George Yancy: Removing the Mask of Whiteness

Date and Time: February 17, 2017 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Location: Memorial Union, Pima Auditorium 230, Tempe campus
Campus: Tempe campus
Price: Free

George Yancy, professor of philosophy at Emory University and editor of the Philosophy of Race series for Lexington Books, gives the first of two keynotes at ASU's Speaking the Unspeakable Conference.In "Removing the Mask of Whiteness," Yancy argues that whiteness is a site of fragility. It is also a site that has a binary structure. In other words, the logic of whiteness needs the other, the Black, the wretched, the damned. So, whiteness has a parasitic relational structure. If this is so, Black people will function as a site of pain and suffering, the sub-persons, the ontologically needed and yet paradoxically discarded and disposable. Hence, Yancy contends that what is necessary is what Baldwin calls a loss of white identity. Yancy argues that to go down this path, whites must be vulnerable, which means that whites must be prepared to face the structural emptiness of whiteness and begin to undo their complicity with white power and white privilege. Here Yancy pulls from his work regarding white opacity and white un-suturing. At the end of the day, we need to envision what it would look like for whites to live in a state of rage against white power and white privilege and begin to create conditions for this rage.Attendance at the conference and keynotes is free of charge and open to the public, but registration is required. The conference is supported by ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences humanities and social sciences divisions, along with the college's Department of English, School of Transborder Studies, School of Social Transformation, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, and School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies with its program in American Studies.

Department: Department of English
Contact: Lee Bebout