Habits of Whiteness: A Pragmatist Reconstruction

Available

Description

Habits of Whiteness offers a new way to talk about race and racism by focusing on racial habits and how to change them. According to Terrance MacMullan, the concept of racial whiteness has undermined attempts to create a truly democratic society in the United States. By getting to the core of the racism that lives on in unrecognized habits, MacMullan argues clearly and charitably for white folk to recognize the distance between their color-blind ideals and their actual behavior. Revitalizing the work of W. E. B. Du Bois and John Dewey, MacMullan shows how it is possible to reconstruct racial habits and close the gap between people. This forthright and persuasive analysis of the impulses of whiteness ultimately reorganizes them into something more compatible with our country's increasingly multicultural heritage.

Product Details

Price
$22.95
Publisher
Indiana University Press
Publish Date
March 26, 2009
Pages
254
Dimensions
6.1 X 0.6 X 9.1 inches | 1.0 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9780253220714
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Terrance MacMullan is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Honors at Eastern Washington University. He is co-editor of Revealing Male Bodies (IUP, 2002). He lives in Spokane, Washington.

Reviews

"In his autobiography, Malcolm X issued a challenge to 'well-meaning' whites to work within their own communities to solve the problem of racism. A growing body of scholarship by white theorists on white privilege reflects an effort to do just this. In Habits of Whiteness, MacMullan... brings a fresh perspective to this ongoing discussion. In seeking to answer the question of why racism lingers in a society where the vast majority of whites profess a belief in the equality of all races, MacMullan employs John Dewey's pragmatic model to identify racism as a habit. As such, it is a 'pre-reflective cognitive or behavioral practice'--natural and invisible. The work of Du Bois, whom MacMullan considers a pragmatist, provides the basis for his substantive critique of white racism. MacMullan's aim, however, is not merely to identify the nature of the problem, but to offer hope of a resolution. Dewey's interactionist model of knowledge allows MacMullan to posit a reconstruction of the habits of whiteness, replacing them with positive contributions to the world--unique 'cultural gifts' identified by Du Bois as possessed by each race, including whites.... Recommended. November 2009"

--Choice

In his autobiography, Malcolm X issued a challenge to 'well-meaning' whites to work within their own communities to solve the problem of racism. A growing body of scholarship by white theorists on white privilege reflects an effort to do just this. In Habits of Whiteness, MacMullan (Eastern Washington Univ.) brings a fresh perspective to this ongoing discussion. In seeking to answer the question of why racism lingers in a society where the vast majority of whites profess a belief in the equality of all races, MacMullan employs John Dewey's pragmatic model to identify racism as a habit. As such, it is a 'pre-reflective cognitive or behavioral practice'--natural and invisible. The work of Du Bois, whom MacMullan considers a pragmatist, provides the basis for his substantive critique of white racism. MacMullan's aim, however, is not merely to identify the nature of the problem, but to offer hope of a resolution. Dewey's interactionist model of knowledge allows MacMullan to posit a reconstruction of the habits of whiteness, replacing them with positive contributions to the world--unique 'cultural gifts' identified by Du Bois as possessed by each race, including whites. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above. -- Choice

--B. J. Hall, California State University, East Bay