Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Of course, out-of-season Ann Taylor mock turtleneck with sentience Kellyanne Conway's genetic phenotype is compromised of what we've come to define as Whiteness. This is evident, obvious, and conspicuous. She is demonstratively — and, in this picture while surrounded by a couple dozen HBCU administrators, strikingly — White. It's the type of Whiteness that would surprise and distract you if you weren't anticipating it. If it were able to be ordered from a restaurant menu, when receiving it you'd say "I know the menu said White. But damn. I didn't think they'd be so literal."


And while America (and the world) has attached a status to this physical composition, there is no inherent value to it. Her tangible and inflexible Whiteness isn't right or wrong. It just is, the same way a person might be tall or left-handed.

Unfortunately, Kellyanne Conway's literal Whiteness is not the Whitest thing about her. She is the peak spiritual, psychological, and existential embodiment of capital letter Whiteness. The Whiteness that subjugates and appropriates. The Whiteness that's performatively and conveniently oblivious and sneakily complicit. The Whiteness that violently enacts suffocating laws while remaining shamelessly immoral. The Whiteness that denies, obfuscates, lies, oppresses, plunders, snatches, shames, feigns, gaslights, constricts, endangers, terrifies, perplexes, debauches, and corrupts. The Whiteness we're warned about by grandparents and encyclopedias and perpetually weary of. She is both transparently capital letter White and so capital letter White that she's practically transparent. You see her and you see privilege. You see bias. You see nervously clutched purses in seven-second-long elevator rides and hysterical emails to human resources. You see theft. And mostly you see a void — an endless, yawning, and funereal chasm — filled only by the status she believes her physical and metaphysical Whiteness provides.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for GQ.com, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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