Power, Privilege, and Oppression
... Ally = someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and
work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of
oppression, even thos ...
Whiteness studies is an interdisciplinary arena of inquiry that has developed beginning in the United States, particularly since the late 20th century, and is focused on what proponents describe as the cultural, historical and sociological aspects of people identified as white, and the social construction of whiteness as an ideology tied to social status. Pioneers in the field include W. E. B. Du Bois (""Jefferson Davis as a Representative of Civilization""; 1890; Darkwater, 1920), James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time, 1963), Theodore W. Allen (The Invention of the White Race, 1976, expanded in 1995), Ruth Frankenberg (White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, 1993), author and literary critic Toni Morrison (Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, 1992) and historian David Roediger (The Wages of Whiteness, 1991). By the mid-1990s, numerous works across many disciplines analyzed whiteness, and it has since become a topic for academic courses, research and anthologies.A central tenet of whiteness studies is a reading of history and its effects on the present, inspired by postmodernism and historicism, in which the very concept of racial superiority is said to have been socially constructed in order to justify discrimination against non-whites. Since the 19th century, some writers have argued that the phenotypical characteristics associated with specific races are without biological significance, and that race is therefore not a valid biological concept. Many scientists have demonstrated that racial theories are based upon an arbitrary clustering of phenotypical categories and customs, and can overlook the problem of gradations between categories. Thomas K. Nakayama and Robert L. Krizek write about whiteness as a ""strategic rhetoric,"" asserting that whiteness is a product of ""discursive formation"" and a ""rhetorical construction"" in the essay ""Whiteness: A Strategic Rhetoric."" Nakayama and Krizek write, ""there is no 'true essence' to 'whiteness': there are only historically contingent constructions of that social location."". Nakayama and Krizek also suggest that by naming whiteness, one calls out its centrality and reveals its invisible, central position. Whiteness is considered normal and neutral, therefore, to name whiteness means that one identifies whiteness as a rhetorical construction which can be dissected to unearth its values and beliefs.Major areas of research in whiteness studies include the nature of white privilege and white identity, the historical process by which a white racial identity was created, the relation of culture to white identity, and possible processes of social change as they affect white identity.