EP5: Is Whiteness Parasitic? (On Donald Moss’ “On Having Whiteness”)

When psychoanalyst Donald Moss published his essay “On Having Whiteness” in 2021, it caused the right-wing media outrage machine to move into high gear. For example, both the New York Post and the Daily Mail wrote articles that seemed, on our reading, to only react to what was in the abstract. So, we decided we should actually read the entire article and find out if any of this outrage is justified.

This week we ask the question, is Whiteness parasitic? Does it make white people act like assholes? Moss seems to think it does when he argues that Whiteness is “a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which ‘white’ people have a particular susceptibility”. As you’ll hear, the answer might depend on a distinction between “Whiteness” and “whiteness”. But is making distinctions based on capitalization contributing to analytical clarity or just confusion? 

In this episode, we also mention a response to the article by Jon Mills, you can find that here. We also inserted an editor’s note regarding a subsequent set of letters to the editor published in the Journal of The American Psychoanalytic Association that we did not manage to discuss in the episode. You can find that issue here

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