PRINT Summer 2016


Claudia Rankine and John Lucas, whiteness, inc., 2016.

BY PURCHASING WHITENESS, the buyer assumes total and full responsibility for its use or misuse, including but not limited to all possible complications regarding health, pain, damage to property, and failure to keep this product out of reach of children. The seller makes no claims or endorsements with regard to this product’s effectiveness, results, use, or method of treatment. The buyer is responsible for researching and learning as much as possible about this product and its safety procedures. If the buyer requires assistance regarding the application or consumption of this product, the buyer is expected to seek guidance from a qualified professional. The buyer assumes total and full responsibility for this product and agrees that all the information with regard to the seller’s disclaimer has been read and accepted.

Really, I wouldn’t bullshit about this. She wanted to know which one was the most educated, but instead she said—wait for it—she said, Which one sounded white?

Whiteness is proof that marketing can repair anyone. If whiteness was to be believed, whiteness was equal to goodness, intelligence, truth, beauty. Need anyone go on? Whiteness was constructed to be a general superiority in all things. The best advertisement for whiteness is whiteness’s systemic ability to keep whiteness alive. Whiteness sells life. If anyone doesn’t have whiteness, then anyone is negotiating how to stay alive.

There’s good reason for my glistening skin and how I shine and how my pores are so clean, clear. I spring from activity to activity. I love my job, I love my life.
(American advertisement)

“I don’t believe that I can have instant white skin. Instant? Instant like now? That’s not true. No.” “The new woman is remarkable. She enjoys a full-time career and independence. She knows her colors by heart, taking charge of the radiant white skin that she wears.” “I love white. White is clean, white is pure, white is beautiful.”
(International advertisement)

The brilliance in most anyone is that anyone has the beauty to repulse whiteness.

Claudia Rankine is a poet, essayist, and playwright based in Los Angeles. John Lucas is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.