Tidy whitenes: A genealogy of race, purity, and hygiene

Ethics and the Environment 15 (1):pp. 1-26 (2010)
Critical race theorists have done much in recent years to show that contrived and repressive notions of racial purity have been central to the social identity of whiteness in the US. Similarly, feminists know that contrived and repressive notions of sexual purity (that is, chastity) have been central to the social construction of femininity, especially white femininity. While it may be clear that these abstract purity ideals have privileged certain subjects over others, what is even more interesting, and less documented, are the ways in which everyday purity ideals bite their own tails, that is, they undermine their professed purpose in concrete ways. Thus, even the "privileged" subjects suffer. Looking around, we ..
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