Race Traitor

ISBN 13: 9780415913928

Race Traitor

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9780415913928: Race Traitor

Race Traitor brings together voices ranging from tenured university professors to skinheads and prison inmates to discuss the "white question" in America.

Working from the premise that the white race has been socially constructed, Race Traitor is a call for the disruption of white conformity and the formation of a New Abolitionism to dissolve it.

In a time when white supremicist thinking seems to be gaining momentum, Race Traitor brings together voices ranging from tenured university professors to skinheads and prison inmates to discuss the "white question" in America. Through popular culture, current events, history and personal life stories, the essays analyze the forces that hold the white race together--and those that promise to tear it apart. When a critical mass of people come together who, though they look white, have ceased to act white, the white race will undergo fission and former whites will be able to take part in building a new human community.

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Review:

The journal Race Traitor began in 1992 with one lofty ambition: "to serve as an intellectual center for those seeking to abolish the white race." The editors define the white race as a historically constructed social group consisting of all those who benefit from having white skin and are thus empowered by the status quo. They see the concept of whiteness as a barrier to justice and equality, insisting that deeply ingrained social problems cannot be solved until the privileges of white skin are abolished. Since they define the white race as a historical rather than a natural classification, it follows that this system can be undone--but only if a noticeable segment of whites are willing to dismiss conformity to their color. "Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity," the editors declare. The enemies of social progress, then, are not just white supremacists but anyone unwilling to dismiss the benefits conferred by racial status.

This anthology contains essays from the first five editions of Race Traitor, and its contributors are a varied lot: professors, poets, activists, skinheads, and prison inmates all toss their opinions into the racial ring. The essays range from sociological examinations of "whiteness" to examples of rampant racism and individuals' attempts to stand up to it. Though the book's introduction states that "Race Traitor exists not to make converts," the arguments presented in this collection have the power and grace to do just that. --Shawn Carkonen

About the Author:

Noel Ignatiev is the author of How the Irish Became White (Routledge, 1995). John Garvey works in the Office of Academic Affairs at City University of New York. Together they are the founders and editors of Race Traitor: A Journal of the New Abolitionism.

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