The Machinery of Whiteness
Studies in the Structure of Racialization
An extensive critique of the structures of whiteness and how they produce racism in the United StatesRead the Introduction (pdf).
In this follow up to his book, The Rule of Racialization—which considered the way class structure is formed in the U.S.—Steve Martinot now examines how the structures of racialization reside at the core of all social, cultural, and political institutions in the U.S. In The Machinery of Whiteness, Martinot examines how race and racism are produced in the United States, analyzing the politics of racialization, and the preponderance of racial segregation and racial deprivation that have kept the U.S. a white dominated society throughout its history. Martinot dedicates this work to expunging white supremacy from the earth.
The Machinery of Whiteness investigates how "whiteness" came to be as foundational to the process that then produced the modern concept of race. Martinot addresses the instrumentalization of women as a necessary step in its formation, furthering the debates regarding the relationships of race and gender. And he addresses U.S. international interventionism, the anti-immigrant movements, and white racist populism to describe the political forms that white supremacy takes.
Martinot puts these together to analyze the underlying cultural structures of racialization that have driven and conditioned the resurgence of white supremacy and white entitlement in the wake of the Civil Rights movements. This book is a call to transform the cultural structures of the U.S. to make justice and democracy-- which depend on inclusion and not segregation-- possible.
"The Machinery of Whiteness is extremely interesting and engaging. Martinot's use of historical examples to support and accentuate the structure of racialization is illuminating. His explication of the disenfranchisement of blacks after the Civil War is excellent, as is his introduction of the concept of a para-political state. Martinot's book advances the literature by synthesizing the history of the development of the black-white divide and a racialized structure."
—Douglas George, University of Central Arkansas
"(T)he book is unflinching in tracing the reconstitution of whiteness throughout history. Martinot is at his best when he is examining the way a white identity has been continually reconstituted through domination in the United States: the symbolic function of fugitive slave patrols and anti-miscegenation laws, the way women's bodies and sexuality were 'weaponized' as instruments of whiteness, and the ways that U.S. foreign intervention has been about shoring up a fragile whiteness at home....(T)he book does an excellent job in looking at the jagged and bloody edges of whiteness."
"Martinot makes an excellent case for how our refusal to look at America's race machine allows for people's lives to be destroyed over and over again despite social advances such as an end to Jim Crow and progressive civil rights legislation."
—The Monthly Review
"Steve Martinot’s book...makes a compelling case that racism is a necessary, unavoidable, outcome of the construction of whiteness as a standard of socialization (individual development within society) and as an identity....the author’s argument, is a compelling feature of this book."
—Socialism and Democracy
"Steve Martinot's new book is a fascinating, if depressing, study of the way that what he calls the processes of racialization are deeply embedded in U.S. history as the result of the imperialist project by European settlers that established the country, its legal structure, and culture. Every U.S. feminist theorist needs to read and ponder his analysis for a fuller understanding of the particularly intractable nature of U.S. white supremacy and its implications for feminist activism.... (H)is political conclusion seems right on the mark, making this book a valuable contribution."
"Steve Martinot's collection of studies provides a historically grounded and theoretically vigorous update worthy of the tradition that takes seriously the ongoing effects of racism and racialization.... Martinot's work is scholarly and critical, bringing forward a tradition of carefully cited research while contributing valuable new terms and methods of analysis. Due to this book's timely arrival, it will be difficult to sustain a naive belief in the emergence of a post-racial America. From deep within the demands of whiteness, as an identity rooted in paranoia, to the most extensive reach of white supremacy's ideologies of global interventionism, Martinot offers not only new terms for understanding the machinery of whiteness but also fresh programmes for advancing human autonomy."
—Patterns of Prejudice
Table of Contents
1 Motherhood and the Invention of Race
2 The Racialized State
3 A Structural Concept of Race
4 The Political Culture of Whiteness
5 The Boundaries of the United States and Immigration
6 The Dual-State Character of the United States
7 The Structures of Racialization