“White Privilege and the Color of Fear.” Chapter in Lessons from The Color of Fear.

In Victor Lee Lewis & Hugh Vasquez (eds.), Lessons from The Color of Fear Field Reports. Using the Color of Fear in the Classroom. Speak Out - The Institute for Democratic Education and Cultural (2008)
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Chapter: WHITE PRIVILEGE AND THE COLOR OF FEAR This chapter focuses on the role that power, innocence and ignorance play in maintaining the position of white privilege. There are times when white people use their privilege in ways that overtly attempt to put and keep people of color in their places, but more often white privilege is less obvious. White privilege does not stand out in white peoples’ behavior at all times. When white behavior is normalized, it is masked. At these times, white privilege and power hide behind the masks of innocence and the masks of ignorance. White people can mask from themselves and others their location with relations to power. In the film, The Color of Fear, David C. hides his power. As he hides his power, he keeps his privilege invisible, that is, behind a mask. In this chapter, we focus on the masking and unmasking of innocence and ignorance to get a better look at how the process of normalization of these masks makes whiteness powerful and consequently hides white privilege. The logic of power and privilege is reflected in the following relationship: innocence + ignorance = Invisibility (of White Privilege)

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Jamie P. Ross
Portland State University


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