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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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Introduction: Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness (Virginia Lea / Darren E. Lund / Paul R. Carr)

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Introduction

Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness

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 knowledge of, and acknowledging, this story, it is impossible to understand fully the current socio-economic structure and cultural climate of contemporary societies. In the Introduction to this book, we share a few thoughts about Whiteness, drawing on some of the authors we have assembled to tell the story in a more comprehensive way.

“Race” is a complex, bifurcated narrative; it is a double-sided coin. On one side of the coin is the category of Whiteness or unearned advantage. On the other side of the coin is racism or unearned oppression, which reflects the power of Whiteness to exclude, benefit from, and enact violence on those who do not fall into this category. Whiteness has been encoded in dominant institutions, culture, and is expressed by White individuals, and some people of “color,” who have themselves internalized Whiteness, as a deep distaste, hatred, and sometimes violence towards people of “color.” On the other hand, Whiteness has, and continues to be, vehemently opposed by some people classified as White, as well as by people of “color.”

The History of “Race,” Racism & Whiteness

Much of the research...

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