Section Essay

Answer any two of the following questions, primarily referencing materials listed on the syllabus, and/or reviewed in class. Support your answers and provide proper citations. Other references may be included in your essay. The submission is 2, no more than 3 pages. Efficiency is critical. Again, points are given for using the vocabulary and concepts introduced by these authors in this section, appropriately. You should bold and underline the concepts so they are more easily evaluated. Demonstrate your understanding of these author’s theories, perspectives and frameworks, in your answers.

1. What does whiteness mean? What is it’s main ingredient, common attribute, or root that ties its members altogether? McDermott makes the point that whiteness historically has been associated with racism and discrimination and not much else. As an identity, it hasn’t had a rich, varied or specific set of ‘white’ cultural practices associated with it. Compared to ‘Blackness’ which does have a varied and specific set of cultural practices, foods, music, dance, language, much of which originated here in the U.S. (e.g. soulfood, jazz, Beebop, HipHop, Breakdance, cornrows, slang etc.) One seems to offer culture without privilege, while the other seems to offer privilege without culture. Why would working class whites cling so desperately to ‘whiteness’, especially in uncertain times? What organizing efforts did working class whites commit to help secure privilege for themselves? How does white violence against blacks help to secure white privilege and thereby reaffirm white racial identity? Why were Irish Americans so violent against blacks according to Roediger?

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2. What does colorblind racism say about white privilege? What incentive do whites have to deny white privilege? Is white privilege ‘earned’ or ‘given’ according to the racial storylines of many working class whites? And to the extent that whites don’t have all of it, Who is to blame? What does it mean, that white racial identity is situational?

3. Michele Fine describes a somewhat unique position of poor and working class white men and boys, that have lost their privilege. It is this loss (imagined or otherwise) that is motivating the virulent nature of their racial backlash. How is it that racial minorities see white people as privileged, which whites don’t readily see, while whites see themselves as suffering loss, perhaps as a direct consequence of those same racial minorities and their progress? What racial story lines would be the most useful? Explain. How are white loss and white privilege juggled by colorblind racism? Use the Fine article and Mcdermont aritcle to support your answers.

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