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Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness

Views from the Past and Present

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Edited By Virginia Lea, Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr

Whiteness is a narrative. It is the privileged dimension of the complex story of "race" that was, and continues to be, seminal in shaping the socio-economic structure and cultural climate of the United States and other Western nations. Without acknowledging this story, it is impossible to understand fully the current political and social contexts in which we live. Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness explores multiple analyses of whiteness, drawing on both past and current key sources to tell the story in a more comprehensive way. This book features both iconic essays that address the social construction of whiteness and critical resistance as well as excellent new critical perspectives.

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23. “Does It Make Me White If…?”: Registers of Whiteness in the Blog “Stuff White People Like” (Nichole E. Grant)

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Chapter 23

“Does It Make Me White If…?”

Registers of Whiteness in the Blog “Stuff White People Like”

Nichole E. Grant

Introduction

Whiteness is largely understood relationally as a form of dominance (Garner, 2007) and as such is understood in relation to otherness and subordination. This is similar to the ways in which masculinity is understood in relation to femininity, as neither is self-evident on its own but requires the other to define itself along complex lines of dominance and subordination (Connell, 1995). So too with Whiteness as it relies on subordination and otherness of people of colour to define itself, even if such definition is not named and remains largely normalized. When Whiteness is named and made overt, it becomes a category of border maintenance of otherness for definition and relies on understandings of racialized others to understand and represent itself.

In the following chapter I use the case of a popular and satirical blog called “Stuff White People Like” (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com) to reveal that Whiteness is not simply a category of domination but rather a discursive space where biological, performative, and supremacist discourses come to be “simultaneously at play,” (Hall, 2000) revealing the articulations to their larger understandings of Whiteness as a racialized identity position and how people come to strategically employ different registers within this identity position to understand themselves as “White.” This also takes up Giroux’s (1997) reminder that we must “move beyond ‘Whiteness’...

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