Aggrieved Whiteness: White Identity Politics and Modern American Racial Formation

by Mike King

Recent social psychological research, opinion polls, and political movements, such as the Tea Party and the candidacy and election of Donald Trump, have highlighted an increasingly widespread sentiment among white Americans that they are a structurally oppressed racial group. In spite of persistent socio-cultural and political economic structures of white supremacy, real racial inequalities that serve to privilege rather than oppress white people as a group, a politics of aggrieved whiteness has become increasingly prevalent. Aggrieved whiteness is a white identity politics aimed at maintaining white socio-political hegemony through challenging efforts to combat actual material racial inequality, while supporting heavily racialized investments in policing, prisons, and the military, and positing a narrative of antiwhite racial oppression loosely rooted in an assortment of racialized threats. This political manifestation of white supremacy does not deviate from previous incarnations; it lacks a legitimate grounding in reason and fact, but still produces very real social consequences. This article will sketch how W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of socio-psychological wages of whiteness, Paula Ioanide’s discussion of modern racial affect, and Wendy Brown’s application of ressentiment to modern political conceptions of identity can help provide a contextualized understanding of aggrieved whiteness and the challenges it poses to pursuits for genuine racial justice.

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Intro/Conclusion to Abolition’s Elections 2016 Blog Series

[Joy James gives an Intro/Conclusion to the Abolition Collective 2016 Election Blog.]

“Welcome to the party.

So, we “lost.” That is the refrain and the grief cue for those seeking justice or peace or freedom, or all of the above in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States.

In losing the election, which was not a referendum on justice or peace or freedom, we gained increasing clarity (and, from late night comics, more hilarity laced with obscenities).

To be clear, we wanted to share free land and labor, love, and sacred nature—what we’ve never had. To be certain, those who wield disciplinary and predatory powers were not and will never be our protectors, allies or benevolent governors. …”

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What a Trump Administration Means for Health in the Black Caribbean

by Jallicia Jolly and Veronique Ignace –

As echoed by many reproductive justice advocates, the lives and health of many Black women remain subject to the whims of American politics. Alongside the white nationalist revival and nativism that accompanies Trump’s platform of bigotry, the recent divestments in health evoke a special terror in the Caribbean – U.S.’s “backyard”, a region that continues to be a “strategic ‘battlefield’ for US geopolitics no matter the human costs.”
Health remains an important political tool used to define the quality of life of Black women as it characterizes historically disenfranchised groups as the repository of social death.

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In the Time of Trump: Housing, Whiteness, and Abolition

– by Manissa M Maharawal and Erin McElroy (The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project) –

How is Trump the landlord connected to Trump the president? How can we think about the rise of Trump’s reign through a lens critical of the US’s racist and colonial histories of private property? Focused on the geography of the San Francisco Bay Area and the analysis of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, this piece shows the relationships between luxury development, public housing, gentrification, liberalism, and racialized dispossession. For understanding the data and building an intersectional movement, this piece argues that we need an abolitionist approach to private property.

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The Inauguration of Fascism? Thinking Violence and Resistance in the Age of Trump

– by David Langstaff –
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, fascism has once again returned to center stage in left political discourse. If we aim to overcome the impasse of left praxis, our theories of fascism and resistance must refuse false dichotomies of race and class, as well as the treating of fascist violence as a radical departure from the normal operations of the liberal democratic state. Fascistic ascendance, as an historically specific manifestation of white nationalist revanchism, cannot be meaningfully apprehended apart from the foundations of the U.S. settler colonial state in racial slavery and genocide. Turning towards this “position of the unthought” opens up the possibility, not only of grasping systemic violence at its roots, but of recognizing and imagining, celebrating and embracing, forms of insurgent social life which already move beneath, against, and beyond the socio-ecological catastrophe that is the modern world.

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Trump: The Neo-Authoritarian Tendency & the Epochal Crisis of Capitalism

– Luis Arizmendi –
“Make America great again” is a slogan that represents an unquestionably confused and intransigent project of reconfiguration of the US-led capitalist system and the restructuring of US global hegemony. Trump’s aims are not only to integrate the US working class, but also to push forward an authoritarian integration of this group in the government’s efforts to maintain its global influence. He sponsors escalating political violence as response to the present economic crisis. Donald Trump’s capitalism personifies the neo-authoritarian tendency of capitalism in the 21st century.

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Donald J. Trump: Racist, Alleged Child Rapist, and President-Elect

– by Ahmad Greene-Hayes –
Even as white liberals cry and lament Trump with more fervor than they would ever mourn Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and Sandra Bland; or cry with and for our indigenous co-laborers in North Dakota; or even our Latinx kin who have been deported under Obama’s regime, what is undoubtedly apparent to those of us who have been living under white nationalism is that white tears will not save us, nor will white Jesus, nor will white liberals, nor will white Evangelicals. What will save us, though, is a doing away with whiteness writ-large.

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Stranger Things and the Upside Down Dawn of Donald Trump

-by Heath Pearson –
What makes Stranger Things a modern classic is its relentless insistence that the terrors happening right now are being entirely missed, and mindlessly supported, by a sleeping, White, public – a strange parallel in the dawning days of Trump.

It is not time to unify behind Trump, or to stand behind his storm troopers of White Supremacy. As Malcolm X might say: the chickens have come home to roost. It is no longer appropriate for White people to sleep. It is time to slay the monster of White supremacy once and for all. People of color, Muslims and undocumented men and women, people who have been fighting White supremacy since the beginning, are already experiencing public outbursts of racist language and physical abuse. For all of us, the monster of White supremacy that has been conjured should be terrifying. But the monster that’s conjured is also the monster that’s exposed. And the monster that’s exposed is the monster that’s vulnerable. And the monster that’s vulnerable is the monster that can be killed.

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