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    Not Quite White

    Noelle Matthews

    by Noelle Matthews

    Silk Road Rising’s Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness (24 min., 8 sec.), directed by Jamil Khoury and Stephen Combs, is a documentary film dedicated to a vision of whiteness that is anti-racist and rooted in economic justice.

    Not Quite White explores the complicated relationship of Arab and Slavic immigrants to American notions of whiteness. It expands the American conversation on race by zeroing in on whiteness as a constructed social and political category, a “slippery slope” that historically “played favorites,” advantaging Northern and Western European immigrants over immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East. Inspired by Jamil Khoury’s short playWASP: White Arab Slovak Pole, Not Quite White integrates scenes from WASP alongside interviews with Arab American and Polish American academics who reflect upon “contested” and “probationary” categories of whiteness and the use of anti-Black racism as a “whitening” dye.