White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of by Ruth Frankenberg

By Ruth Frankenberg

Conventional debates pertaining to racially hierarchical societies have tended to target the adventure of being black. White ladies, Race Matters breaks with this practice by way of concentrating on the actual studies of white ladies in a racially hierarchical society. by way of contemplating the ways that their adventure not just contributes to yet demanding situations the replica of racism, the paintings deals a rigorous exam of present methodologies, practices and assumptions relating racism and gender relatives. Supported by means of extracts from in-depth existence historical past interviews, White ladies, Race Matters offers priceless path fabric.

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Second, I have sought to move well beyond the study of "racial attitudes," developing an analysis of how white people's positions in the racial order are produced through the interplay of discourses on race with the material relations of racism. Third, I seek to move away from a presentoriented, "snapshot" approach to race, developing instead one that views white women's thinking about race as embedded in a long and global history. Fourth, my approach entails a social constructionist emphasis on the social, political, and historical rather than "essential" or natural character of racial positioning.

They were white. —Sandy Alvarez I never looked at it like it was two separate cultures. I just kind of looked at it like, our family and our friends, they're Mexicans and Chicanes, and that was just a part of our life. —Louise Glebocki This book begins with childhood, looking in detail at five white women's descriptions of the places in which they grew up and analyzing them in terms of what I will refer to as the "social geography" of race. Geography refers here to the physical landscape—the home, the street, the neighborhood, the school, parts of town visited or driven through rarely or regularly, places visited on vacation.

Making matters more complicated were the degrees to which many families' economic fates seesawed in response either to national trends (the Depression, World War II) or family crises (chiefly the disability, death, or departure of the male breadwinner). The women's descriptions of their economic situations in childhood were, of necessity, subjective, since children for the most part neither know their parents' income nor can calibrate it in relation to the class structure as a whole. More than a few (Evelyn Steinman, Ginny Rodd, Dot Humphrey, Louise Glebocki, Clare Traverse)1 described themselves as having been "poor" for all or part of their childhoods.

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