chapter  4
Whiteness as contingent hierarchies
Pages 17

It has been argued so far that whiteness has been conceptualised in a number of ways. Primarily we have looked at the intersection of whiteness and its Others, the racialised identities created by white world’s military, commercial and ideological domination of the globe since the sixteenth century. Yet at the beginning of the book I suggested that the way in which whiteness served to reproduce social hierarchies was not simply along this border, but also by creating and maintaining internal borders between the more and the less white. Immediate examples here include Southern, Central and Eastern European immigrant groups, Jews, Gypsy-Travellers/Roma, as well as the numerous divisions based on class, gender, sexuality, region, etc., identified in the literature on America and Britain (Hartigan 2005, Nayak 2003, Daniels 1997). There may well be trepidation about the extent to which we are encroaching on other areas of work. We already have concepts like anti-semitism, sexism and homophobia. Class divisions are already covered in other literatures. Considering that European migrants are white anyway, how is this to do with ‘race’? Isn’t it ethnicity, another area abundantly, if not excessively, analysed already? I do not want to be proscriptive. There are plenty of perspectives that can bring fruitful analyses to bear on these identities and social hierarchies, and using the whiteness problematic is one of them.