Settler girls settle: Willow Samara Allen, ‘Learning to become White girls in a settler colonial context: exploring the racial socialization of White Euro-Canadian women’, Settler Colonial Studies, 2020


Abstract: This piece particularizes the subjectivities and experiences of white Euro-Canadian women to understand how they become implicated in relationships and systems of power that sustain the settler colonial state. This examination is driven by assertions from settler colonial scholars to explore the ‘everydayness’ of settler colonialism, efforts by critical Whiteness scholars to spatially locate Whiteness, and by long-time calls from critical race feminists for white women to interrogate their responsibilities in challenging white supremacy. To respond, I argue we must start at the beginning to assess how white women learn to become racialized, gendered national subjects. Drawing on findings from my qualitative study of white women in transracial/cultural families, I investigate formative spaces and discourses through which the women are socialized into settler Whiteness. My analysis demonstrates the participants’ learning occurs in the home and community, and within relationships defined by intimacy and distance. I argue by examining the white settler socialization of white women who permanently transgress ‘colourlines’, greater insight can be gained into how white settler subjectivities are formed and possibly interrupted. I contend white settler socialization processes are necessary to challenge in broader efforts towards decolonization, imperative to which is imagining what different white femininities can exist.

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