Sociology Department presents Matthew Hughey, assistant professor in Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University on “White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race”
Discussions of race are often framed as clear points of opposition—us versus them. And when considering white racial identity, an essential split between “racists” and “antiracists” is all too frequently assumed. But rarely are these intra-white divisions empirically investigated. Sociologist Matthew Hughey questions the depth and salience of white political and ideological bifurcation, and in so doing offers a unique view of white racial identity in his new book, “White Bound.” Based on over a year of ethnographic observations inclusive of fieldwork, content analysis, and in-depth interviews with two white organizations—a white nationalist group and a white antiracist group–Hughey argues that despite immediate political differences, both groups make meaning of whiteness through a reliance on similar racist and reactionary narratives and worldviews. On the whole, this book puts abstract beliefs and theoretical projection about the supposed white “culture war” and “crisis” of whiteness into relief against the realities of two groups never before directly compared. By examining seemingly antithetical white groups, we see not just the many ways of being white, but how these actors make meaning of whiteness in ways that collectively reproduce both white identity and, ultimately, white supremacy.