“White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race”
Matthew W. Hughey, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut
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. Dr. Matthew Hughey (Associate Professor, University of Connecticut) 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 related to how both groups make meaning of race and whiteness. His talk will examine these similarities to illuminate 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.
Matthew Hughey received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he served as a research fellow with the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies and held the position of Instructor for the Departments of Sociology, Media Studies, and African American Studies. He studies the relationship between the varied interpretations of racial meanings and the prevailing structures of racism and racial inequality, through: (1) white racial identity; (2) racialized organizations; (3) mass media racial representations; (4) public and political engagements with race, and; (5) advocacy and engagement with racism and discrimination. His scholarly articles have appeared in journals such as The ANNALS of the American Academy of Social and Political Science; American Behavioral Scientist; Social Problems; Social Psychology Quarterly; Symbolic Interaction; Journal of Contemporary Ethnography; The Sociological Quarterly; Contexts; Law & Social Inquiry; Du Bois Review; Ethnic and Racial Studies; Ethnicities and; Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.