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Touring Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica, Part 3: What Could it Mean to Be White?

"Were the advantages of color to disappear, how would whites replace their carefully constructed but ever-fragile self-esteem based on whiteness?"

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

March 21, 2012 - 5:41 am

Part 1: A Guided Tour Through Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica Legacies, Part 1

Part 2: A ‘Euphoria of Freedom’

In the prologue to Afrolantica Legacies Professor Derrick Bell claims whites base their self-worth on skin color:

For without black people in America, what would it mean to be white? Of what value whiteness, the privilege of preference, the presumption of normality, the reassurance of majority status? Were the advantages of color to disappear, how would whites replace their carefully constructed but ever-fragile self-esteem based on whiteness? Blacks doubted that many whites would ever ask themselves these questions, but the questions were not less real because unacknowledged.

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.
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