White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race
Discussions of race are inevitably fraught with tension, both in opinion and positioning. Too frequently, debates are framed as clear points of opposition—us versus them. And when considering white racial identity, a split between progressive movements and a neoconservative backlash is all too frequently assumed. Taken at face value, it would seem that whites are splintering into antagonistic groups, with differing worldviews, values, and ideological stances. White Bound investigates these dividing lines, questioning the very notion of a fracturing whiteness, and in so doing offers a unique view of white racial identity. Matthew Hughey spent over a year attending the meetings, reading the literature, and interviewing members of two white organizations—a white nationalist group and a white antiracist group. Though he found immediate political differences, he observed surprising similarities. Both groups make meaning of whiteness through a reliance on similar racist and reactionary stories and worldviews. On the whole, this book puts abstract beliefs and theoretical projection about the supposed fracturing of whiteness into relief against the realities of two groups never before directly compared with this much breadth and depth. By examining the similarities and differences between seemingly antithetical white groups, we see not just the many ways of being white, but how these actors make meaning of whiteness in ways that collectively reproduce both white identity and, ultimately, white supremacy.
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