The white lens is that through which white Americans see the world. It is like a pair of glasses nearly all of them wear. It keeps them from seeing the world as it is, allowing them to feel comfortable with their privileged position in it. It is something that Nezua the Unapologetic Mexican writes about at length.
Nezua says American society is like a train passing through a land full of dead bodies. When white people, or anyone with a white lens, looks out the window they do not see the bodies – just beautiful countryside. Those without a white lens see the dead bodies.
You do not have to be white to wear a white lens: it comes as part of the brainwashing you get from school and television in America – no matter what your colour. It makes you to look at the world in a way that suits white rule, not you:
- It makes you see white as right and people of colour as no good.
- It makes you seek personal success within a racist society as it stands.
- It makes you give up parts of yourself, like your culture and history, without looking back.
If you have ever looked at your face and thought your nose was too wide, your lips too big, your skin too dark or your hair no good, you were most likely looking at yourself through a white lens.
Very few white people even notice the white lens – they think they are seeing the world as it is and not in some twisted form.
Most people of colour, on the other hand, notice that something is not quite right, though it may take them years to notice it and years more to undo its damaging effects. Some never notice the lens, like Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas and Michelle Malkin.
The white lens accounts for:
- Why whites can be racist without even knowing it.
- Why whites do not see their own race, just that of others.
- Why whites think people of colour are “oversensitive”.
- Why Don Imus called the women basketball players at Rutgers “nappy-headed hoes” – because that is how they look through the white lens.
- Why passing for white does not work for people of colour in the long run – because they are not seeing or being their true selves, even if they seem “successful”.
Nezua says he has nothing against whites – just the white lens. That allows him to see whites as brainwashed innocents.
I like how the white lens ties together much of what I have been writing about lately: the delusional whiteness of Barbara Bush, the poor reading skills of Roissy, the single story, the just world doctrine, how whites are not neutral like they think, etc.
But I do not completely agree with Nezua: I think whites do see the dead bodies out of the corner of their eye. Because their benevolent cluelessness often seems to be an act.
- The Unapologetic Mexican: The White Lens
Because this idea strikes at one of the main themes of this blog, it is a portal into a good share of it:
- white gaze – same idea but in a form that is too weak
- Some examples of the white lens in action:
- affecting white people:
- affecting people of colour (internalized racism):
- What the white lens does not seem to account for:
- white people – general topics: