Skip to main content

Why does race still matter?

George Yancy explores some of the white racist vitriol that he received after writing "Dear White America," which he characterizes as a letter of love that he wrote for The New York Times' philosophy column, "The Stone." He argues that white readers failed to become what he calls "un-sutured," which is a certain embodied and psychological form of undergoing vulnerability and openness. Hence, Yancy argues that whiteness is a form of suturing, which implies an embodied and psychological form of remaining untouched by racialized voices that exist "outside" of one's monochromatic racial white formation. Yancy argues that love, which he sees as a form of unmasking, will be necessary to encourage white forms of un-suturing and unmasking. He will draw from his recent authored book, "Backlash." This Festival of Ideas event is co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the WVU Humanities Center

About the Speaker 

George Yancy

George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at Emory University. He received a BA in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh (with honors). His first MA in philosophy is from Yale University, and he obtained a second MA from New York University in Africana Studies, where he received the distinguished Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship. He received a PhD from Duquesne University (with distinction) and was the first graduate student to receive the McAnulty Fellowship in the Department of Philosophy. He is the author, editor and co-editor of over 20 books. Three of his books were named CHOICE Outstanding Academic Books. His book, "Black Bodies, White Gazes" received an honorable mention from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. His co-edited book, "Our Black Sons Matter" was listed by Booklist as a Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction Book. He is known for his influential essays and interviews at The New York Times' philosophy column, "The Stone." He has twice won the American Philosophical Committee on Public Philosophy's op-ed contest. 

Yancy's three most recent books are the second (and expanded) edition of "Black Bodies, White Gazes" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017); "On Race: 34 Conversations in a Time of Crisis" (Oxford University Press, 2017) and his new authored book, "Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). Yancy is currently working on two edited books, one on Buddhism and whiteness and another one on pedagogy under Trump, and a new authored book tentatively entitled, "The Suturing and Un-Suturing of Whiteness."