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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Loving Whiteness to Death: Sadomasochism, Emotionality, and the Possibility of Humanizing Love

  • Author(s): Matias, Cheryl E.
  • Allen, Ricky Lee
  • et al.

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Although scholars have articulated how whites institutionally, economically, and socially invest in their whiteness, they have paid little attention to white emotionality. By explicating a critical, more humanizing theory of love that accounts for the painful process of sharing in the burden of creating humanity, this psychoanalytic theoretical essay illustrates how the norms and values of white emotionality are premised on a sadomasochistic notion of love. Finally, the authors re-imagine a different set of norms and values through a critical humanizing pedagogy of love, one that can only be realized when whites learn to “love whiteness to death.” That is, whites need to find not just the political will but also the emotional strength (i.e., vulnerability) necessary to eliminate the white race as a sociopolitical form of human organization and free themselves and others from the shackles of the institution of race.

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