Dec 19, 2018

Whiteness, Man: Whiteness and King of the Hill

“Through the use of satire,King of the Hill presents whiteness as racial imagery while simultaneously providing critiques of white supremacy. While other satirical programs “critique” racism solely through the use of overtly-prejudiced characters,King of the Hill targets the way whiteness functions as a whole. The program exposes the seemingly innocuous manifestations of whiteness, such as white guilt, performative tolerance, and the idea that racism exists only as individual acts of prejudice. The Hill family, their peers, and white viewers are satirized for their ignorance without being “let off the hook” for their internalized racism.” (p. 1)

“Similar to how white viewers are comfortable distancing themselves from outwardly-racist characters, liberal, intellectual white viewers may feel comfortable distancing themselves from the “white trash” whiteness portrayed in King of the Hill.This reading of the show further cements the “invisibility” of whiteness, but it instead deems “liberal whiteness” as the neutral, universal identity. White viewers should read the show as a critique of all whiteness instead of reading it as a critique of “that other kind of whiteness.” (p. 7)

“The show primarily depicts the operation of whiteness in the following ways: white performative guilt/ sympathy, white belief in racism as individual prejudice, and white dependence on people of color for validation. The following sections will explore how each of these manifestations of whiteness function in the episodes “Westie Side Story,” “Traffic Jam,” and “Racist Dawg.” (p. 8)

by Maddie Hardy

Read: Whiteness, Man: Whiteness and King of the Hill

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