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The Construction of WhitenessAn Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity$
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Stephen Middleton, David R. Roediger, and Donald M. Shaffer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496805553

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496805553.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2018

Making Whiteness in Reenactments of Slavery

Making Whiteness in Reenactments of Slavery

(p.150) 6 Making Whiteness in Reenactments of Slavery
The Construction of Whiteness

Sadhana Bery

University Press of Mississippi

I study enactments of slavery in two sites that share a similar educational mission. I argue that white performances of slavery facilitate whites to make racial redemptive claims through their consumptive identification of black bondage and trauma. In these performances, whites seemingly minimize and abdicate their self-ascribed moral superiority by engaging with slavery but as Saidiya Hartman notes, ‘the imagined and simulated captivity…assumes the ease of grappling with terror, of representing slavery’s crime, and ably standing in the other’s shoes…(but, in fact)…it doesn’t minimize the very terror it sets out to represent through these mundane reenactments’. In fact, the performances of slavery re-center and re/produce white supremacy in new ways.

Keywords:   White performances, Racial Redemption, Racial Supremacy, Consumptive identification, Black bondage

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