“Whites are individuals” is a common argument brought up by White Americans. It is part of a set of closely related arguments:
- Whites are individuals. There are all kinds – bikers, soccer moms, coal miners, business men, goths, etc – so you cannot make general statements about them.
- To make a general statement about Whites is itself racist. It is stereotyping them. It is hypocritical. It is seeing them according to skin colour and that is racist.
- The “not all Whites” argument: “All Whites are not like that”. They bring this up even when no one said all Whites were anything. But that is how they heard it. It amounts a straw man argument.
These arguments seem to be driven by two things:
- “Blacks are racist too.”
- They are uncomfortable with being called White because they have been taught not to be race conscious.
Just for the record, I do know that Whites are individuals. I live in America, a country that is mostly White: I work with them, they are on television and presented as individuals with their own storylines and not as racist stereotypes or even as too-good-to-be-true supporting characters.
On the other hand….
It does seem like most of them, like at least 60%, at least in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, all went to the same Secret Course on Whiteness. They do act in certain common ways, ways that support racism.
And, based on comments on this blog, this stuff extends well beyond New York. In fact it seems to go clear across the country and into Canada, and, in a slightly different form, into Britain and South Africa.
I have never been to the Southside or Oakland, but they sound strangely familiar to me. Another sign that the racism of White people in New York is not just a New York thing.
And having seen the Maori in New Zealand and the Sioux in South Dakota, I know full well that this has surprisingly little to do with the faults of Blacks – or the Maoris or Sioux – and everything to do with how Whites are. Whites do not like to hear that, but that does not make it untrue.
And there is no way I can talk about Whites – or any subject – without making general statements. It would be nice if I could back them all up with studies, but this does not seem to be a well-studied field.
Of course, I am quite capable of making racist statements. But to say that every general statement about Whites is necessarily racist makes it impossible to talk about how racist they are!
The most maddening part is that in America it is Whites who draw the line between themselves and everyone else. They are the ones who apply the colour line and all the injustice that goes with it. They are making themselves White – and yet they do not want to be seen as White!
– Abagond, 2009, 2015.