• White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race

    Author(s): Gloria Wekker
    Published: 2016
    Pages: 240
    Illustrations: 2 photographs
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Introduction  1

    1. "Suppose She Brings a Big Negro Home": Case Studies of Everyday Racism  30

    2. The House That Race Built  50

    3. The Coded Language of Hottentot Nymphae and the Discursive Presence of Race, 1917  81

    4. Of Homo Nostalgia and (Post)Coloniality: Or, Where Did All the Critical White Gay Men Go?  108

    5. "For Even Though I Am Black as Soot, My Intentions Are Good": The Case of Black Pete  139

    Coda. "But What about the Captain?"  168

    Notes  175

    References  193

    Index  215
  • "White Innocence is a major contribution that provides us with new and distinct methods for investigating the cultural archives of colonialism, showing how they are at once national archives that include written documents and accumulated impressions, encounters, and experiences. Gloria Wekker takes the trouble of creating an itinerary of expressions of whiteness as innocence. It is a powerful itinerary. This book will reach out to readers, and draw them in." — Sara Ahmed

    "Refreshingly innovative, conceptually sophisticated, and compellingly argued. . . . The outcome of a lifetime spent in the theoretical and political trenches, White Innocence breaks entirely new ground." — M. Jacqui Alexander

    "Gloria Wekker's patient anatomization of the Dutch racial order is a major contribution to the growing global conversation about whiteness and its overcoming. Her authoritative survey of the willful innocence that underpins racism in the Netherlands should be widely read and studied." — Paul Gilroy

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  • Description

    In White Innocence Gloria Wekker explores a central paradox of Dutch culture: the passionate denial of racial discrimination and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. Accessing a cultural archive built over 400 years of Dutch colonial rule, Wekker fundamentally challenges Dutch racial exceptionalism by undermining the dominant narrative of the Netherlands as a "gentle" and "ethical" nation. Wekker analyzes the Dutch media's portrayal of black women and men, the failure to grasp race in the Dutch academy, contemporary conservative politics (including gay politicians espousing anti-immigrant rhetoric), and the controversy surrounding the folkloric character Black Pete, showing how the denial of racism and the expression of innocence safeguards white privilege. Wekker uncovers the postcolonial legacy of race and its role in shaping the white Dutch self, presenting the contested, persistent legacy of racism in the country.

    About The Author(s)

    Gloria Wekker is Professor Emeritus of Gender Studies at Utrecht University and the author of several books, including The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora.
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