Hannah Noel, "Deflective Whiteness: Coopting Black and Latinx Identity Politics" (Ohio State UP, 2022)


In Deflective Whiteness: Coopting Black and Latinx Identity Politics (Ohio State UP, 2022), Hannah Noel repositions Whiteness studies in relation to current discussions around racialized animus and White victimhood, demonstrating how White supremacy adapts its discursive strategies by cannibalizing the language and rhetoric of Black and Latinx social justice movements. Analyzing a wide-ranging collection of cultural objects—memes, oration, music, advertisements, and news coverage—Noel shows how White deflection sustains and reproduces structures of inequality and injustice.

White deflection offers a script for how social justice rhetoric and the emotions of victimization are appropriated to conjure a hegemonic White identity. Using derivative language, deflection claims Whiteness as the aggrieved social status. Through case studies of cultural moments and archives including Twitter, country music, the Black Lives Matter movement, and more, Deflective Whiteness exposes the various forms of tacit White supremacy that operate under the alibi of injury and that ultimately serve to deepen racial inequities. By understanding how, where, and why White deflection is used, Noel argues, scholars and social justice advocates can trace, tag, and deconstruct covert White supremacy at its rhetorical foundations.

Omari Averette-Phillips is a graduate student in the department of history at UC Davis. He can be reached at omariaverette@gmail.com

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Omari Averette-Phillips

Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the department of history at UC Davis. He can be reached at omariaverette@gmail.com.

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