White Self-Criticality beyond Anti-racism
George Yancy, Rebecca Aanerud, Barbara Applebaum, Alison Bailey, Steve Garner, Robin James, Crista Lebens, Steve Martinot, Nancy McHugh, Bridget M. Newell
White Self-Criticality beyond Anti-racism powerfully emphasizes the significance of humility, vulnerability, anxiety, questions of complicity, and how being a “good white” is implicated in racial injustice. This collection sets a new precedent for critical race scholarship and critical whiteness studies to take into consideration what it means specifically to be a white problem rather than simply restrict scholarship to the problem of white privilege and white normative invisibility. Ultimately, the text challenges the contemporary rhetoric of a color-blind or color-evasive world in a discourse that is critically engaging and sophisticated, accessible, and persuasive.
Yancy is a prolific author and editor whose previous collections include What White Looks Like. Here he once again gives readers an edited volume on philosophy of race that is distinctive and insightful. This new book addresses a question to white academics who are antiracist scholars: 'how does it feel to be a white problem?' This volume is unique in not only accounting for whiteness generically, but also treating whiteness as a problem-something to be named and diagnosed as a fundamental stumbling block for racial justice. Among the book's virtues are the insights offered by having 14 individuals speak of their personal and embodied experiences as white people in a racialized world. While the contributors avoid homogenizing the experience of white people, they all pinpoint a set of ways in which whiteness is a problem both within and outside antiracist activism. Any library that wants to expand its collection of texts dealing with race and racism should acquire this book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty. * CHOICE * [T]he reader owes gratitude to the editor's oversight of the project.... Yancy's edited volume offers a model of solidarity among subjects who oscillate in that anguished space between suturing and unsuturing, which, to my mind, promises an effective solidarity.... This work is neither for the weak of heart, nor does it belong to the (whitely) project of being a hero. Simply put, it is your only option, white ally, 'because your liberation is bound up with mine.' * Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy * George Yancy's essay collection enables an unprecedented insight into the white academic's mind struggling to come to terms with its own privilege and complicity in structural discrimination. The contributors' honest reflections are a forceful reminder of the ongoing challenge and difficulty of acknowledging the processual nature of dismantling white privilege. However, the major contribution of this volume is to be found in Yancy's introduction, which provides the theoretical framework for the pressing task of staying 'un-sutured' vis-a-vis the comfortable and widespread attitude of having arrived at an anti-racist attitude. This unfinished process is indispensable for any white person eager to challenge the condition of silently participating and thereby perpetuating racial structures of power and oppression. The thought-provoking essay collection is highly recommended for anyone interested in better understanding - and challenging - the disconcerting state of racial affairs in the US. * Kult Online * Many books have grappled with Du Bois's "souls of black folk," but this is the first to wrestle deeply with his forgotten concern for the immoral "souls of white folk"-the greatest racial problem facing this country. Philosopher George Yancy has compiled yet another major book that teaches well about the deepest racial realities shaping this much-troubled nation. -- Joe R. Feagin, Texas A&M University White Self-Criticality beyond Anti-racism: How Does it Feel to Be a White Problem? is a timely, much needed intervention into the stale race-talk of US 'post-racial' discourse. The essays from white scholars in philosophy and other fields sweeps the reader into a profound, yet accessible, set of reflections and arguments about how to understand whiteness-and non-blackness-as the core foundation of the US's 'race problem.' Yancy's mesmerizing introduction un-sutures non-black readers while compelling them to keep reading, to work harder to understand not only how it should feel to be a White Problem, but how to arrive at more constructive solutions to resolving deep-seated, everyday, existential racism. -- Falguni A. Sheth, Hampshire College I know many whites who do not make space for the question: 'How does it feel to be a white problem?' It is this question, this inversion of which race is a 'problem' in societies organized around racial hierarchy, that George Yancy forces his readers to address. The fourteen white anti-racist scholars that make up this evocative, compelling book shed needed light on how whiteness as a position of privilege is deployed even in the context of anti-racist interventions. This is an essential text for those who wish to understand how whiteness remains hegemonic across time and place. -- Charles A. Gallagher, La Salle University George Yancy's governing metaphor of suturing is accurate: white personalities, institutions, and knowledge systems have been sewn up to contain or exclude racial truths that are now putrefying without exposure to air. Reading this collection of essays is like being in a dynamic, self-reflective encounter group of people determined to forego the comforts of ignorance, innocence, and illusions of goodness, and instead to open the festering wounds that were bandaged over. The authors of these searching essays have agreed to answer Yancy's question of what it feels like to be the white racial problem and I appreciate their complex openness to the question. -- Peggy McIntosh, associate director, Wellesley Centers for Women
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