“I had Missionary Grandparents for Christ’s Sakes!”: White Women in Transracial/Cultural Families Bearing Witness to Whiteness

Willow Samara Allen

Abstract


White women have occupied a distinct position in histories of White supremacy. With the rise of White supremacist discourses in this current epoch, I posit now is a critical time to examine how White women can bear witness to their Whiteness and to ask what role they want to play in creating a more equitable future. I take up these considerations by drawing on interview data from a qualitative study of ten White women in transracial/cultural families with Black African partners to analyze how the participants conceptualize their Whiteness and how they can make connections between their subjectivities and histories of colonialism. The women’s articulations reveal that through new relational and spatial experiences across multiple forms of difference, White women can develop a changing relationship to Whiteness and what it represents in neocolonial spaces on the African continent, the Canadian settler colonial context, and within their own familial histories and relationships. Findings suggest that for White women to witness the historical weight of their Whiteness, forming linkages between their lives and broader political, economic, and social conditions of inequity is necessary. I argue White women need to create spaces of critical engagement, such as the spaces created in the study, where they can begin to imagine themselves as different racialized subjects.

Keywords


White women; Whiteness; White supremacy; multiracial families; racism; colonialism

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References


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