Whiting Out
Writing on Vulnerability, Racism and Repair
Published: October 2023
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Published: November 2023

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Published: November 2023
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6" x 9"
Language: English

Whiting Out: Writing on Vulnerability, Racism and Repair is an experimental text that seeks to collapse the space that white writers create between ourselves and our ideas when writing about race, identity, history, responsibility, positionality, power and the present. The book is written as a first-person meditation grounded in a poetics of vulnerability, undertaken as an author study in two major parts – fragmented first through the work of James Baldwin and then refracted through the writing of Gloria E. Anzaldúa. Whiting Out is for both aspiring and experienced teachers (especially white folks), as well as anyone open to writing new narratives and imagining new possible worlds.

Each chapter contains a range of unique features to engage the reader, including select excerpts of poetry, verbatim dialogue and scattered reflection questions in conversation with Baldwin and Anzaldúa. In total, Whiting Out calls upon white people to commit to deep learning toward our collective anti-racist liberation, toward intersectional futures where racial healing and reparation are prioritized. The text reads Baldwin and Anzaldúa with fresh eyes and a cautiously hopeful heart across divergent histories and contemporary moments, to write new narratives, make new moves and articulate new political commitments fortified in shared struggle.

Perfect for courses such as: Introduction to Education; Introduction to Teaching and Learning; Introduction to Curriculum Studies; Education and Society; Education and Cultural Studies; Whiteness in Education; Critical Race Theory in Education; Race, Racism and Anti-Racism; Examining Race, Power and Privilege; Teaching and Learning in Diverse Contexts

Table of Contents:


Chapter 1
Ridding Traces of Fascism from the Body Politic

Chapter 2
Innocence Constitutes the Crime

Chapter 3
Revolutionary Love at the Borderlands

Chapter 4
Community Cartographies of Collective Liberation

Chapter 5
(In)Conclusive: Refracting Unfixed Final Fragments

Chapter 6
A Word on Words: Afterword on Living in Language

About the Author

Reviews & Endorsements:

“For those of us willing to participate in the process of learning, unlearning to relearn and relearning to show up for our communities vulnerable, open and better, Whiting Out offers experiences and particle matter we can infuse into our own journey of widening our aperture in the role of guide, mentor, teacher, human.”

Regina Anderson, Executive Director, Food Recovery Network

Whiting Out exposes the challenges of straddling the center whilst also occupying the periphery. In an open letter to James Baldwin, Gloria Anzaldua, and her community, Elizabeth Bishop writes that we must reject 'white writerly histories' and turn toward the work of scholars of color to get free. A call to action to imagine a society manumitted of white supremacy, racial capitalism, and patriarchy, Whiting Out is the aspiration that encourages us to dream otherwise worlds with critical love at the center. Lyrical, forthright, and full of lessons that move us toward radical empathy, love, and joy, Whiting Out is an embodiment of what it means to think critically (head), write dangerously (heart), and take bold action every day (feet). This is required reading for white folx who work with youth of color and those of us who dare to do the hard work that is required for us ALL to be free.”

Damaris C. Dunn, Educator and Ph.D. candidate at the Mary Frances Early College of Education

“From the very first words of this book, Bishop calls us in to do the messy, complex 'real work' of building futures, of disrupting whiteness while tapping into our own bodies, our stories, and our collective work as sites in which to heal. The deeply personal, reflective prose is a powerful example of embodied praxis, done with the utmost humility and respect for scholars of color who have been doing the hard work of whiting out for generations, such as Gloria Anzaldúa and James Baldwin who serve as anchors, guides, and intellectual ancestors throughout the book. Every chapter is a gift, an invaluable resource, and lived example, on how to interrupt whiteness, with honesty, complexity, and how to work towards genuine, intersectional solidarity rooted in revolutionary love.”

Emma Haydée Fuentes, Ph.D., Professor, School of Education, University of San Francisco

“In Whiting Out: Writing on Vulnerability, Racism, and Repair, Elizabeth Bishop opens a window into her engagement with key texts by the legendary wayfarers James Baldwin and Gloria Anzaldúa. Bishop draws us into her vulnerable, respectful reading of classic works by the visionary artists and authors who at key moments in the struggle for liberation gave timeless voice to Blackness, queerness, borderlands epistemologies, and most of all, critical love. From the chapters devoted to Baldwin and Anzaldúa to the tentative yet stunning conclusion, Bishop honors their work to nourish her practice as an educator, scholar, activist, and change agent. In today’s struggles to insist upon the dignity of persons, their bodies, their freedom to be and become, Bishop’s reading and re-reading questions what white educators and scholars hold onto and challenges us (as she challenges herself) to de-center ourselves but not our moral commitments to each other. Bishop repeatedly names the tensions of journeys for freedom, and since teaching is always a powerful act, “we can build lives of repair that hold each other and create classrooms that make space for each other.” This is a book about reading, learning from each other, and creating the space to dream of what’s possible. Deeply personal and relatable, it is a text for every educator aspiring to join the work of liberation.”

Michael G. Gunzenhauser, Ph.D., Professor and Senior Associate Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Education

“Through essayistic prose that ebbs and flows seamlessly among the academic, personal, reflective, and (perhaps most of all) poetic, Dr. Bishop invites us, as readers, to travel along a righteous path of critical humility and vulnerability toward love, joy, and community, which—as she models for us—we can only reach if we recognize our limitations and errors and courageously confront the real dangers along the path, while honoring—to avoid trampling—the sacred. She calls us into an inquiry into our shared humanity and responsibility but with a consciousness that explicitly, as well as implicitly, makes clear that the onus is on white people to do the heavy lifting of decolonization that is required in every facet of our lives and communities, especially including education. The image of the rain-drenched canon in ruins on the side of a Brooklyn street speaks volumes. The language is alive and laced with gently-biting wit that reminds us not to take ourselves so seriously, no matter how serious our pursuits.”

Ioanna Opidee, founder, Write the Way; author, "Waking Slow"

Whiting Out invites us to engage in critical self-reflection and relational inquiry, undoing, and repair towards new possibilities. In a voice that is simultaneously tender in its vulnerability and resounding in its clarity, Whiting Out speaks to the ever-ongoing nature of learning and unlearning in a world that has persistently attempted to contain and divide us. In humbly turning towards James Baldwin and Gloria Anzaldúa, two queer writers who taught us so much about pain, violence, and love, Dr. Bishop sits with the timelessness of their words and the unique contexts of their writing. Whiting Out does not seek to convince us of a simple argument or arrive at a clear conclusion; instead, it invites us to sit with the 'necessary, painful friction' of reflecting on and reckoning with our personal histories, our commitments, and the ways we have stumbled. This book is a call to slow down, to lean into communities, and to hold our contradictions gently, with curiosity and love. In doing so, we may begin to do the difficult and necessary work of healing, of standing in solidarity, and of building more just, liberatory, queer-inclusive, and anti-racist futures.”

Rita Kamani-Renedo, Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University Graduate School of Education

Whiting Out advocates for a social justice movement that transcends rhetoric. Instead, it calls on individuals, particularly white folx, to embody their commitment to anti-racism and queer-inclusive liberation in their daily lives. By focusing on self-learning, solidarity, humility, vulnerability, and love, the book offers a practical and transformative framework for those committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive world. It is the book the movement needs right now, at this very moment.”

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D., Professor & Author of Advancing Racial Literacies in Teacher Education: Activism for Equity in Digital Spaces, Teachers College, Columbia University