Winner, CCCC Outstanding Book Award in the Edited Collection Category, 2018
With the election of our first black president, many Americans began to argue that we had finally ended racism, claiming that we now live in a postracial era. Yet near-daily news reports regularly invoke white as a demographic category and recount instances of racialized violence as well as an increased sensitivity to expressions of racial unrest. Clearly, American society isn’t as color-blind as people would like to believe. In Rhetorics of Whiteness: Postracial Hauntings in Popular Culture, Social Media, and Education, contributors reveal how identifications with racialized whiteness continue to manifest themselves in American culture.
The sixteen essays that comprise this collection not only render visible how racialized whiteness infiltrates new twenty-first-century discourses and material spaces but also offer critical tactics for disrupting this normative whiteness. Specifically, contributors examine popular culture (novels, films, TV), social media (YouTube, eHarmony, Facebook), education (state law, the textbook industry, dual credit programs), pedagogy (tactics for teaching via narratives, emotional literacy, and mindfulness) as well as cultural theories (concepts of racialized space, anti-dialogicism, and color blindness). Offering new approaches to understanding racialized whiteness, this volume emphasizes the importance of a rhetorical lens for employing whiteness studies’ theories and methods to identify, analyze, interpret, and interrupt representations of whiteness.
Although whiteness studies has been waning as an active research field for the past decade, the contributors to Rhetorics of Whiteness assert that it hasn’t lost its relevancy because racialized whiteness and issues of systemic racism persist in American society and culture today. Few whiteness studies texts have been published in rhetoric and composition in the past decade, so this collection should quickly become mandatory reading. By focusing on common, yet often overlooked, contemporary examples of how racialized whiteness haunts U.S. society, Rhetorics of Whiteness serves as a valuable text for scholars in the field as well as anyone else interested in the topic.