Frangible and plastic

Whiteness is a weird thing to get a hold of.  I keep finding myself talking about it in two different ways.  On the one hand, it is a profoundly plastic identity, in that the standard of social power and prestige involved shifts constantly as different groups approach it.  On the other hand, it is a profoundly frangible identity, in that when you try to grab hold of it as a thing, it instantly shatters into a million other, officially non-white, things.  I think the distinction can be made this way: whiteness as an identity is frangible, because it is not actually an identity; whiteness as a position is plastic, because it keeps moving as the landscape of social power changes.


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