By Shannon Sullivan
Argues for the necessity of a brand new ethos for middle-class white anti-racism.
Building on her booklet Revealing Whiteness, Shannon Sullivan identifies a constellation of attitudes universal between well-meaning white liberals that she sums up as “white middle-class goodness,” an orientation she opinions for being extra inquisitive about setting up anti-racist bona fides than with confronting systematic racism and privilege. Sullivan untangles the complicated relationships among classification and race in modern white identification and descriptions 4 methods this orientation is expressed, each one helping determine one’s loss of racism: the denigration of lower-class white humans as accountable for ongoing white racism, the demonization of antebellum slaveholders, an emphasis on colorblindness—especially within the context of white childrearing—and the cultivation of attitudes of white guilt, disgrace, and betrayal. to maneuver past those distancing options, Sullivan argues, white humans want a new ethos that recognizes and transforms their whiteness within the pursuit of racial justice instead of looking a self-righteous distance from it.
“…Sullivan posits that it's white liberals’ personal ‘anti-racism’ that truly perpetuates racism via shutting down frank or nuanced discussions not just of race, yet of white privilege, which created racial difficulties and nonetheless sustains them … In advising white liberals the best way to in truth reside their whiteness, instead of disown it or fake it doesn’t exist, Sullivan expertly deconstructs the well-known defenses … Like W.E.B. DuBois and James Baldwin earlier than her, Sullivan sees white domination as a non secular challenge that afflicts one team in specific yet that touches us all.” — Ms. Magazine
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Extra info for Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism (SUNY series, Philosophy and Race)
The abject instead is what trou‑ bles sharp, clear boundaries between subject and object, self and other. ”49 The abject’s opposition to the subject functions in a different way than that of the object. Put another way, the differ‑ ences between abjection and objectification demonstrate how othering can take place in related, but different ways. 50 In that sense, the abject is a different kind of threat to the subject than the definable object is. Even though the excluded object menaces the subject in its otherness, the sharp distinctions posited between sub‑ ject and object provide a kind of safety and security for the subject.
The joke also says nothing about the Southern virgin’s eco‑ nomic status. Regardless of whether one is poor, to be a white person from the South is to be in an at least somewhat abject relationship to proper whiteness. This too is the product of a distinctively Northern perspective on the legacy of black slavery. White Southerners generally were seen as Dumping on White Trash • 37 being too close to black people. 75 We can see this perspective at work in 1940s and 1950s Detroit, where the label “hillbilly” was applied by North‑ ern whites in an unrehabilitated way to white people who transgressed white middle‑class mores.
White Southerners generally were seen as Dumping on White Trash • 37 being too close to black people. 75 We can see this perspective at work in 1940s and 1950s Detroit, where the label “hillbilly” was applied by North‑ ern whites in an unrehabilitated way to white people who transgressed white middle‑class mores. ”78 Like white trash, hillbillies were seen by white Northerners as embodying characteristics that had been exclusively associated with blacks. 79 Transgression of whiteness is what is central to the figures of the hillbilly and white trash, in other words.