Baynard Woods: ‘Inheritance: An Autobiography of Whiteness’


As a country founded on the violence of racial slavery and genocide, the United States has yet to overcome its historical dependence on the ideology of white supremacy. In his new memoir, Inheritance: An Autobiography of Whiteness, author Baynard Woods reflects on the influence of racism and the meaning of ‘whiteness’ through the lens of his own life. Born and raised in post-Jim Crow South Carolina, Woods assumed he had left the prejudices of his home behind when he left the South—until he was accused of discriminating against a Black student at the university he taught at. The experience propelled Woods on a journey to investigate his own roots, leading to the revelation that his own family had claimed ownership of more than 700 human beings in the 19th century. On this episode of The Marc Steiner Show, Woods discusses his new memoir and the ways white supremacy survives intergenerationally, often hiding in plain sight from those who benefit from it most.

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