Read White: Essays on Race and Culture by Richard Dyer Online


White people are not literally or symbolically white; nor are they uniquely virtuous and pure. Racial imagery and racial representation are central to the organisation of the contemporary world but, while there are many studies of images of black and Asian people, whiteness is an invisible racial position. At the level of racial representation, whites are not of a certainWhite people are not literally or symbolically white; nor are they uniquely virtuous and pure. Racial imagery and racial representation are central to the organisation of the contemporary world but, while there are many studies of images of black and Asian people, whiteness is an invisible racial position. At the level of racial representation, whites are not of a certain race. They are just the human race, a 'colour' against which other ethnicities are always examined.In White, Richard Dyer looks beyond the apparent unremarkability of whiteness and argues for the importance of analysing images of white people. Dyer traces the representation of whiteness by whites in Western visual culture, focusing on the mass media of photography, advertising, fine art, cinema and television.Dyer examines the representation of whiteness and the white body in the contexts of Christianity, 'race' and colonialism. In a series of absorbing case studies, he discusses the representations of whiteness in muscle-man action cinema, from Italian 'peplum' movies to the Tarzan and Rambo series; shows the construction of whiteness in photography and cinema in the lighting of white and black faces, and analyses the representation of white women in end-of-empire fictions such as The Jewel in the Crown, and traces the disturbing association of whiteness with death, in vampire narratives and dystopian films such as Blade Runner and the Aliens trilogy....

Title : White: Essays on Race and Culture
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780415095372
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

White: Essays on Race and Culture Reviews

  • Simone
    2019-01-20 04:02

    This book is a game changer. It's so amazing. The scope and breadth of his argument is staggering. If you aren't familiar with the book he breaks it down like this in the introduction: "But this then is why it is important to come to see whiteness. For those in power in the West, as long as whiteness is felt to be the human condition, then it alone both defines normality and fully inhabits it. As I suggested in my opening paragraphs, the equation of being white with being human secures a position of power. White people have power and believe that they think, feel and act like and for all people; white people, unable to see their particularity, cannot take account of other people's; white people create the dominant images of the world and don't quite see that they thus construct the world in their own image; white people set standards of humanity by which they are bound to succeed and others bound to fail. most of this is not done deliberately and maliciously; there are enormous variations of power amongst white people, to do with class, gender and other factors; goodwill is not unheard of in white people's engagement with others. White power none the less reproduces itself regardless of intention, power differences and goodwill, and overwhelmingly because it is not seen as whiteness, but as normal. White people need to learn to see themselves as white, to see their particularity. In other words, whiteness needs to be made strange."Anyway, this is a book of cultural theory, and he doesn't shy away from the big words and ideas at times, then again I also found it immensely readable. If you are interested in the media, or representations of race, and you haven't read this book (I hadn't - I knew it existed and I knew the argument, but I hadn't sat down and read it) I urge you to read through it.

  • Rachael
    2019-02-16 03:26

    Hey everybody who was in Engl 662 or 666 or whatever it was? Remember when the bookstore turned these books upside down? Yeah. That was funny. We all felt really odd buying them.That aside, this is a pretty good outline of "color" (in terms of gender/race issues) in text and film, although it misses a lot of important points and seems to focus more on photographs and lighting analysis than the theoretical implications. However, I think it's good as an overview text.

  • Christian Holub
    2019-01-27 08:29

    The definite highlight from the "Unsettling Whiteness" class I took this past spring. One of the keys to white supremacy is pretending that while categories like "black" and "Asian" have specific biological/psychological characteristics, whiteness is normalcy devoid of any intrinsic markers. This book will blow your mind with its analysis of the attributes of whiteness.

  • Amy
    2019-01-28 07:28

    Dyer examines the concept of "whiteness" through photography (and cameras essentially constructed to deal with lighter colored skin), film and TV (by concentrating on white hero/muscle/masculinity and white/feminine/purity/damsel or troublemaker, and the association with death).

  • Rosianna
    2019-02-17 08:04

    Fascinating and very visual look at the way white people have created images of whiteness across the ages. Should be required reading for all, I think.

  • Rowena
    2019-02-13 01:18

    Prof for my next course sent us the pdf of this book. Looks interesting.

  • Jasmine
    2019-02-02 02:06

    Dyer manages to talk about hugely serious issues in his collection of essays in a conversational style which makes me wonder why these aren't conversations had more readily. "White" is a series of essays dealing with whiteness and the unawareness that white people have around issues of race. I should point out at this point that I am a white female. "White" made me realise how everything is designed for the white race, from plasters to film lighting. I can't do the book justice, but I hope more people will read this 'academic' text and start having uncomfortable conversations.

  • Derek
    2019-02-12 07:23

    A critique of Dyer in the style of Dyer:The author's pretentious use of inaccessible vocabulary and refusal to pragmatically recognize the heteronormative local and global perception of race and race issues causes concomitant feelings of aesthetic displeasure and philosophical confusion on the part of the reader. Now in plain language: Barely readable. Even less understandable.

  • Ninja
    2019-01-25 06:06

    A must read - especially now in this unfortunate political climate.

  • Hannah Treasure
    2019-01-19 08:15

    Dyer attempts to separate race from class, gender, and sexuality in a way that just isn't possible. Even in his own experiences, Dyer seems to identify with racial minorities as a sort of outsider perspective parallel to his own sexuality; yet with his personal struggles it seems like throughout the essay he still yearns to be something other than white as almost an interesting addition to himself--presenting a clearly problematic view that disregards cultural narratives and history. His misconstrued admiration becomes particularly offensive when he discusses eroticism in the context of his "intrigue" toward non-white races, making remarks that remind me of comments made toward careers of African-American athletes Venus and Serena Williams where often their bodies are talked about in a pornographic or animalistic way which degrades and ignores their successes by being unable to look past their bodies and skin. It seems that Dyer looks in this section at whose ethnicity can enhance his own experience, which was just something so disturbing and left me distracted for the remainder of his writing. Ultimately Dyer does however, remind us why it's essential we continue to discuss race and why we cannot live under a false pretense of being in a post-racial society. As much as I did not like Dyer himself, he is able to articulate that silence of stories only lets society further reprimand power from its people.

  • Izetta Autumn
    2019-02-13 01:19

    If you are a student of cultural studies, visual culture or race in America, you MUST read this book. There are a few books that change your life, that you remember reading and everything clicks. This was it for me. The book is wonderful. Not only does Dyer write clearly and with ease about such a complicated topic, but he provides nearly indisputable examples of the ways Western culture privileges whiteness - not only the hue but also the skin color.Dyer deals with art, art history, and photography - even engaging the way that we think of and use light. Unlike many scholars in the whiteness field, Dyer does not reify privilege in his investigation of whiteness. In fact, from the outset Dyer says that he is illuminating the Western concept of whiteness in order to further its deconstruction - and calls other scholars out for attempting to relocate attention on whiteness studies in ways that don't ultimately work to end white supremacy.Loved it! Read it!

  • malic
    2019-02-12 06:27

    more than any other, this book inspired my Div III (aka senior thesis) at Hampshire, which was titled "The Rise of the White Heroine: Feminism and Racism at the Movies.""White" looks critically at the representation of whiteness in popular culture, historically and presently. Specifically it goes into representations in the moving image, particularly Hollywood movies, and spends a great deal of time on the development of Hollywood lighting. Dyer explains how film lights and film stock have been designed for white skinned actors, and lighting techniques have been conceived to make white women glow and white men slightly darker and more muscular than their female counterparts. Then he goes into cultural meanings of whiteness, glow, and muscles. wow, I should really reread this book now that i am making moving images again, and lighting for film and instructing students in lighting for film.

  • Wess
    2019-01-24 01:16

    This isn't a book about racism, and it isn't a book about race, really. It truly is a book about "white," what white means, and what things in our culture create, maintain and privilege the things, symbols and people that count as white. REALLY interesting perspective. My favorite part was reading about the photography/film industry and how that history has affected the way we see light, brightness, and whiteness. Sometimes the book is painfully abstract but other times it's completely relatable. Definitely recommend it if you're looking for something truly chewy!

  • Mari Säisä
    2019-01-27 06:23

    Ooh I want to feel ashamed that I am white and privileged. Still new approaches to spot these falsities in the world. Swartzenegger is so wrong being superior as Conan the Barbarian. I wonder is this 13 years ago published book out dated or what additions could make. For example why in many cultures paler the better, expect in Western where tanned body means leisure. This is just like when reading feminist books. Time to start spotting injustice!

  • Fleur
    2019-02-13 08:17

    I really liked the first two chapters that theorised whiteness and put it in a broader contextual analysis. The third chapter was interesting, but oh sooooo long. And he lost me with the last three chapters that were too narrow in their focus for me, limited to a specific case study that didn't particularly interest me and could have been more refined/in depth

  • Alyx
    2019-01-24 00:21

    This is media studies done right. Not only does Dyer consider race representations in film and media, but he also goes so far as to interrogate the racist aspects at work in the mechanics of film and photographic technology in capturing light and filming subjects -- he also even goes so far as to consider positive examples and solutions. One of my all-time faves.

  • Ashley
    2019-02-15 05:24

    I started to read this book while I was in England. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book because I had to come back from my study abroad too quickly and I was having too much fun! In the first couple of chapters I was totally taken. This book does an amazing job at deconstructing the construction of whiteness.

  • Reginald Simms
    2019-02-05 07:18

    The author writes on ways whiteness is imbued in film and television as an expression of cultural norms. Those expressions being racialized, religious, heteronormative, homophobic, and patriarchal but always centered around whiteness. Whiteness as superior, whiteness as universal, whiteness as invisible, whiteness as charitable, whiteness as godly,even whiteness as death etc.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-18 00:03

    I love Dyer's style, and I love how he incorporates so many different sources into his books - films, photographs, visual art, pop culture, literature, history, and more. This is another book that really earns the descriptions "challenging" and "thought-provoking."

  • Makini
    2019-02-17 08:00

    The first few chapters were excellent because it spoke about "whiteness" broadly, then it became very specific to film and art, which is fine for a particular audience. I knew that prior to getting the book so I'm not rating it based upon the narrow topic.

  • Chuck Williamson
    2019-01-20 07:28

    Sometimes I just want to give Richard Dyer a big, sloppy kiss.

  • Jane
    2019-02-11 02:02

    Smart and accessibly written. Many of these chapters would teach well. I don't think there's a terribly original or deep argument here, but it's a sound, well-written book on an important topic.

  • Rekha
    2019-02-02 00:16

    A great combination of media theory and Whiteness studies. Especially hones in on the aesthetics of Whiteness as an ideal idea.

  • Mika
    2019-02-05 04:06

    I luv this dude! <3 <3