White space, white privilege: Mapping discursive inquiry into the self

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

#racism #blacklivesmatter #privilege #whitesupremacy #blackpeople #intersectionalfeminism #whiteprivilege #whiteprivilegeisreal #whiteprivileged

This study explores the role of communication in the strategic self‐definition of whiteness. The transcripts from two focus group interviews (with Whites from two Historically Black Universities) are used to map the discourses of “White” participants concerning the nature of whiteness. The maps, when analyzed, uncovered significant commentary about White space and White privilege. Five strategies of representation emerged from the discursive territories. They identify whiteness as: (1) incompletion, (2) uninterrogateable space, (3) metaphor for the universal insider, (4) guilty and fair space, and (5) situationally immutable. The results imply that the space that Whites occupy is unclearly constructed and defined, and therefore is enigmatic.

Key words: Critical White StudiesCritical Race StudiesNegotiation of Cultural IdentityMappingDiscourse of Whiteness

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