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From Middle English whitenesse, whitnesse, whytnesse, hwitnesse, from Old English hwītnes (whiteness), equivalent to white +‎ -ness.


  • IPA(key): /ˈwaɪtnəs/, /ˈʍaɪtnəs/
  • (file)


whiteness (countable and uncountable, plural whitenesses)

  1. The state of being white (all senses).
  2. (sociology, dysphemistic) The collective of White/Europid people and their historical heritage.
    • 2009, Terrance MacMullan, Habits of Whiteness: A Pragmatist Reconstruction (page 182)
      A pragmatist critique of whiteness seeks a middle ground between eliminativism and essentialism; [] Du Bois explained why the habits of whiteness are so toxic: they encourage violence, undermine the formation and sustenance of community, put money before humanity, and leave white folk culturally undernourished and rootless.
    • 2013, Shelley M. Park, Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood (page 42)
      As a white body, I have not had to face my whiteness; insofar as the world is oriented around whiteness, I rarely have to turn my attention back onto myself, as do the black and brown bodies that are “stopped” or “held up” for being out of place []


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