining Whiteness: Perspectives on Privilege

Abstract:

Although white people have largely dictated the global narratives of history, philosophy, literature, and beyond, whiteness as a racial category remains vague. How, then, do we define whiteness and how do those considered white relate to other racial groups? One path to understanding these questions is to provide an overview of whiteness, including its history, as well as Black authors’ interpretations of white identity and its impact on populations of color, critical whiteness studies, case studies, and contemporary scholarship in the field. The overview concludes by addressing white privilege and the ways in which whites can support people of color in the pursuit of racial justice. In terms of scholarship, the research presented here is focused primarily on the United States, drawing on research from other countries when applicable.

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