White People Are Noticing Something New: Their Own Whiteness

Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 13 June 2018

Being white in America has long been treated, at least by white people, as too familiar to be of much interest. {snip}

How often do white people talk about being white? Not often! So long as we aren’t hanging out with white nationalists, marrying into a family of color or chuckling over jokes about our dancing, we have endless opportunities to avoid thinking much about our own race. We generally prefer to frame identity in ethnic terms instead: Identifying as Italian or Irish or Jewish seems to come with zest, pathos and a chance to take pride in some shared history. {snip}

The Trump era, however, has compelled an unprecedented acknowledgment of whiteness as a real and alarming force. In the months leading up to the 2016 election, as Donald Trump rallied his almost entirely white base with calls for banning Muslims and deporting “bad hombres,” Politico asked: “What’s Going On With America’s White People?” The NPR podcast “Code Switch” debuted with an episode called “Can We Talk About Whiteness?” Since handing Trump 58 percent of the white vote, we have been the subject of newspaper and magazine analyses about our race-based resentment, fear of declining status and supposed economic anxiety. The satire “Dear White People” was picked up by Netflix, and the film “Get Out,” which turned self-proclaimed Obama-supporting white people into figures of horror, became the think-piece blockbuster of 2017….

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