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White Out

Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age

Christopher S. Collins and Alexander Jun

Colleges across the country, and the nation as a whole continue to be divided along racial lines. White Out: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age is about the role of Whiteness and a defense of White dominance in an increasingly diverse society. Whiteness is socially constructed, just as race is undoubtedly a social construct, documented through various periods in history. This book proposes that White Out is a learned habit that serves to defend White dominance in a multicultural age. White Out is a strategy that covers systems, dispositions, and actions that cannot cover the full indentation or impact. However, the action of blotting, either intentional or unintentional, serves to obscure experiences of people of color in lieu of a competing definition of reality. The authors introduce the White Architecture of the Mind as a metaphor highlighting the mind as a collection of walls, doors, windows, and pathways that influence individuals to react based on a systemic logic that was socially constructed reason. White Out, a byproduct of a White architecture of the mind, is a set of individual actions, choices, behaviors, and attitudes that are guided by a system that predisposes these attitudes and perpetuates privilege for core members of a dominant majority. The often-unconscious purpose in denying privilege and articulating colorblind ideology is to support a larger system and view of reality. The concepts covered in this volume include: White Pain, Whitefluenza (privilege as a virus), White 22 (White if you do, White if you don’t), Whitrogressions, Angry White Men, White Pilgrims, and Good White Friends.

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Chapter Four White 22: White If You Do, White If You Don’t

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Chapter Four

White 22: White If You Do, White If You Don’t

During the 2014 wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, individuals and groups of people gathered to protest the shooting of another unarmed Black man. Religious groups got involved, grassroots activism emerged, and the scene of protest persisted as the decision on whether or not to indict the officer continued to drag out. We heard of a progressive White woman who felt compelled to travel to Ferguson to join the protest and be in solidarity. She wanted to join her Black brothers and sisters because of her concern for racial justice. To her dismay, rather than receiving the coveted pat on the back for showing up and for being a good White person, she was challenged by several Black protesters as to her presence. They challenged her motivation as she was yelling and screaming and attempting to link arms. They asked her, “What are you doing here?” It came as a surprise to the woman and became a real predicament in terms of trying to figure out what to do next. She spent time and money to travel across the country. She made her way to an intensely emotional scene—the heart of a struggle for justice, and was immediately challenged. Perhaps some White readers can relate to being shut down by colleagues and friends of color←45 | 46→ in moments of misunderstood solidarity. Undoubtedly there are other examples at similar rallies and...

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