Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts professor argues white supremacy is pervasive across U.S. culture
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) professor, Hannah Haynes, recently published “Deflective Whiteness: Co-opting Black and Latinx Identity Politics.” In the book, Haynes claims that only White people can be racist in the United States “because Whites have historically held the systemic power to shape hegemonic structures and institutions.”
The book unpacks what Haynes calls “White deflection,” defined as “a predictable two-step dialectic” involving, first, “calls of White victimhood,” and second, “the appropriation of racial justice rhetoric.”
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“White deflection offers a script for how the emotion of victimization is mobilized by Whites to evoke the appropriation of social justice rhetoric, discursively conjuring a hegemonic White identity. An expression of White identity politics, White deflection works in the support of systemic inequality and injustice through using derivative language that claims Whiteness as the aggrieved social status,” she elaborates.
Haynes also argues that “White supremacy is not only an attribute of fringe White nationalists with tiki torches,” but is additionally “a deliberate and carefully fabricated system of inequality that is pervasive across US culture.”
White deflection is designed to “maintain the status quo” to benefit Whites and, according to Haynes, “in some instances, to turn society back to a time before the multicultural and Civil Rights movements.”
The book also criticizes corporations for profiting off of DEI and activist marketing.
“While professing solidarity with the cause of antiracism, these corporations made the calculated capitalist decision to support racial justice while simultaneously building their images as equitable, nonracist brands,” Haynes writes.
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She concludes that “[t]he interplay between capitalism, consumption, politics, and convergent media must be further studied if we are to truly understand—and then be able to deconstruct—the ubiquitous nature of White supremacy laced in even the most ostensibly progressive of gestures.”
Haynes teaches multiple courses at MCLA, including “Youth Social Movements,” “Intro to Latinx Studies,” and “Communicating Across Cultures.” Her academic interests focus on “critical race theory, US immigration history, and Latinx studies.”
MCLA and Hannah Haynes were contacted by Campus Reform for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.
Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission.
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