Abstract

This introduction observes that claims that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama heralded the dawn of a “postracial” moment in US history have proved false in the intervening years. In addition to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, greater awareness of widening wealth and income inequality, and environmental crises, a number of incidents call attention to the continued significance of white privilege and white supremacy. This does not mean that whiteness itself has not changed. Whereas once it hid behind claims of universality, now whiteness is on the march. Hence, if the civil rights movement made it harder to express explicit racial antipathy, it also provided a language and a set of strategies through which whites could hold on to their racial privilege by paradoxically claiming their own marginalized status. That is, a perception of lost prestige has lent itself to the framing of whiteness as an identity characterized by vulnerability and victimhood.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 1071-1076
Launched on MUSE
2014-12-15
Open Access
No
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