The Social Construction of Whiteness: Racism by Intent, Racism by Consequence

The discipline of Sociology has generated great contributions to scholarship and research about American race relations. Much of the theorizing on American race relations in America is expressed in binary terms of black and white. Historically, the study of American race relations typically problematizes the “othered” status, that is, the non-white status in America’s racial hierarchy. However, the sociology of race relations has historically failed to take into account both sides of the black/white binary paradigm when addressing racial inequality.

In other words, in the case of race, it becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees. Thus, in Sociology, we find less scholarship about the role “whiteness as the norm” plays in sustaining social privilege beyond that which is accorded marginalize others. In order to examine the historical black/white binary
paradigm of race in America, it is important to understand its structuration. This article extends the applicability of sociologies of knowledge (Thomas Theorem, social constructionism) and Gidden’s structuration theory to inform a postmodern analysis of America’s binary racial paradigm.

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