Locating Traitorous Identities: Toward a Theory of White Character Formation
Hypatia, Vol. 13, No. 3, Summer 1998
9 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2009
Date Written: June 1, 1998
This essay explores how the social location of white traitorous identities might be understood. I begin by examining some of the problematic implications of Sandra Harding's standpoint framework description of race traitors as 'becoming marginal.' I argue that the location of white traitors might be better understood in terms of their 'decentering the center.' I distinguish between 'privilege-cognizant' and 'privilege-evasive' white scripts. Drawing on the work of Marilyn Frye and Anne Braden, I offer an account of the contrasting perceptions and behaviors of white who animate one type of script and those who struggle to forge the other type. I use Maria Lugones account of identity and notions of 'world travel' and 'loving perception' and Aristotle's virtue theory to explicate the ways whites, and white feminists in particular, might cultivate a traitorous character conducive to an antiracist politics.
Keywords: Race Traitors, Virtue Ethics, Sandra Harding, Feminist Epistemology, Resistant White Identities, Maria Lugones, Marilyn Frye, Critical Whiteness Studies, Anne Braden
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