A “historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of: [p]referential prejudice for and treatment of white people based solely on their skin color and/or ancestral origin from Europe; and exemption from racial and/or national oppression based on skin color and/or ancestral origin from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Arab world.”
The term is commonly attributed to Peggy McIntosh and her 1988 paper “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies,” although "discussions of white privilege, by that name, were in the air among civil rights era and post-’60s organizations." (61)(62)(63)(64)
Beliefs and ideas that exist on a spectrum purporting a natural superiority of lighter-skinned – or “white” – people over other racial groups. In contemporary usage, the term white supremacist has been used to describe groups promoting ultranationalist, racist, or fascist doctrines. White supremacist groups have often relied on violence to achieve their goals. (26)(73)
White Supremacy Culture
Characteristics of white supremacy that manifest in organizational culture and are used as norms and standards without being proactively named or chosen. These characteristics are damaging to both people of color and white people because they elevate the values, preferences, and experiences of one racial group above all others. Organizations that are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, or employ a majority of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color can also demonstrate characteristics of white supremacy culture.
Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun identified the following characteristics of white supremacy culture in organizations as: perfectionism, sense of urgency, defensiveness, quantity over quality, worship of the written word, paternalism, power hoarding, fear of open conflict, individualism, progress is bigger/more, objectivity, and the right to comfort. (73)(88)
The weaponization of emotions and crying by white people, most often women, through the conditioned trope of “feminine fragility” when they are confronted with a moment or act of racism. This attempts to re-enforce a white supremacist power structure in the encounter by re-centering the white person as the victim through their emotional distress instead of seeing them as an as instigator of racial harm. (74)(75)
When a corporation, institution, or individual says or does something that signals their advocacy for a social cause but also continues to cause harm to vulnerable communities. In this way, profit-driven companies prey on people’s social awareness by cashing in on their idealism via progressive-oriented, purpose-driven marketing campaigns while deflecting questions about their own ethics or taking accountability for their own wrongdoings. (76)(77)
26. White supremacy
77. WOKE WASHING
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The JJI Glossary defines terms that are necessary in discussing equity in the arts. This glossary is the result of countless hours of thoughtful research and innovation by our team.