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Thread: Defining Your Whiteness

  1. #31
    Mr. Mocoso to you, son Array Oso Mocoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    I don't believe in sub-sets of white.
    That's okay. Subsets of white still believe in you, gweipor.

    White is the sector of any society with the most power.
    I disagree. There are all kinds of examples of rich white people exploiting the bejesus out of poor white people. For example, sending them off to slave away in coal mines or to be sex workers in appalling conditions. That doesn't make the miners or prostitutes any less white, yeah?

  2. #32
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    ^^
    White privilege is more subtle than that.

    Daily effects of white privilege

    And from the end of the same article:

    "It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already."

    I'm privileged. I'm a member of the main culture in Finland. If I go to a store it's assumed I'm a paying customer. If I was a Finnish Romani there would be a very obvious suspicion that I was there to steal. A guard might follow me around to "discreetly" discourage me from stealing.

    It also tells about my privilege that I had to google to find the right english word for the Roma. I also know very little about their culture or history. Just as I know practically nothing about the Sami people.

    I can confidently assume I will get to take care of my errands in my own language no matter where I go. I was taught my own language when I went to school. The Roma language is not recognized as official. Less than one in five Roma children can get taught anything in their own language even though the law has some pretty text about the protection of minority languages.

    The Sami language only got official status here 1991. At January 2012 was the first time someone wrote a dissertation in the Sami language. If I write a dissertation I can easily do it in my own language and if I do it's not considered worth national news coverage.

  3. #33
    Communist Array Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oso Mocoso View Post
    I disagree. There are all kinds of examples of rich white people exploiting the bejesus out of poor white people. For example, sending them off to slave away in coal mines or to be sex workers in appalling conditions. That doesn't make the miners or prostitutes any less white, yeah?
    You have a point, but I was generalizing... and maybe it was only a valid generalization for this hemisphere, but I'd have to give it some thought. Of course, if I go too deep into details, someone's probably not gonna like it, and they're gonna be really white and care a lot more about race than me, so I'm discouraged already.
    So many bricks, so few cars. - MoneyJungle

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Of course, if I go too deep into details, someone's probably not gonna like it, and they're gonna be really white and care a lot more about race than me, so I'm discouraged already.
    No way, Madrigal. I am *not* part of the problem. I put a Noam Chomsky sticker on my skateboard, so I am living in furious defiance of the capitalist system of exploitation.

  5. #35
    Manarchist Array Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Stephen Colbert has this running joke, a riff on the way some conservative pundits will assert that they "don't see race."

    The Colbert joke goes

    I don't see race. People tell me I'm white, and I believe them because __________________________
    The one that stands out in my memory is "because police officers call me 'sir'."

    I've had cops call me that in almost the same breath that they address nearby black guys who look to be near exactly my age as "buddy" or even in a few cases "son."
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  6. #36
    SHOULDERCAT Array gator's Avatar
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    Okay, from my vantage point in Canada, and ignoring the obvious hicks, bible-thumpers and white trash stereotypes. The 'average' white Canadian likes hockey, leans slightly left of centre, slightly Christian of some form, is generally pleasant and polite, drinks a lot of beer, consumes a lot of Tims but generally doesn't see him/herself as overly 'white' as if it is separate from other things. Most maintain some sort of nominal connection to the 'home country,' whether that is England, Ireland, Poland or wherever though culturally they often aren't really of those places.

    Questions of race are difficult to answer in Canada because we're so 'colourblind.' You have to understand that most everyone under the age of 45 grew up in an environment where we were really sold on the idea of the 'cultural mosaic.' Canada is this happy place where everyone comes and fits in and gets accepted and can keep their religions and cultural practices. In practice, maybe not quite, but that's the ideal.

    So for a long time the official ideology that surrounded race was 'separate but equal,' while at the same time 'invisible.' So on the one hand you don't recognize the differences between cultural groups, while at the same time it's accepted that everyone does their own thing and everyone gets along. But what about participating in other cultures?

    Pick any public cultural event and you'll always find a bunch of white people. White people are tourists, and always position themselves as such. I was reminded of this recently because it was Vaisakhi and everyone I know was wishing everyone else a happy Vaisakhi and I wondered how many of them actually celebrate the thing, let alone know what it is about.

    Being white you have no 'culture' because yours is hegemonic, and therefore invisible. Other people's cultures are exotic. You partake in them to 'expand your horizons' or to 'be cultured' and to signal your tolerance and edginess. And as a white person you have a free pass to participate in as many things as you want in a nominal way that doesn't require understanding. Vaisakhi today, Lunar New Year, Day of the Dead, Diwali, Eid tomorrow.

    Non-white people are rooted in their 'home culture.' It's generally accepted that they have their way of life that may be foreign from the mainstream that gives them a set of beliefs and practices that they don't need to step outside of.
    A man descending is propelled by inertia; the only initiative left him is whether or not he decides to enjoy the passing scene. - Guy Vanderhaeghe

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