DescriptionWhite identity is in ferment. White, European Americans living in the United States will soon share an unprecedented experience of slipping below 50% of the population. The impending demographic shifts are already felt in most urban centers and the effect is a national backlash of hyper-mobilized political, and sometimes violent, activism with a stated aim that is simultaneously vague and deadly clear: 'to take our country back.' Meanwhile the spectre of 'minority status' draws closer, and the material advantages of being born white are eroding.
This is the political and cultural reality tackled by Linda Martín Alcoff in The Future of Whiteness. She argues that whiteness is here to stay, at least for a while, but that half of whites have given up on ideas of white supremacy, and the shared public, material culture is more integrated than ever. More and more, whites are becoming aware of how they appear to non-whites, both at home and abroad, and this is having profound effects on white identity in North America. The young generation of whites today, as well as all those who follow, will have never known a country in which they could take white identity as the unchallenged default that dominates the political, economic and cultural leadership. Change is on the horizon, and the most important battleground is among white people themselves.
The Future of Whiteness makes no predictions but astutely analyzes the present reaction and evaluates the current signs of turmoil. Beautifully written and cogently argued, the book looks set to spark debate in the field and to illuminate an important area of racial politics.
Introduction: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being 1
1 An Analytic of Whiteness 39
2 White Exceptionalism 91
3 Double Consciousness 136
Conclusion: A Place in the Rainbow 178
"A profound meditation on 'whiteness' – its past, its present, and its possible future – by one of our leading scholars of race. Deftly interweaving theory, autobiography, and her own personal history of antiracist activism, Linda Martín Alcoff has produced the most impressive philosophical exploration ever of this peculiar 'world-historical' social identity."
Charles Mills, Northwestern University
"Against the contemporary backdrop of changing racial demographics and widespread condemnation of its relative power and privileges, Linda Alcoff challenges us to think in more nuanced ways about whiteness. This is a compellingly hopeful if sober analysis, offering renewed possibility for a much more modest conception of whiteness, one incorporating a commitment to racial justice as part of its raison d'être. The Future of Whiteness is a book for our times."
David Goldberg, University of California, Irvine
"Written well and cogently argued, The Future of Whiteness will spark debate in the field and will illuminate racial politics."
Political Studies Review