Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit

Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit

by John Hartigan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691028850

ISBN-13: 9780691028859

Pub. Date: 10/04/1999

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Racial Situations challenges perspectives on race that rely upon oft-repeated claims that race is culturally constructed and, hence, simply false and distorting. John Hartigan asserts, instead, that we need to explain how race is experienced by people as a daily reality. His starting point is the lives of white people in Detroit. As a distinct minority,

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Overview

Racial Situations challenges perspectives on race that rely upon oft-repeated claims that race is culturally constructed and, hence, simply false and distorting. John Hartigan asserts, instead, that we need to explain how race is experienced by people as a daily reality. His starting point is the lives of white people in Detroit. As a distinct minority, whites in this city can rarely assume they are racially unmarked and normative—privileges generally associated with whiteness. Hartigan conveys their attempts to make sense of how race matters in their lives and in Detroit generally. Rather than compiling a generic sampling of white views, Hartigan develops an ethnographic account of whites in three distinct neighborhoods—an inner city, underclass area; an adjacent, debatably gentrifying community; and a working-class neighborhood bordering one of the city's wealthy suburbs. In tracking how racial tensions develop or become defused in each of these sites, Hartigan argues that whites do not articulate their racial identity strictly in relation to a symbolic figure of black Otherness. He demonstrates, instead, that intraracial class distinctions are critical in whites' determinations of when and how race matters.

In each community, the author charts a series of names—"hillbilly," "gentrifier," and "racist"—which whites use to make distinctions among themselves. He shows how these terms function in everyday discourses that reflect the racial consciousness of the communities and establish boundaries of status and privilege among whites in these areas.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691028859
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/04/1999
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
1,342,843
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Names and Transcriptions xiii

Abbreviations xv

Introduction 3

Detroit 9

Three Neighborhoods 11

The Localness of Race 13

White People or Whiteness? 16

Structure of the Book 19

1. History of the 'Hood 24

"Disgrace to the Race" 26

The Color Line 37

Riots and Race 50

Franklin School 69

2. "A Hundred Shades of White" 83

"Hillbillies" 88

"That White and Black Shit" 107

The Wicker Chair and the Baseball Game 128

3. Eluding the R-Word 145

The "Fact" of Whiteness 151

Encounters 158

"Gentrifier" 168

"History" 191

4. Between "All Black" and "All White" 209

Statements 214

"White Enclave" 224

"Racist" 245

Curriculum 263

Conclusion 278

Notes 28S

Index 347

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