World Day of Social Justice, 20.2.19
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The discourse on ‘whiteness’ at first glance seems like an extremely academic and niche discussion. In public discourse, the term ‘whiteness’ usually prompts bewildered questions such as “why do you blame all White people?”, “why are you being racist?” and “what about Black people…?” And for a critical race scholar debating with a lay person it can be quite a challenge to get across that ‘whiteness’ as a term is not really about White people, per se but about a system of cultural governance and societal ordering that has historically evolved from the medieval clash of political dominance between Dar al Islam and Christendom, the early Valladolid debates about the human rights of colonised Amerindians and (mature) colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade (amongst others). Without a widely acknowledged and popular shorthand that resonates with the general public, all of the ethical issues associated with these landmark events that are essentially concerned with shaping the Western identity, are hard for a lay person to get to grips with.
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