A Meditation on Whiteness
By Beth Connors-Manke
October Featured Essay
Note: in August The Whole Horse Project published Jeff Gross’s “Into the Caldron: Neoliberalism, Ideology, Education and Life Itself” which discussed, in part, the controversy over social media posts by sociology professor Zandria F. Robinson. Below is an extended reflection sparked by one of Robinson’s tweets.
“Whiteness is most certainly and inevitably terror.” –Tweet by Zandria F. Robinson
An assertion like this—an assertion so sweeping—troubles me. Many categorical statements, like this one, aren’t true. They need qualifiers; they need limits set on them.
Like this: Whiteness is most certainly and inevitably terror when a man walks into a church and kills nine church folk during Bible study.
Or, like this: Whiteness is most certainly and inevitably terror when a police officer shoots a 12-year-old boy dead in a park.
It’s hard to argue with those qualified statements, although a number of people still would. But maybe what troubles me here isn’t that lack of qualifiers—maybe it’s the definition of whiteness.