White People

Something that intensely interests me is White racial awareness.  Whiteness, like Blackness, is a social construct, and a powerful one.  It is easy to ignore your racial identity as a person who appears White, regardless of your ethnic or national background.  Here is a book that I found that explores this topic.  I haven’t read it completely, so don’t hold me to Paul Kivel’s views, but I urge White people to start examining these issues, because if we don’t, racism will be perpetuated.  If you are a White person who believes that you are interested in a socially just world, you cannot ignore the power of racial constructs, particularly the Black/White binary that is so powerful in the United States and its history.  Racially you are not “nothing.”  Chances are, if you have light skin, other people identify you as White and treat you a certain way in accordance with your Whiteness.  Please consider awareness of your own racial identity part of your interest in a socially just world.  Consider yourself informed: it matters.

Buy it on Amazon here.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “White People

  1. soother1978

    people say I look like a mexican jew, is that white?

  2. saddleshoos

    That’s a good question that only you can answer. There are two important issues you raise 1) there is a broad spectrum of color among “Whites” and 2) how do you know if you are White or a person of color?

    Usually, people of color have an experience sometime in their childhood or early adolescence that awakens them to their difference from Whites. This experience can be painful, and usually has to do with being denied privileges Whites enjoy or being called something other than White. (see the book “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity by Beverly Tatum PhD)

    There are many White people who are generally identified as White, who are occasionally questioned about variation in their skin tone, eyes, hair etc. This sounds like it might be your situation.

    I would say that generally, if you have not felt like you were discriminated against BY WHITES for your skin tone, then you are probably White.

    I also believe in and utilize a definition of racism that is distinguished from discrimination in the following sense: Racism is discrimination on the basis of race that is backed by INSTITUTIONAL POWER. Therefore, according to my definition, acts of racism cannot be committed against Whites, because Whites maintain institutional power worldwide. Whites may be discriminated against, hated, or hurt, but cannot experience racism in the way that people of color do.

  3. saddleshoos

    Interesting comment. Can you say more?

    Do you think http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/ gets Whites to think constructively about their racial identity?

    Thanks for reading.

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