other words, from an early age, a system of Whiteness can help us
define which bodies we value and which we do not based on
colorism, a system of valuing White bodies over non-Whites as a
chronic symptom of Western colonization. Another study found
that employers are more likely to contact employees whose names
sound White over those who appear to be more ethnic (Rachlinski
1197-1204). This research demonstrates not only that the system
of Whiteness values White skin tones over non-White but also that
other characteristics are associated with skin tones and valued
Kennedy argues that “White” is viewed as a neutral race
category and, therefore, the normalization of Whiteness shapes
how we view and understand non-White groups (359-402).
Individuals and groups are often evaluated by their ability to
assume and uphold the system. Blackness, for example, can be
understood as a bastardized deviation from Whiteness. Quite
often, Black bodies are characterized as hyper-masculine,
hypersexual, and less intelligent than their non-Black counterparts.
In the same doll study, students characterized Black dolls as
possessing poor behavior and lower intelligence. Whiteness serves
not only as a tool for accessing privilege but also as a standard for
defining and characterizing the value of Black individuals.
During the sixth season of Shameless, Carl is charged for
and ultimately convicted of drug possession with intent to sell after
failing to smuggle a sizeable amount of cocaine from Illinois to
Indiana. Until this point, Carl’s sole purpose for selling drugs is
capital gain. Unlike many other gang-affiliated members, Carl joins
primarily to meet his survival needs; the desire to sell drugs comes
at a time where he is experimenting with different capital ventures
to make money. After his conviction, he begins to reinvent himself
for the purpose of survival in prison. He braids his hair, wears
oversized clothing, and sports a bandana gifted to him from fellow
Previous Page Next Page