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  • Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism by Shannon Sullivan
Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism, by Shannon Sullivan. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2014, 214 pages.

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Feminist philosopher and critical race theorist Shannon Sullivan enters into the fray on the conundrum of white racism, domination, and privilege with her latest book Good White People. Some of the territory covered in the book has been trod by various scholars from myriad disciplines, such as Derrick Bell’s Faces at the Bottom of Well, James Feagin’s White Racism, David Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness. Inspired by fellow philosopher Lucius T. Outlaw’s call to rehabilitate whiteness, Sullivan attempts to do just that. What is different about her volume is not necessarily her dissections of the oftentimes obtuse ways of good-intentioned, white middle-class folks, but rather the critical verve in which she tackles it, linking the insidious nature of white liberals’ antiracism to class dumping, etc. This is a book that will get debates going. And wonderfully so. Where it gets sticky, though, is the prescription to cure white racism: the call for white folks to love whiteness. There will be those who will argue that the last thing whites need to do is love themselves any more than they already do, that loving themselves more has necessarily ended up with others getting less. But Sullivan takes as her guidepost James Baldwin, who wrote in the classic, The Fire Next Time: “White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this—which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never—the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”



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pp. 90-91
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