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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Working Against Racism from White Subject Positions: White Anti-Racism, New Abolitionism & Intersectional Anti-White Irish Diasporic Nationalism

  • Author(s): Horton, Matthew
  • Advisor(s): Nasir, Na’ilah
  • et al.

This dissertation is an intervention into Critical Whiteness Studies, an ‘additional movement’ to Ethnic Studies and Critical Race Theory. It systematically analyzes key contradictions in working against racism from a white subject positions under post-Civil Rights Movement liberal color-blind white hegemony and "Black Power" counter-hegemony through a critical assessment of two major competing projects in theory and practice: white anti-racism [Part 1] and New Abolitionism [Part 2].

I argue that while white anti-racism is eminently practical, its efforts to hegemonically rearticulate white are overly optimistic, tend toward renaturalizing whiteness, and are problematically dependent on collaboration with people of color. I further argue that while New

Abolitionism has popularized and advanced an alternative approach to whiteness which understands whiteness as ‘nothing but oppressive and false’ and seeks to ‘abolish the white race’, its ultimately class-centered conceptualization of race and idealization of militant nonconformity has failed to realize effective practice.

Part 3 considers alternative identities to whiteness, argues for a stronger race-centered definition of whiteness as a secular coalition of previously antagonistic european peoples forged on global frontiers for the purposes of dispossessing, exploiting, and killing people of color, advances a framework for understanding processes of ‘becoming white’ without ‘necessary correspondence to class’, and proposes an alternative approach to ‘abolishing the white race’ focused on its internal ‘ethnic fissures’ called intersectional, anti-white, Irish Diasporic nationalism.

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