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Responding to the ever growing conversations surrounding racism, this essay argues for an examination of white people in the interest of further explicating the systemic hesitation surrounding the earnest confrontation of white supremacy. I do so by firstly diagnosing whiteness as an identity that is burdened by the sociopolitical responsibility of confronting the institutional legacy of white supremacy and redressing its material costs and practical harms against people of color. I continue this line of reasoning to argue that, although these infrastructural mechanisms have largely been vacated out of the legal and moral frameworks of society, that white supremacy has persisted amid the ephemeral dynamics of the contemporary, and because of this, continue to inspire tactics that comfortably situate white people alongside the anxiety of such a burden of whiteness. Only then do I call to question the antiracist vulgate in an attempt to understand the relative social and political danger that inhibits white people’s focused and sincere engagement in matters of racial equity and justice. As a result, I argue that, in order to holistically address the problem of racism, that those dedicated to its dismantling must consider the emotional positions of white people, and to address the relative danger they face within the unforgiving retaliatory system of antiracism. In this way, I suggest that to truly confront the obstacles impeding white people from dutifully mobilizing against racism, that the emotional and psychological barriers inspired by this ephemeral racism must be sincerely and compassionately engaged with.
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Costa, Adrian S., "The Burden of Whiteness & The Misery of Antiracism, or How I Learned To Care About White People" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 243.
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