chapter  9
16 Pages

“White is Right”

The Utilization of an Improper Ontological Perspective in Analyses of Black Experiences
ByH. Alexander Welcome

This chapter examines some instances where whiteness has been employed as an ontological frame of reference in analyses of black experiences. W. E. B. Dubois stated, the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. The utilization of whiteness to determine and/or evaluate blackness begins when whiteness and white life histories come to represent what is "right." "White is right" is a sarcastic phrase that was an extremely popular slur during the Black Power movement in the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. The actual source of the dominance of the "white is right" perspective lies in the dynamics of power. Michel Foucault's theoretical lens supports the hypothesis that the privileging of white experiences and the use of these experiences as an ontological framework for the analyses of black experiences is an effect of power imbalances.