White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race

Gloria Wekker (Author)
Available

Description

In White Innocence Gloria Wekker explores a central paradox of Dutch culture: the passionate denial of racial discrimination and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. Accessing a cultural archive built over 400 years of Dutch colonial rule, Wekker fundamentally challenges Dutch racial exceptionalism by undermining the dominant narrative of the Netherlands as a "gentle" and "ethical" nation. Wekker analyzes the Dutch media's portrayal of black women and men, the failure to grasp race in the Dutch academy, contemporary conservative politics (including gay politicians espousing anti-immigrant rhetoric), and the controversy surrounding the folkloric character Black Pete, showing how the denial of racism and the expression of innocence safeguards white privilege. Wekker uncovers the postcolonial legacy of race and its role in shaping the white Dutch self, presenting the contested, persistent legacy of racism in the country.

Product Details

Price
$31.14
Publisher
Duke University Press
Publish Date
April 29, 2016
Pages
240
Dimensions
6.0 X 0.4 X 9.0 inches | 0.7 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9780822360759

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About the Author

Gloria Wekker is Professor Emeritus of Gender Studies at Utrecht University and the author of several books, including The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora.

Reviews

?"White Innocence explains why white Dutch people seem unable to grasp the racism of Zwarte Piet: Assured of their own social progressivism, they can a priori think and therefore do no wrong. . . . ? Wekker concludes her work with a plea for 'another "embarrassment of riches,"' for acknowledging the racism staring us in the face. In the United States, we might start by recognizing that there is, and always has been, no more audacious identity politics than white identity politics, as Trump and his white-supremacist ilk gleefully demonstrate. At least the illusion of innocence has been stripped away. Or perhaps not?"
-- (03/14/2017)
"White Innocence exposes how Dutch racism is infused with classism, sexism, and homophobia in discussions of everyday racism that includes [Wekker's] own personal exoticization as a child and criminalization as an adult, TV talk shows and films, experiences of mixed-race families, white gay liberation that constitutes Dutch homonationalism . . . and the 'siloing' of gender and race/ethnicity in politics and academics that makes intersectional policy and scholarship impossible. In doing so, Wekker reveals the very real personal consequences for people of color when their very existence is in service of white people."-- (06/01/2017)
"White Innocence provides a welcome and thought-provoking impetus to think more acutely about the long-term impacts of imperialism, as well as about the interrelations between colonies and metropole."--Bart Luttikhuis"History: Reviews of New Books" (07/20/2017)
"White Innocence makes a significant contribution to the field of critical whiteness studies by examining the role of race, especially whiteness, and the legacy of colonialism in the present-day Netherlands."--Shannon Sullivan"philoSOPHIA" (06/01/2017)
"White Innocence is an enticing invitation to confront the contradictions of Dutch discourse on race, colonialism and violence. . . . Wekker's work is of vital relevance for those willing to unlearn the legacy of
colonialism."-- (04/29/2018)
"This book has been a long time coming. . . . An exemplary work of critical scholarship."-- (09/30/2018)