In Chicago, real estate value is fixed by race through the process of gentrification. I present findings from an ethnography of the black, Mexican, and Puerto Rican neighborhoods of the greater West Side. Gentrification here is a “racial fix”: a consensus-building process to inflate value in a speculative market reliant on the historical legacies of racism. The white flight era devalued neighborhoods now facing speculation and hyperinflation as increased global investment, debt culture, and debt financing fuel the growth machine. The discourses of residents, randomized survey results, and a built environment scan show that property value corresponds more to white residence than material improvement. White people cultivate the currency of whiteness through gentrification to build social status, capital, and the city of their dreams.
White currency in the gentrification of black and Latino Chicago
Whiteness, Settler Coloniality, and the Mainstream Environmental Movement
Joe Curnow and Anjali Helferty
In this article, we trace the racialized history of the environmental movement in the United States and Canada that has defined the mainstream movement as a default white space. We then interrogate the turn to solidarity as a way to escape/intervene in the racialized and colonial underpinnings of mainstream environmentalism, demonstrating that the practice of solidarity itself depends on these same racial and colonial systems. Given the lack of theorization on solidarity within environmentalism, we draw on examples of solidarity work that bridge place and power and are predicated on disparate social locations, such as in accompaniment or the fair trade movement. We conclude that the contradictions of racialized and colonial solidarity should not preclude settler attempts to engage in solidarity work, but rather become inscribed into environmentalist practices as an ethic of accountability.
The Rhetoric of White Supremacy in Post-Civil War Louisiana
Marek D. Steedman
Did white supremacists successfully appeal to a right of resistance in Louisiana in the 1870s? I argue that they did. White supremacists self-consciously defended their own actions within the framework of an Anglo-American discourse of resistance against tyrannical government, and they broadly succeeded in convincing fellow (white) citizens. Can we deny them the cover of legitimacy this tradition affords? We might suggest that a right to resist is rendered void by the fact that white supremacists were resisting constitutional democracy itself. I argue against this strategy (or, more precisely, for a right to resist constitutional democratic government), and suggest that the problem is not what white supremacists were fighting against. The right to resist is bound up with a defense of the just demands of the people, and this claim, as articulated by white supremacists, rests on decidedly shaky ground. Deciding the issue, however, is a matter of political contestation.
LA Gang Tours and the White Control of Mobility
Sarah Sharma and Armonds R. Towns
LA Gang Tours went on its inaugural ride through Los Angeles in 2010. Black and Latino former gang members from South Los Angeles lead the bus tours, sharing personal stories of gang life with mostly white tourists. A popular critique of the tour is that it facilitates a tourist gaze. However, we argue that to focus on the tourist gaze misses a more pressing opportunity to examine the production of whiteness. We shift the focus to consider the bus’s movement and the power it exerts in transforming the spatial and temporal dynamics of South Los Angeles. Based on participant observation, ethnographic interviews, and discourse analysis of materials surrounding the tours, we found that the tour lays the figurative foundations for gentrifi cation and reconfi rms a white control of mobility in the neighborhood. Th is white control of mobility extends beyond Los Angeles to impact the lives of people of color throughout the United States.
Tamara L. Mix
Employing an interpretive content analysis of online forums, the author examines use of environmental themes by the United States white separatist movement in its efforts to seek legitimacy and garner a broad base of support. The contemporary white separatist movement draws upon latent National Socialist environmental discursive frames linked to history, spirituality, and stewardship. The lack of a specific position on the environment in the movement permits the manipulation of environmental themes to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Appeals to right wing environmental, population, and anti-environmental audiences include a discourse of environmental skepticism, concerns about immigration and overpopulation and discussion of rights to nature and land. Appeals to left wing and mainstream audiences involve expressions of environmental concern, preservation, stewardship, and rights of nature. A narrative of networking using environmentalism's broad appeal, perceived concerns regarding immigration and population growth, and similarities in racial characteristics was also evident.
Richard Turner and South African Liberalism
Richard Turner’s contribution to thinking on race in South Africa is often undervalued. As influential as his thinking on economic and social alternatives was, a close reading of his work in context suggests that his core concern was a critique of white liberalism, and that this was itself a means to a wider analysis of whiteness in a racially stratified society. An analysis of contemporary South Africa suggests that his critique remains an important resource in our attempt to discuss current realities. Acknowledging the centrality of racial domination in Turner’s thought highlights the continued salience of his understanding of South African social reality.
Dear White People, United States, 2014; Justin Semien (director and writer); 108 minutes; Homegrown Pictures, starring Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris, and Brandon Bell.
John Albert White (1910-2001)
John J. Stephan
On 8 August 2001, John Albert White passed away in League City, Texas, six days before his ninety-first birthday and six decades after his debut as a historian of Russia in Asia.
Pedro Alexis Tabensky
In Black Skin, White Masks Frantz Fanon discusses the neurotic condition that typifies the oppressed black subject, their 'psychoexistential complex'. He argues that this neurotic condition is closely related to another, the 'psychoexistential complex' of the white oppressor. Both of these complexes sustain and are sustained by social and economic injustice. But Fanon does not delve in detail into the nature of this second neurosis, for he was primarily interested in discussing this neurosis only insofar as it helps him understand the first. My aim in this paper is to provide an account of the white neurosis, and why it should be understood literally as a neurotic condition. Typical, white oppressors, not solely those who are militantly committed to oppressing others, are alienated from the world and from themselves, making their behaviour seem like that of soulless dolls, to use J.M. Coetzee's image from Age of Iron.
Origins and Arguments
David R. Roediger
The call-in show on Wisconsin Public Radio in 1995 began with the host skilfully introducing me as an historian who tried to explain how a white identity had come to seem so important to so many working people in the United States. We talked about efforts to understand why such significant numbers of people came to see themselves not as workers, but as white workers; not as women but as white women, and so on. And then to the phones and eager callers: Why do African countries make so little progress? Aren’t African Americans racist too? Isn’t their “reverse racism” the biggest problem? Hasn’t the welfare system enlarged a parasitic, amoral nonwhite underclass? The barrage of such questions, on public radio in a quite liberal city, took virtually the whole hour. The last caller, an African American worker at the University of Wisconsin, initially offered no question but a comment. All of the prior questions, she observed, focused on people of colour. Despite the subject of my work, she continued, and despite the moderator’s unambiguous introduction, no caller had deigned to discuss whiteness at all. If I were an expert on race, the white callers had been certain that my role was to contest or to endorse accusations and generalisations concerning those who were not white. Why was it so hard to discuss whiteness?