While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow? The Whiteness Project is a multi-platform media project that examines both the concept of whiteness itself and how those who identify as “white” process their ethnic identity. The project’s goal is to engender debate about the role of whiteness in American society and encourage white Americans to become fully vested participants in the ongoing debate about the role of race in American society.
When the Open Society Foundations studied the integration experiences of Muslim and Somali communities in Western Europe, the research found that the majority in an economically deprived community could also be marginalized and victims of inequality—in different ways, perhaps, but with many of the same results. So in 2012, Open Society initiated a project to better understand and offer a platform to marginalized majority communities in six northwest European cities—Aarhus, Amsterdam, Berlin, Lyon, Manchester, and Stockholm. This research provides an insight into the daily experiences of white working class communities across Europe. While the majority ethnic populations in the six cities that this research focuses on were white, many of the factors that marginalize working class communities, such as a lack of decent jobs, poor health, or disadvantages in the education system, impact on people of any ethnic background. Different communities across Europe that we spoke to felt they are being blamed for their own marginalization. Blame has been shifted to individuals as wider social and economic factors are often downplayed. This is certainly true of media portrayals in the UK, and it also applies in the Netherlands—where the “antisocial television” genre focuses on poor Dutch families with behavioral or social problems—and Germany. This creates powerful stereotypes that can reinforce a community’s sense of exclusion. (via Understanding Europe’s White Working Class Communities | Open Society Foundations (OSF))