Whitepeople - who are they?
Wtf are whitepeople? Is it me? Couldn't be! Then who? White anti-racism step one:
- •WHITENESS is not an ethnicity. I'm not talking about the part of me or you which is German-American or whathaveyou.
- •WHITENESS, like most oppressor identities - see masculinity for a parallel - is defined in the negative. To be White is simply To Not Be Someone Who Isn't White. Huh? White = Not Black; White = Not Latinx; White = Not Asian; White = Not Native.Look at the evolving definition over history. It used to mean not Jewish; it used to mean not Italian; it used to mean not Roma, etc.
- •(That's why the statement "there's no such thing as white culture" is true, but that's for another day)
- •So anyway, this definition in the negative is intended only to exclude. It keeps people out. That is the way oppression works. By denying rights, money privileges, etc. WHITENESS as NOT is the foundation of why whitepeople are bad.I mean really, not a very *constructive* identity. More like an empty pit which attempts to fill itself with greed and power.
- •And that is actually shit for all those who cling to WHITENESS. How can you live a full, free life weighed down by that part of you - chained to an identity which is empty?
- •Black people talk a lot about how to get free. The issue of oppressor identities ("NOT" identities) is that it chains the oppressor, too. We also need freedom from the chains of our own making.
- •This is an important first step if we are serious about anti-racism. I work against racial oppression because I know, though I'm still learning all the how's, that it fucks me up, too.
- •“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s.
- •So are you whitepeople? Yes and No.
- •I mean, let's face facts. Look at me. I'm white af. I'm from small town upstate NY in one of the most racist counties in the country.
- •But I choose not to cling to whiteness. My people long ago were German and I still rep some of that with food and stuff. But I don't take pride in the fact that I'm NOT.
- •I can take pride in what I am. It's true that I'm white, but it's not part of my positive, self-affirming identity. I'll save that for my ethnically German roots (though that's a complicated one, too)
- •But I also can't ignore that fact that I am whitepeople. I have benefited. My immigrant ancestors struggled, but not because of their race.Everybody has struggles, it's just that some people struggle because of race. They were not oppressed or denied rights because they were white.
- •I endure hardships, but not because of my race.(Let's table that affirmative action debate for another time okay? Keep the context broad for now) I am not denied rights because I am white.
- •So this first step in being anti-racist is to not cling to WHITENESS and simultaneously recognize the unavoidable truth that we benefit from white privilege.Shoutout to the sage who once told me "find peace with the contradictions." Shit is complicated.
- •Don't be whitepeople. Be an anti-racist white person.