Tag Archives: whiteness studies

“Whiteness Project” Stokes Anti-Whiteness


The tagline which greets visitors to Whiteness Project is “White people in Buffalo, NY, talk about race.” Here’s what comes up when you click on the About tab:

The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity.

The project is conducting 1,000 interviews with white people from all walks of life and localities in which they are asked about their relationship to, and their understanding of, their own whiteness. It also includes data drawn from a variety of sources that highlights some quantitative aspects of what it means to be a white American.

At first glance this looks and sounds promising. It could be an updated, White-centric variation on Craig Bodeker’s video A Conversation About Race, or a web-based elaboration on Robert Griffin’s book, One Sheaf, One Vine: Racially Conscious White Americans Talk About Race.

But who is behind this project, shaping it? What does Whiteness mean to them? Do they identity as “white”? If so, why do they write “white” instead of White? There’s a hint in their “Artistic Statement”:

Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow?

Ahh. This is yet another slick attempt to pathologize Whites and deconstruct “White privilege”, an anti-Whiteness project hiding behind a misleading name.

Reading this VICE interview with director/producer Whitney Dow it’s apparent that whatever’s driving him it is not sympathy for Whites. Nor is it academic curiosity. Dow is animated by a deep-seated profanity-flecked hostility toward Whites.

Dow claims that White supremacy is the organizing principle of the United States today. The irony is he has somehow been able to make a career, a living out of promoting this reality-defying belief. Dow’s concept of Whiteness, which he claims is rarely investigated, is an anti-White view that has been taught by academics in elite universities for decades.

The idea behind Dow’s latest project is not new either. Ruth Frankenberg, a sociologist who helped define anti-White “Whiteness studies”, performed interviews in which she deliberately sought to “draw out” the “racism” in her “white” feminist subjects. Dow’s variation is to make a shallower pass over a more ordinary group he knows will “say a lot of dumb shit”. Whereas Frankenberg focused on shaming her deracinated feminist peers into anti-Whiteness, Dow targets Whites generally. Whereas Frankenberg worked in relative obscurity, Dow seeks and gets mass media promotion.

Responding to a question about his motives in the interview with VICE, Dow tries to explain:

I had this epiphany where I suddenly realized, I don’t have a racial identity… But oh my God, of course I have a racial identity. I have the most powerful racial identity on the motherfucking planet. And despite all the work I had done, all my talk about it, all my bullshit, until that moment, I hadn’t really processed it in a real way where I recognized it. It sounds really fucking corny, but it was like having some sort of conversion experience. With that knowledge, all of a sudden, I started to see the world in such a different way. It was kind of like getting X-ray glasses.

Some part of Dow’s brain seems to realize his epiphany about White supremacy is bullshit. At any rate he’s only explaining what triggered his conversion from unconscious to conscious anti-Whiteness. He doesn’t explain why he is anti-White in the first place. Frankenberg linked her anti-White resentment to her mixed jew/White identity. Is Dow’s underlying motive similar? Is his anti-Whiteness really just a reflection of jewness, or part-jewness?

Dow understands that jews are especially relevant to this issue of Whiteness. If you click on the Sources tab at his site and scroll down, one of his 21 blurbs reads:

94% of U.S. Jews identify as white. White Americans view Jews more positively than members of any other major religion.

How odd. Where are the statistics on other religions? What does religion have to do with Whiteness anyway? Why the jews? Dow leaves a truly telling question unasked: How do jews view Whites?

The Pew poll Dow cites as a source for his statement actually makes it clear that jews identify as jews more than anything else. Furthermore, jews think being a jew has more to do with biology (who their parents are) than religion, and 7 out of 10 jews “say remembering the Holocaust is an essential part of what being Jewish means to them”. Thus the most pertinent fact about jews vis-a-vis Whiteness is that jews identify themselves as distinct from Whites, as victims of Whites, as adversaries of Whites.

Dow must be aware of this. Alex, the “white” face Dow attached to his odd statement about jews, explains the distinction:

I don’t feel a common bond where, like, when I see another white person walking down the street I have to give them a high five or something along those lines. No. I do not feel a specific common bond with white people. If you were going to ask me if I feel a common bond with jewish people then yes, it would absolutely be yes.

Bullshit artists like Dow are able to make careers out of crusading against White supremacy only because Whites who identify positively as White are not in control, and because anti-White jews and people who think positively about jews are. It is exactly because jews have real power and privilege that “whites” of Dow’s ilk are not having epiphanies about jew supremacy and PBS will not be sponsoring any “Jewness Projects”.

So far the main response to Dow’s “Whiteness Project” has come from confused and consternated anti-Whites. The confusion is a direct result of the project’s misleading name and presentation. Their consternation is a result of the unthinkable injury of allowing Whites (or even “whites”) any kind of public platform to speak about race – even our own. Luckily for Dow, the more seasoned anti-Whites in the jewsmedia get his agenda. They have been happy to offer Dow and other anti-Whites a platform to make their distaste for Whites plain. Some examples are attached below.

White People Are Unironically Talking About the White Experience in New PBS Documentary, Tom McKay, Identities.Mic, 11 October 2014. (No White identity at “Identities.Mic”. McKay calls out just about every “white” except Alex the jew. Irony or coincidence?)

Twitter Users Reject The Whiteness Project’s Deposit, Trent Clark, Hip-Hop Wired, 12 October 2014. (14 pages of snarky twits “rejecting” the project because it isn’t overtly anti-White enough, see Anti-Whiteness is Trending.)

Anger at controversial PBS project on the ‘hardships’ of being white: Critics round on ‘The Whiteness Project’, Joel Christie, Daily Mail, 14 October 2014. (‘hardships’. Dow: “A bit nervous as I know it has a huge chance of being misunderstood” “White people have been very tentative about engaging.” “POC either get it right away or are hugely offended.”)

PBS under fire for documentary, ‘The Whiteness Project,’ on Caucasian hardships, Cheryl K. Chumley, Washington Times, 15 October 2014. (A rehashing of the DM article minus the sneer quotes on hardships.)

The Soapbox: “The Whiteness Project” Is A Pageantry Of White Ignorance, Tiffanie Drayton, The Frisky, 15 October 2014. (Angry black woman lectures Whites about “appropriation”, via the White internet, in White English.)

Why the Whiteness Project is so endlessly mortifying, Miles Klee, Salon, 15 October 2014. (“From our own vantage, it looks as if he was attempting a serious exploration of white identity in the tradition of Richard Dyer, but white people found a way to ruin it: by speaking their minds.”)

The Whiteness Project will make you wince. Because white people can be rather awful, Steven Thrasher, The Guardian, 15 October 2014. (Angry black man winces, wants to hear more.)

Why Would We Need Something Called ‘The Whiteness Project’?, Jessica Roy, NYMag, 16 October 2014. (Dow: “I expected white people to be outraged, and what’s actually interesting to me is the biggest critics of the project are white progressives on the web. They think it’s really outrageous, what I’m doing.”)

Making Sense of the Whiteness Project, Brigitte Fielder, Avidly – LA Review of Books, 16 October 2014. (“public responses to it have been so varied”, says yet another professional non-White who has literally made a career out of lecturing others about “Whiteness” and doesn’t think Whites should have anything to say about it.)