According to the 2010 Census, 77% of Americans identify as “white.” Despite this fact, white Americans generally think of “race” as primarily pertaining to racial and ethnic minorities. By surveying and interviewing white participants from three parts of the country, Facing Whiteness explores the ways that a diverse group of white Americans understand their own racial and ethnic identities. A collaboration with filmmaker Whitney Dow, this interdisciplinary project between the social sciences and humanities seeks to engage in an open discussion about whiteness in America, motivated by the idea that "not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" (James Baldwin).
We have chosen three field sites to undertake this work and have conducted a mix of ethnographic observation, surveys and interviews with more than 850 participants. The sites are Battle Creek, Michigan; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Richmond, Virginia.
To learn more, visit the Facing Whiteness website: https://www.facingwhiteness.incite.columbia.edu