The heart of whiteness

The heart of whiteness

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In this groundbreaking study, Julian Carter demonstrates that between 1880 and 1940, cultural discourses of whiteness and heterosexuality fused to form a new concept of the qnormalq American. Gilded Age elites defined white civilization as the triumphant achievement of exceptional people hewing to a relational ethic of strict self-discipline for the common good. During the early twentieth century, that racial and relational ideal was reconceived in more inclusive terms as qnormality, q something toward which everyone should strive. The appearance of inclusiveness helped make qnormalityq appear consistent with the self-image of a racially diverse republic; nonetheless, qnormalityq was gauged largely in terms of adherence to erotic and emotional conventions that gained cultural significance through their association with arguments for the legitimacy of white political and social dominance. At the same time, the affectionate, reproductive heterosexuality of qnormalq married couples became increasingly central to legitimate membership in the nation.Carter builds her intricate argument from detailed readings of an array of popular texts, focusing on how sex education for children and marital advice for adults provided significant venues for the dissemination of the new ideal of normality. She concludes that because its overt concerns were love, marriage, and babies, normality discourse facilitated white evasiveness about racial inequality. The ostensible focus of qnormalityq on matters of sexuality provided a superficially race-neutral conceptual structure that whites could and did use to evade engagement with the unequal relations of power that continue to shape American life today.normal sexuality and race in America, 1880-1940 Julian B. Carter ... cultivating the erotics of sexual difference in marriage represented the triumph of white civilization over its own threatened failure. ... else, hence the legitimate owners and leaders of white civilization, marriage manuals summoned aquot;one and allaquot; to the task ofanbsp;...

Title:The heart of whiteness
Author: Julian B. Carter
Publisher:Duke Univ Pr - 2007

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