ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the experiences and stories of white people from a small farming community in northern Wisconsin. It examines how white people learn to be 'white' and reveals how white racial identity is dependent on people of color—even in situations where white people have little or no contact with racial others. The chapter focuses on Delores's stories to explore white people's fear of people of color. White fear has usually been understood in terms of white people's response to a threatening, stereotyped racial 'other'—in other words, white people create a scary stereotype that then is feared by white people. Fear, a fragmented and conflicted self—not exactly happy results of a civil rights struggle meant to secure, finally, in real life, America's sacred principle that all people are created equal. Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is similarly skeptical about what white people learned from the civil rights era.