Whiteness studies

The study of the structures that produce white privilege, the examination of what whiteness is when analyzed as a race, a culture, and a source of systemic racism, and the exploration of other social phenomena related to White people.

Whiteness studies is the study of the structures that produce white privilege.


  • Gender norms so often remain predicated on an unremarkable whiteness.
    • Sara Ahmed, “An Affinity of Hammers,” Transgender Studies Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 1–2, May 2016, p. 22.
  • Perspectives of whiteness echo, largely unacknowledged, through transgender theorizing.
    • Katrina Roen, “Transgender Theory and Embodiment: The Risk of Racial Marginalization,” Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 10, no. 3 (2001), p. 253.
  • The universal body of the human without a race is already de facto occupied by the unmarked white body in narratives of transcendence like American “post-racial” discourse.
    • Jules Gill-Peterson, “The Technical Capacities of the Body Assembling Race, Technology, and Transgender,” Transgender Studies Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 3, August 2014, p. 409.
  • Whiteness stands in as a universal in canonical theorizing on gender and sexuality.
    • Elías Cosenza Krell, “Is Transmisogyny Killing Trans Women of Color? Black Trans Feminisms and the Exigencies of White Femininity,” Transgender Studies Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 2, May 2017, p. 233.
  • The justification and maintenance of a slave economy required the construction and defense of an elaborate cultural system. Literally everything—laws, religious beliefs and practices, educational systems—had to be carefully organized in order to maintain a brutal and utterly unnatural system. This included the careful cultivation of the White psyche so that White people could accept the brutality with which they were surrounded and in which they participated on a regular basis. In other words, to accept what was going on around them, White people had to be formed in a very particular way, that is, they had to be enculturated into whiteness.
    • Chanequa Walker-Barnes, I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision of Racial Reconciliation (2019), p. 128
  • With the rise of color-blind racial ideology, many people stopped using overtly racial language, but the culture into which they were assimilated remained the same in every other way. After all, at no point in the history of this country have White people on a societal level asked the questions, “Who have we become?
    • Chanequa Walker-Barnes, I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision of Racial Reconciliation (2019), p. 128

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