Unmasking through Naming: Toward an Ethic and Africology of Whiteness

In George Yancey (ed.), White on White / Black on Black. Lanham, MD 20706, USA: pp. 49-70 (2005)

Greg Moses
Texas State University
Given the loud and pernicious history of white supremacy, obvious conclusions would encourage us to abolish all vestiges of racialized naming. Nevertheless, following plain formulas encouraged by Frederick Douglass and MLK, Jr. this chapter argues that justice still demands instances of radicalized naming. When we focus on racism as a legacy of unjust naming only, we neglect the newer half of the problem, because the power of white supremacy is also to be found in what is not named when naming is suppressed. If an ethic of whiteness is possible, that is if white people as white people can work in anti-racist ways, there are times when refusing to name oneself as white is to conspire in a cover up.
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