Explain Critical Race Theory. What do scholars mean and how does this align with your experience? You will be exposed to readings book chapters and research articles as well as lecture and discussion in class.
Explain Critical Race Theory. What do scholars mean and how does this align with your experience?
You will be exposed to readings book chapters and research articles as well as lecture and discussion in class.
Using these resources write a response to the prompts below citing material you have read in class (review).
Then write your reflections on this prompt. There must be at least 3 cited sources. You may submit these in any order you prefer. Each assignment is 4-5 pages in length, 1” margins, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font. These are the prompts:
a) Review (2-3 pages) explain how a particular reading(s) answers one of the following questions PER CC paper
1) What does Whiteness and White privilege mean sociologically?
2) Explain Critical Race Theory (what do scholars mean and how does this align with your experience)
3) How might the meanings of race change in the US?
4) How will racial justice movements like BLM continue to affect US society?
5) What do sociologists mean by ‘systemic racism’?
b) Reflection (1-2 pages) share your reflections on this question. Does the scholarly explanation comport with your
understanding or experience? How is it similar or different? Do you have an example?
*NOTE: when completing part 1) be sure to CITE the particular reading by stating the author and page number (e.g. “As
Healey et al. (234) states…”).
Across studies of racialized modernity, critical scholars since W. E. B. Du Bois have recognized that no analysis of racism is complete without studying the social dynamics surrounding whiteness. To be sure, studies of racism frequently center on racially subordinate groups——in terms of the discrimination they experience or, worse, as the source of racial inequalities and social problems. Scholars of whiteness, however, turn their attention to the myriad ways this fictional social construction works to reinforce white power, privilege, and wealth at the level of everyday, institutional, and global experience.
Notably, though the term invokes ideas related to skin color, whiteness refers more specifically to a structural position—that is, to a racialized social identity that is positioned as superior relative to other “races” within a system of racial hierarchy.
Indeed, because race is socially constructed—and not biological—whiteness can be understood as the result of social and cultural processes, rooted in a global history of European colonialism, imperialism, and transatlantic slavery, and maintained today through various institutions, ideologies, and everyday social practices.
Whiteness embodies both a material reality—connected to the disproportionate economic and political power wielded by those racialized as white, as well as a symbolic reality—shaped by the cultural meanings attached to whiteness as a form of inflated value, morality, aesthetics, and civilization.
White people thus derive both literal and psychological advantages from whiteness through societal norms, traditions, and institutions—conditions that mask and obscure the unjust nature of white domination.
Indeed, the ideological component of white supremacy is profound: whiteness is regarded as the norm or standard in society, and yet the advantages that racial dominance accrues to white people are widely unacknowledged and ignored by white people.
Du Bois perhaps cut closest to the core, describing whiteness as something that acquired an almost religious character in the modern world. As he wrote in his 1920 essay “The Souls of White Folk”: “I ask soberly: ‘But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?’
Then always, somehow, some way, silently but clearly, I am given to understand that whiteness is ownership of the earth forever and ever, Amen!”
The following are examples of foundational theories in the field of whiteness studies. Originally published in 1920, Du Bois 2003 presents one of the earliest takes on whiteness, as both an externalized global social formation and an internalized (if false) sense of superiority and related action—themes taken up later in Mills 1997; Feagin, et al. 2001; hooks 1992; and Lipsitz 2006.
A classic and much reproduced essay, McIntosh 1988 draws on the author’s lived experiences to theorize the many unearned privileges of whiteness.
Relatedly, Frankenberg 1997 stands as one of the earliest academic anthologies to highlight the multiple constructions and meanings of whiteness. Garner 2007 maintains the case for whiteness as a pivotal conceptual framework, while Twine and Gallagher 2008 provides an overview of the evolving field of whiteness studies—from the foundational work of Du Bois to contemporary “third wave” scholars.