Whiteness and Citizenship

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Captain Ahab’s eulogy of whiteness shows that the word “white” implies more than a chromatic description. “White” is an untenable perfection that has haunted the American psyche since colonial times. The idea of “white spiritual superiority” can only be enforce by a terrorist politico-legal system, based on brutalizing the non-whites and creating a national fantasy. A national fantasy defined by Lauren Berlant as the means “to designate how national culture becomes local through the images, narratives, monuments, and sites that circulate through personal/collective consciousness.” As Captain Ahab disregards all his craft’s safety rules on his mad search of the white whale, the American politico-legal system disregarded its basic…show more content…
Whites were usually better off than the non-whites, but some groups outside whiteness were better than poor whites. At this point it is very important to make clear the psychological association between white and empowered present in much of the whiteness field, an assumption that Sugrue argues can be very deceiving.
The concept of whiteness has father a strong flow of academic work to explore whiteness, a problem to be explained and addressed. Theodore W. Allen argues that the idea of whiteness was born in the need for social control. In the introduction of the book, Allen claims that whiteness did not exist before 1705, and he pinpoints the 1705 Virginia Law codifying race as the beginning of whiteness in America. This same anti-racist trend was present in Roediger’s Towards the Abolition of Whiteness. Roediger's focus upon whites and their racial identity and “making whiteness, rather than simply white racism, the focus of study … [showing] the impact that the dominant racial identity in the US has had … on the ways that whites think of themselves, of power, of pleasure, and of gender.” Here Roediger argues how white Irish workers had class-conscious stake in whiteness as means of escape from the worst jobs associated with non-white workers. Irish assimilation into American society was facilitated by their stress upon whiteness, and how they accepted white consciousness and ideology in a process of becoming white. The process placed greater
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