For centuries, Whiteness has been the invisible rm in the West, a transparent, yet ubiquitous frame of reference so pervasive that most Whites consider themselves absolved from race matters. In recent years activists, scholars, and writers have been challenging this cultural and political molith by investigating Whiteness in its many manifestations. Yet, once it is rendered visible, Whiteness proves to be perilous and paradoxical: we single out Whiteness to expose its status as an unexamined center, yet the more we single it out, the more attention we invariably draw to it, once again at the expense of marginalized cultures. Organized into sections on white politics, white culture, white bodies, and white theory, this anthology collects much of the most important work on Whiteness to date. Such writers as David Roediger, Eric Lott, E. Ann Kaplan, Fred Pfeil, Amitava Kumar, and Henry A. Giroux serve up what is, in essence, a second generation of writing on Whiteness, moving past ackwledgment of its heretofore invisible nature, to in-depth analysis of its resilience and alleged disintegration. Taking on film, literature, music, militias, even Rush Limbaugh, Whiteness: A Critical Reader is a crucial contribution to discussions of race, politics, and culture in the U.S. today.
Mike Hill is Assistant Professor of English at the University at Albany. He is the editor of Whiteness: A Critical Reader (NYU Press, 1997), and the co-editor of Masses, Classes, and the Public Sphere.