Unveiling the Color Line
W. E. B. Du Bois on the Problem of Whiteness
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
In The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois brilliantly details the African American experience. Yet the renowned sociologist was also an astute chronicler of white people, particularly their racism. As Unveiling the Color Line demonstrates, Du Bois’s trenchant analysis of whiteness and white supremacy began in his earliest work—his 1890 speech on Jefferson Davis—and continued in every major book he published in his more than sixty-year career, up to The Black Flame Trilogy.
Lisa J. McLeod traces the development of Du Bois’s conception of whiteness, and the racism inherent to it, as an all-encompassing problem, whether predicated on ignorance, moral failure, or the inability to recognize the humanity in other people. In clear, elegant prose, McLeod investigates Du Bois’s complex and nuanced thinking, putting his insights into dialogue with contemporary racial theorists to demonstrate his continuing value to present-day critical thought and activism.
“The first book that systematically focuses on Du Bois’s evolving thinking about whiteness as a historical phenomenon, and political and moral issue, over the course of his career. A significant addition to Du Boisian literature.”—Eric Porter, author of The Problem of the Future World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Race Concept at Midcentury
“McLeod’s great achievement is excavating Du Bois’s views of whiteness and white supremacy and showing how these pivotal dynamics have negatively affected whites and Blacks globally, which will benefit both scholars and popular audiences.”—Aldon Morris, author of The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology