Hegemons arise by smashing and terrorizing human diversity. They do so structurally, institutionally, and discursively—that is, through logics, rationales, and schemes. In this special issue, we grapple with the racism problem that pervades communication studies. In fact, the discipline has long had a racism problem, silenced by overarching structures that deploy the language of civility to erase conversations that call out this problem. This special issue, “Merit, Whiteness, and Privilege,” focuses on the racial, ideological, and epistemological logics, rationales, and schemes, such as falsely separating scholarly merit from diversity, that the status quo in communication studies employs to keep minority peoples marginalized. We contend that looking at the racism problem that pervades communication studies from a perspective of whiteness deepens our understanding of this problem in profound ways.

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