Good White People

Good White People

The Problem With Middle-class White Anti-racism

Unknown - 2014
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Building on her book Revealing Whiteness, Shannon Sullivan identifies a constellation of attitudes common among well-meaning white liberals that she sums up as "white middle-class goodness, " an orientation she critiques for being more concerned with establishing anti-racist bona fides than with confronting systematic racism and privilege. Sullivan untangles the complex relationships between class and race in contemporary white identity and outlines four ways this orientation is expressed, each serving to establish one's lack of racism: the denigration of lower-class white people as responsible for ongoing white racism, the demonization of antebellum slaveholders, an emphasis on colorblindness--especially in the context of white childrearing--and the cultivation of attitudes of white guilt, shame, and betrayal. To move beyond these distancing strategies, Sullivan argues, white people need a new ethos that acknowledges and transforms their whiteness in the pursuit of racial justice rather than seeking a self-righteous distance from it.--Publisher description.
Publisher: Albany : SUNY Press, 2014.
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 214 pages.)

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jbetzzall
Mar 29, 2018

Sullivan analyzes white liberals' understanding and conduct from a philosophical perspective rather than a sociological one. In other words, she considers ideas and feelings rather than social relationships and actions. Many people now agree with her that whites need to clean up their own attitudes without depending on support or trust from people of color. She analyzes four classes of behavior: "dumping on white trash", "demonizing white ancestors", adopting "color-blindness" and "Guilt, Shame and Betrayal", eventually calling on white people to develop the spiritual strength for critical self-love. Now, how about some examples of people who have developed that strength actually putting it to work?

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