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v2.1 Reference

Habits of Whiteness, second edition

A Pragmatist Reconstruction

Habits of Whiteness: A Pragmatist Reconstruction, second edition, offers a revised and updated look at the concept of whiteness in the United States. Lauded when it was first published and even more relevant today, Habits of Whiteness offers a distinctive way to talk about race and racism by focusing on racial habits and how to change them.

Author Terrance MacMullan examines how the concept of racial whiteness has undermined attempts to create a truly democratic society in the United States. By getting to the core of the racism that lives on in unrecognized habits, MacMullan argues that it is possible for white people to recognize the distance between their color-blind ideals and their actual behavior.

Revitalizing the work of W. E. B. Du Bois and John Dewey, MacMullan demonstrates how it is possible to reconstruct racial habits and close fissures between people. This second edition of Habits of Whiteness also contains a new introduction, which looks closely at race relations during the Obama and Trump presidencies, including such recent challenges as police brutality in 2020, white supremacy, and the Capitol insurrection. Its persuasive analysis of the impulses of whiteness ultimately reorganizes them into something more compatible with our country's increasingly multicultural heritage.

About the Author

Terrance MacMullan is Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Washington University. He is co-editor of Revealing Male Bodies.


"MacMullan takes responsibility for his habits and investments in whiteness as an encouraging example . . . delicate, but courageous."—Lucius T. Outlaw, author of On Race and Philosophy

"One of the clearest statements of why Dewey and Du Bois are both committed to the pragmatist project of human brotherhood."—Bill E. Lawson, co-editor of Pragmatism and the Problem of Race.

"Now more than ever, careful examination and reconstruction of habits of whiteness are needed, not only in the United States but also in other white dominated nations. Drawing on DuBois and Dewey, MacMullan skillfully engages in that process. Habits of Whiteness prompts readers of all races to confront both the problem of whiteness and the question of what transformed habits of whiteness might look like."—Shannon Sullivan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

"There may be no more urgent task in contemporary political life than the one this book takes up. The ways of whiteness infect every aspect of US politics and, thanks to the outsize importance of the US in world affairs, also complicate efforts to tackle the world's great challenges. Professor MacMullan's call to reconstruct whiteness – a call now renewed for a world apparently determined to weaponize the worst white habits – provides welcome guidance and encouragement in these challenging times."—Paul C. Taylor, Vanderbilt University

"This excellent work by philosopher Terrance MacMullan fills a gap between antiracists who view racism as ubiquitous, and others who deny the prevalence of bigotry based on race today. By focusing on habits, MacMullan provides persons racialized as white a way to understand race as an object of inquiry as opposed to being subject to its deleterious effects, unconsciously. MacMullan's greatest contribution may be his transformation of negative habits of whiteness into practices of the mind, heart, and soul that can move our nation closer to the realization of our democratic ideals."—Greg Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of the Jazz Leadership Project

"In his autobiography, Malcolm X issued a challenge to 'well-meaning' whites to work within their own communities to solve the problem of racism. A growing body of scholarship by white theorists on white privilege reflects an effort to do just this. In Habits of Whiteness, MacMullan (Eastern Washington Univ.) brings a fresh perspective to this ongoing discussion. In seeking to answer the question of why racism lingers in a society where the vast majority of whites profess a belief in the equality of all races, MacMullan employs John Dewey's pragmatic model to identify racism as a habit. As such, it is a 'pre-reflective cognitive or behavioral practice'—natural and invisible. The work of Du Bois, whom MacMullan considers a pragmatist, provides the basis for his substantive critique of white racism. MacMullan's aim, however, is not merely to identify the nature of the problem, but to offer hope of a resolution. Dewey's interactionist model of knowledge allows MacMullan to posit a reconstruction of the habits of whiteness, replacing them with positive contributions to the world—unique 'cultural gifts' identified by Du Bois as possessed by each race, including whites. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above."—Choice, reviewing a previous edition or volume
Indiana University Press
American Philosophy
second edition

9780253059826 : habits-of-whiteness-2nd-edition-macmullan
Paperback / softback
288 Pages
$30.00 USD

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