Tag Archives: john a. powell

Passing & Pure Individualism

While the ‘passing’ of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century has fallen out of favor, the passing of today takes the form of the assertion of ‘pure’ individualism, stripped of race and gender. But this notion of the individual is an ideological fiction, reflective of the image of male whiteness, and still situated in the assimilationist position.”
– john a. powell, Racing for Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society (Indiana Univ. Press, 2015)

Notes for #WhitenessHistoryMonth 4.8
Extending work of @CrazyPastor. Honoring vision of @PortlandCC
@DCSpatz

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Reputation of Being a White Man

‘If he be a white man, and assigned to a colored coach, he may have his action for damages against the company for being deprived of his so-called property. Upon the other hand, if he be a colored man and be so assigned, he has been deprived of no property, since he is not lawfully entitled to the reputation of being a white man.’
– Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)

“The benefits of whiteness, described in this way, throw the disabilities attached to blackness during the ‘separate but equal’ era into sharp relief. For many being white automatically ensured higher economic returns in the short term as well as greater economic, political, and social security in the long run. Being white meant gaining access to a set of public and private privileges that materially and permanently guaranteed basic needs and survival. Being white increased the possibility of controlling critical aspects of one’s life rather than of being the object of another’s domination.”

– john a. powell, Racing for Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society (Indiana Univ. Press, 2015), p.43

Notes for #WhiteNESSHistoryMonth 4.3

Extending work of @CrazyPastor. Honoring vision of @PortlandCC

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Whiteness defined by “Common Man”

The U.S. Naturalization Act of 1790 specified that citizenship was available only to “free white persons of good moral character.” In United States vs. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) SCOTUS argued that whiteness was defined by the understanding of “the common man.”

“In other words, the Court conceded that definitions of whiteness are predicated upon common acceptance, or rejection, of demographic groups.”
– john a. powell, Racing for Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society (Indiana Univ. Press, 2015)

#WhitenessHistoryMonth

Notes for  #WhiteNESSHistoryMonth 4.1

Extending work of @CrazyPastor. Honoring vision of @PortlandCC

Slideshow of Notes for Whiteness History Month

Whiteness1