Photo by Ashley Gilbertson/VII for The New York Times

Whiteness encompasses a number of features of everyday life: it is a reference to the skin color of the people who belong to the group that we call white people, and it is a cultural context that corresponds to their historical and contemporary experiences. Finally, as James Baldwin explained, it is a metaphor for sociocultural power.¹

Paradoxically, whiteness derives dominance as a cultural context through its creation of itself as invisible (to white people, that is). This invisibility is achieved when white people equate their own experiences with normal everyday life on earth for everyone: There’s nothing to see here…

laura smith

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store