Glossary Term:


A particular ethnic and ideological identity position that effectively seeks to masquerade as a description and measure of a universal human nature.

Whiteness is a position of dominance, enforced through powerful hegemonic means, that seeks to have the way of life of those who identify as white continue to be the unchallenged criterion for appropriate ways of living.

Through the mechanism of skin privilege, whiteness confers what Peggy McIntosh has called unearned privilege upon those identified as white.

Whiteness has been able to claim universality through many techniques (see Richard Dyer’s White) and has become the subject of major critical analysis in the past decade or two. This critique is perhaps best summed up in two slogans: Leslie Roman’s (1991) ‘White is a color too’ and Noel Ignatiev’s journal Race Traitor’s motto ‘Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity’.

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