1st Edition

Being White Stories of Race and Racism

By Karyn D. McKinney Copyright 2005
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    Karyn McKinney uses written autobiographies solicited from young white people to empirically analyze the contours of the white experience in U.S. society. This text offers a unique view of whiteness based on the rich data provided by whites themselves, writing about what it means to be white.

    Foreword, Joe Feagin Preface: A White Woman From the South1. I Could Tell My Life Story Without Mentioning My Race: Exploring Everyday Whiteness 2. I Began to See How Important Race Could Be: Turning Points in Whiteness 3. Being Born in the U.S. to White Parents is Almost Boring: Whiteness as a Meaningless Identity4. I Feel 'Whiteness' When I Hear People Blaming Whites: Whiteness as Cultural Stigmatization5. I Was the Loser in this Rat Race: Whiteness as Economic Disadvantage 6. Being White Is Like Being Free: Whiteness and the Potential for AntiracismAppendix A: Sample Validity Appendix B: Sample Differences: North/South or Rural/Urban? Appendix C. Autobiography Guide


    Karyn McKinney is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Penn State University, Altoona College. She is the co-author of The Many Costs of Racism with Joe Feagin, and her work has appeared in Contemporary Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Journal of Family Issues and the American Journal of Sociology.

    "Being White is a brilliant book! Karyn McKinney reveals how a common array of evasions, disavowals, and rationalizations enables white college students to obscure the role that race plays in their own lives and in the lives of others. The empathy, insights, and analysis contained in this book offer an unparalleled understanding of the inner workings of contemporary whiteness." -- George Lipsitz, Professor of American Studies, University of California at Santa Cruz
    "Being White expands and deepens our knowledge of whiteness in vital ways. Karyn McKinney captures the racial obliviousness that shapes the world of white youth in America. This condition, in part based on ignorance, and in part self-serving, damages their lives, their dreams, and their potential as human beings. Yet McKinney does not only indict. She also shows white youth challenging racism and moving against it. Being White is both a serious indictment and a testament of hope. Highly recommended!" -- Howard Winant, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara
    "Karyn McKinney is one of the few race scholars in the United States to empirically examine how young whites reconcile white privilege in an era of colorblindness. Being White gives voice to whites' narratives about what it means to be white that are typically never heard beyond the insularity of all-white social networks. Her analysis about the ways in which white privilege is reproduced and justified through a process often invisible to young whites is a major contribution to our understanding of race relations." -- Charles A. Gallagher, Associate Professor, Race and Urban Concentration Chair, Georgia State University
    "In this fine book Karyn McKinney goes boldly where few scholars have ventured. She is perhaps the first scholar to explore thoroughly how young white Americans of this era think about-or, often, do not think about-their white identities, privileges, and racist society. McKinney probes cleverly and deeply into how young white Americans relate to being white and their evanescent sense of whiteness." -- Joe Feagin, Ella C. McFadden Professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University