Whiteness on the Border
Mapping the US Racial Imagination in Brown and White
Published by: NYU Press
The many lenses of racism through which the white imagination sees Mexicans and Chicanos
Historically, ideas of whiteness and Americanness have been built on the backs of racialized communities. The legacy of anti-Mexican stereotypes stretches back to the early nineteenth century when Anglo-American settlers first came into regular contact with Mexico and Mexicans. The images of the Mexican Other as lawless, exotic, or non-industrious continue to circulate today within US popular and political culture. Through keen analysis of music, film, literature, and US politics, Whiteness on the Border demonstrates how contemporary representations of Mexicans and Chicano/as are pushed further to foster the idea of whiteness as Americanness.
Illustrating how the ideologies, stories, and images of racial hierarchy align with and support those of fervent US nationalism, Lee Bebout maps the relationship between whiteness and American exceptionalism. He examines how renderings of the Mexican Other have expressed white fear, and formed a besieged solidarity in anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. Moreover, Whiteness on the Border elucidates how seemingly positive representations of Mexico and Chicano/as are actually used to reinforce investments in white American goodness and obscure systems of racial inequality. Whiteness on the Border pushes readers to consider how the racial logic of the past continues to thrive in the present.
"With wit, passion, rigor,Whiteness on the Borderbreaks down the logic of white supremacy. Innovative and dynamic, Lee Bebouts critical study drops onto the world at a key moment. We are living through a backlash against multiculturalism and against the civil rights movement. Something has changed; something has turned, and Bebouts timely study helps us to chart the depth of this bracing cultural metastasis." ~William Anthony Nericcio,author of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of “Mexicans” in America
"Whiteness on the Borderexplores the vexed ways in which white identity in the U.S. has historically been forged in opposition to a Mexican & other. Displaying mastery of the intellectual traditions of critical whiteness studies and Chicana/o studies, LeeBeboutdraws deftly on complicated concepts to show that while there is always racism, there is never only a singular homogenous racism, but instead many differentiated and tactically deployed racisms. Brimming with exceptional critical acumen,Whiteness on the Borderwill be a book of significant impact and influence." ~George Lipsitz,author of How Racism Takes Place
"Bebout draws together the insights of critical whiteness studies and Chicana/o studies to show how whiteness has been made and remade through the construction and policing of a material and imagined brown/white racial border." ~Critical Inquiry
"Balancing between personal reflections, an impressive grasp of diverse cultural theory, and at times mellifluent prose, Whiteness on the Border is essential reading for anti-racism activists and critical race scholars. Bebout’s clear use and definition of complicated terms and social practices makes this book accessible to an advanced undergraduate and graduate audience; I plan on assigning it in my US Racial Theory class in the fall." ~Journal of American Ethnic History
"Bebout makesWhiteness on the Bordera compelling read by weaving his own experiences as a white person into his analysis; his anecdotes remind us that even in nonborder spaces like Chicago in the 1970s, ideas about Mexicanness circulate, reverberate, and solidify ideas about whiteness." ~ALH Online Review
"Bebouts book forms an impressive contribution to scholarship in this field." ~U.S. Studies Online