NOTES: the following notes on this article contains sections of the paper the author deems to be important. It is not intended to infringe upon any copyright laws. It is simply meant to highlight the important sections of the paper.
The capter considers the implicatons of a particular group of people being categorized by means of the colour white -to apply the colour white to white people is to ascribe a visible property to a group that thrives also on invisibility -the fact that “we” are called and call “ourselves” white suggests the centrality of notions of colour to white representation THE COLOURLESS SOURCES OF RACIAL COLOUR -A person is deemed white not only on their flesh tones but also by the shape of the nose, eyes and lips, the colour and set o f hair, body shape…. -ie.
It is generally the shape of the eyes that is critical in deciding whether someone is “white” or “yellow” -Jews were perceived as black in the 19thC and before because certain features (nose) were seen as being like African -non-colour factors are also used by non-european art to identify europeans (pointy nose and round eyes) -White people’s hair and eyes (unlike their skin) come in a variety of colours -the author once heard that hair and eye colour variations was used to argue for the greater diversity of white people< — they can be used to show that some white ppl are demonstrably whiter than others COLOUR, VISIBILITY, INVISIBILITY.
-in a visual culture (culture that gives a primacy to the visible as a source of knowledge, control and contact with the world ), social groups must be visibly recognisable and represented, as it is a major currency of communication and power -being visible as white grants one privileges -White also does not need to be visible; it is shown through the how the white people’s way of life have perpetrated and dominated other culture’s way of life.
-also, POV in films (which shows you what the character sees but not the character) is more commonly shot through the eyes of a white male character scrutinising, appraising and savouring black and/or female characters than vice versa -because white ppl see themselves as white, they characteristically see themselves and believe themselves to be unmarked, unspecific UNIVERSAL.
SENSE OF COLOUR -3 senses of whiteness as colour: hue, skin, symbolic connotations HUE -white as a hue is an unstable category in 2 ways 1) there are many types of whites 2) white is different from other hues in that it is not necessarily thought of as a hue at all (oxford dictionary 1933 defines white as ‘colourless’).
-though white is not deemed as a colour, in painting it is treated like one Leonardo da Vinci: white and black though not acknowledge as colours are very much necessary Roland Rood: white is a colour but because it is the colour of light and we see light all the time, we don’t see its colour; air has no ocour and water no taste only because the stimulation is ever -present -the idea of whiteness as neutrality suggests its usefulness for designating a social group that is to be taken for the “ordin ary human”.
-white is only a colour when it is compared to other colours -this way of conceptualising white as a hue, aparently the most objective aspect of colour , provides a habit of perception th at informs how we think and feel about its other aspects -unlike other colours, white has an opposite: black; dualistic thought SKIN -there are many types of white people -White people are who white people say are white; this has a controlling effect -much of the history of Western make-up is a history of whitening the face (ie.Greeks using white lead to whiten skin but gave them cancer as well) -.
Painters and photographers have often rendered white people entirely or in large part literally white -just as there is a history of white ppl trying to be whiter, there is also a history of white people trying to be darker thro ugh tanning -tanning’s association for white people is with healthiness, leisure , and having money -the point about tanning is that the white person never does become black; there is no loss of prestige as eventually the tan will fade FEM2013 Diversity of women Page 1 will fade.
-it also displays white person’s right to be various, literally to incorporate themselves features of other people -if black people tried to lighten their skin, it is not positively perceived -a black person who uses lighteners doesn’t succeed in becoming white, the failure of which is a source of ridicule (ie. Micha el Jackson) -for some, white face is able to express more colour alterations and is thus precieved as having more dynamism, flexibility an d the capacity to change vs. black which as Thomas jefferson says, is like an “immouvable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other face”
-Charles Locke Eastlake: the white skin is more beautiful than the black, because it is more capable of indications of life an d indications of emotion -white as a description is not always used on people with white skin but rather on their status (ie, Portuguese are called whi te because they are not slaves) or (Nazi Germany giving Japanese honorary white status).
-white and the notion of white can be used to create a coalition, with a border and an internal hierarchy ; whiteness determines who is excluded and who is included; some people (ie irish) at a given time is determined to be more white an another time -there is a sharp polarity between white and black, yet only Caucasians and Negroes have comfortably fit into these polarities Thus, everyone try to be more white as the whiter you are, the more privileges in life you’ll have -who counts as white and who doesn’t is worth fighting over -During the movement for Irish Liberation, British represented the Irish as black, comparing them to chimps and gorillas -In other circulstances.
The Irish in the USA is seen as white when compared to Native Americans -the same can be said about the Jews, although Jews tend to vary in appearance and colour; In Nazi Germany, they were black, in modern USA they are white -the instability of white as skin colour is not only a means for policing who at any given time is going to be included/exclud ed, but also to differentiate with in it -in representation, white men are darker than white women.
-whiteness may also be hue differentiated according to class (working class whites are darker than aristocrat whites) -colour distinctions within whiteness made in relations to labour; to be seen as darker is to be seen as poorer and more inferior -lower-class women may be darker than upper class men; to be a lady is as white is it gets -white as a skin colour is just as unstable as white as a hue, and herein lies its strength SYMBOL.
-the most familiar form of symbolic connotation is white=good black=bad White is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “morally and spiritually pure” -moral symbolism is used to differentiate between characters who belong to the same social skin group (ie. Cinderella is fair and golden-haired whereas her sisters are dark-haired) -this even works with non-white people (ie, between two North American tribes in a movie, the good tribe is lighter skinned) -white is beautiful and striving whereas black is plain, placid.
Grounded and unadventurous -in the film Desert Hearts, the straight and traditionally moral Vivian is pale and fair withere as promiscuous and lesbian Ca y is dark -white as a symbol, especially when paired with black, seems more stable than white as a hue or skin tone -in language, the use of white is also apparent in that it has symbolic meanings (ie. Little white lie and black mark) SLIPPAGES 1.
You cannot cause a person with black skin to acquire white skin (epidermal fact) However, colour clearly refers to the having of virtue of another race -in theory, a black person can represent virtue but they cannot be made good (symbolically white) or fair (hue white)???? -a white person who is bad is failing to be “white” whereas a black person who is good is a surprise, and one who is bad merely fulfils expectations.