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Geneva Cole, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Chicago
Race, Ethnicity and Politics
Nationalism, National Identity
Conservative Political Identity
Countries of Interest
Objective. Until recently, whiteness was not considered a politically significant social identity. This study builds on recent work and explores empirically the different ways in which white people understand their whiteness with the objective of recognizing how variations in white identification shape attitudes about the Movement for Black Lives. Methods. I use qualitative analysis of in-depth semistructured interviews to develop a theoretical framework for understanding how white Americans understand and identify with their whiteness and apply this typology to expressed attitudes about Black Lives Matter. Results. I find three distinct patterns of white identification that characterize how white people understand their own race and privilege. These patterns subsequently affect how white Americans understand the experiences of minorities, specifically analyzed through opinions about Black Lives Matter. Conclusion. Variations in the way that white Americans understand their whiteness have tangible effects on the way they approach racial politics, with this paper focused specifically on white attitudes about the Movement for Black Lives. As the movement engages a broad multiracial coalition it is very possible that those who were previously unaware of their whiteness will come to see it as important, with potentially wide-ranging impacts on the future of racial politics in the United States.
My research investigated what pushed White people to join last year’s protests.
Here's what else my research found at CPAC.
A history of structural racism brought the Twin Cities to this boiling point. In my sample of white residents, even those who express understanding of white privilege tend to minimize the struggles of their black neighbors.
(with Evgenia Olimpieva and Ipek Cinar) mixed-methods analysis of how Russia Today (RT) covers police brutality in the United States.
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