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Archive for the ‘white privilege’ Category

the-doors-the-best-of-frontMacon D, on his ever-interesting blog Stuff White People Do, quoted anti-racist writer Shelly Tochluk. Here is a bit of it. She is speaking as a white American:

However, many of us find ourselves looking at other groups and longing for the connection we imagine they feel with their roots, their homeland, their culture. Many white folks can be heard saying, “We don’t have culture. They have culture.”

I know that I am not alone. I hear the same sentiments too much from other white people. If anything, this is one of the truest hallmarks of whiteness that I have yet encountered. There is a hole within many of us, created when our families gave up our culture in order to be successful in the United States.

Heartfelt and honest, no doubt, but it is still maddening to hear it.

A lost homeland? Their homeland is made up of the lost homelands of others: the United States of America.

No rootedness? They live in a country – in a world! – where their culture is top dog. Where their culture is taught in schools across the country and shown on televisions round the world. Where their food and drink is sold in the four corners of the earth! How much more rooted can you be?

Lack of a culture? They have one of the most powerful cultures in history, like the Romans, the Persians and the Chinese, one that threatens other cultures.

White Americans have a culture just like everyone else: they have strange holidays and special foods, they have their own way of dressing, of talking, of family life, their own feelings about dogs, their own ideas about music, female beauty, skin colour and disciplining children. They have their own books, songs, television shows and films. They have blue jeans, rock music and hamburgers. Baseball and Starbucks.

They have their own language, which is taught in every school in the land as “proper English”. White Americans even speak English with an accent – which they call “having no accent”.

Whatever old ways Tochluk’s family lost from the old country they were replaced by their White American counterparts. It is how they lost their foreignness. The hole was filled. It had to be. How else can she sing and dance and talk and cook and tell stories to her children?

Many white Americans seem to see themselves as plain, ordinary and boring. “Generic”, I think, is the word. It is everyone else who is different, interesting, colourful or “exotic”.

Well, that is a point of view. They are so used to their own culture, like water to a fish or refrigerator noises, they take it so much for granted, it is so much a part of what they think of as “being a normal person”, that they do not see it. Just like how they do not hear their own accent – or see themselves as “white”.

See also:

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Saw this on Keep It Trill (though Olivia has long told me about Tim Wise):

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