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Temple University Press
The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics / Edition 1

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics / Edition 1

by George LipsitzGeorge Lipsitz
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George Lipsitz’s classic book The Possessive Investment in Whiteness argues that public policy and private prejudice work together to create a possessive investment in whiteness that is responsible for the racialized hierarchies of our society. Whiteness has a cash value: it accounts for advantages that come to individuals through profits made from housing secured in discriminatory markets, through the unequal educational opportunities available to children of different races, through insider networks that channel employment opportunities to the friends and relatives of those who have profited most from past and present discrimination, and especially through intergenerational transfers of inherited wealth that pass on the spoils of discrimination to succeeding generations. White Americans are encouraged to invest in whiteness, to remain true to an identity that provides them with structured advantages.

In this twentieth anniversary edition, Lipsitz provides a new introduction and updated statistics; as well as analyses of the enduring importance of Hurricane Katrina; the nature of anti-immigrant mobilizations; police assaults on Black women, the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray; the legacy of Obama and the emergence of Trump; the Charleston Massacre and other hate crimes; and the ways in which white fear, white fragility, and white failure have become drivers of a new ethno-nationalism. 

As vital as it was upon its original publication, the twentieth anniversary edition of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness is an unflinching but necessary look at white supremacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592134946
Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Edition description: Revised and Expanded Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 487,097
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His previous books include How Racism Takes Place and A Life in the Struggle: Ivory Perry and the Culture of Opposition (both Temple). Lipsitz serves as Chair of the boards of Directors of the African American Policy Forum and of the Woodstock Institute and is senior editor of the comparative and relational ethnic studies journal KALFOU.

Table of Contents

Preface: Bill Moore's Body vii

Introduction to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Changing Same xxi

1 The Possessive Investment in Whiteness 1

2 Law and Order: Civil Rights Laws and White Privilege 24

3 Immigrant Labor and Identity Politics 55

4 Whiteness and War 78

5 How Whiteness Works: Inheritance, Wealth, and Health 111

6 White Fragility, White Failure, White Fear 119

7 A Pigment of the Imagination 147

8 White Desire: Remembering Robert Johnson 161

9 Lean on Me: Beyond Identity Politics 181

10 Finding Families of Resemblance: "Frantic to Join … the Japanese Army" 199

11 California: The Mississippi of the 1990s 224

12 Change the Focus and Reverse the Hypnosis: Learning from New Orleans 246

13 White Lives, White Lies 260

Notes 285

Acknowledgments 337

Index 341

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