They aren’t. Sirius B, a white dwarf not far from our solar system, shines very faintly compared to the star it revolves around every 50 years or so, Sirius A. Scientists have also hypothesized the existence of black dwarf stars, which will have cooled so much that they no longer emit any light at all.
In fact not all dwarf stars are bright. White dwarves are actually quite faint and only give off residual thermal energy since the material they are composed of is no longer going through fission reactions. What you are probably thinking of are pulsars which are tiny neutron stars with a very strong magnetic field. Electrons getting sucked in the magnet field release energy that reaches us in the form of pulses due to the rotation of the star.
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