Archive for the ‘Whiteness’ Category
Posted by Jack Stephens on March 30, 2009
i used to be an antiracism trainer for a progressive organization a few years ago. i was really really good at.
this year i finally realized after a lot of soul searching that teaching white folks how to be good allies is not helpful to anyone.
its like us giving white folks all the correct rhetoric just allows for them to be able to better racists, because they are able to justify their racism using anti-racist rhetoric.
in that they are able to say things like: i realize that such and such is a function of racism and then they continue to do the same fucking thing that they just acknowledged was racist.
[Hat Tip: Restructure]
Posted in Contemporary Racism, Institutionalized Racism, Organizing, People of Color, Racism, White Privilege, White Supremacy, Whiteness | Tagged: anti-racism, antiracism, People of Color, poc, Racism, white, white people | 3 Comments »
Posted by Jack Stephens on February 28, 2009
xMabaitx blogs about race, racial identity, skin color, and Oscar Grant:
I have determined that my former desire to ”fit into” a certain racial or ethnic distinction has very little bearing on my own sense of personal self-worth. The greater issue rather is how the white man’s ideas of race and ethnicity consequently force unwanted social meanings upon my body.
Posted in Asian Issues, Black Issues, Institutionalized Racism, People of Color, Police Brutality, Race, White Supremacy | Tagged: cops, oscar grant, Police Brutality, Race, skin color, White Privilege, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on December 5, 2008
This Friday I’m heading to Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn for the premiere screening of Some Place Like Home: The Fight Against Gentrification in Downtown Brooklyn, a documentary by Families United for Racial and Economic Equality. FUREE, a community organization lead by and comprised primarily of low-income women of color, has been rallying the community in a fight against the rampant development that’s going down in Downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding area. While developers, big business, and politicians alike claim they are only trying to improve the community, the development is being conducted with little care or concern for the residents and small business owners who are already there. Some Place Like Home documents the struggle of FUREE, the neighborhoods’ residents, and small businesses against the forces that are trying to push and bulldoze them out. Check out the trailer below.
Posted in Class, Gentrification, Government, Institutionalized Racism, Organizing, People of Color, White Supremacy, Women of Color | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on November 23, 2008
White liberals* in North America often say things like, “White people have no culture.” For the overwhelming majority of white liberals, to be white is to be boring. Some white people even claim that they are “jealous” of people who are not white, as if non-white people have “culture” that white people do not, due to the sole fact they have a higher concentration of melanin in their skin, eyes, or hair.
Of course, the very definition of culture necessitates that white people have a culture.
Posted in Contemporary Racism, White Privilege, White Supremacy, Whiteness | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 29, 2008
one of the big tricks that i discovered had been pulled on me was the trick of getting me to believe that there was such a thing as a “Feminist Movement.” there’s not. but i thought there was. and being a believer and student of ‘movements’–what are they, how are they made, where they come from–i sit back now, and am sort of amused by my naivete. i actually believed that just because people *called* themselves feminists, that must mean there *is* a Feminist Movement of some sort.
never belonged to a Feminist Movement, i belonged to a movement led and created and owned by *radicalized* women of color. Those women of color are, were and will always *remain* accountable to other women of color, whether those women are radicalized or not. I belong to a movement started by Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, and sustained by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, Sista II Sista, the Zapatistas, UBUNTU, SPEAK, the AMC and so so so so many others. There is a melding of action with theory–a connection between the streets and academia.
Posted in Contemporary Racism, Feminism, White Supremacy, Women of Color | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 28, 2008
Jeannie Choi blogs:
I am writing you this letter after much internal debate to inform you of the many realizations that erupted within me after our very brief encounter yesterday. I am writing you this letter because there is a lot I have to say to you. I am writing you this letter because after a great deal of thought, I’ve decided that you might like to know what you did, what I should have done, and what I hope can happen between you and me in the future.
First, what you did. Yesterday, as I was walking down Columbia Road, you saw me from a distance. I did not see you, because I was on the phone. But you certainly saw me. You saw me in my summer dress, walking quickly because I was late for dinner with my cousins, chattering away on my cell phone, laughing at something my friend said. You saw me. You saw my black hair, my sloped forehead, brown eyes, and undoubtedly in your mind you thought something along the lines of chink, gook, oriental, Chinese chick who doesn’t speak English. And for some reason, for a reason that I can’t understand, you proceeded to get right in my face and yell at me. And if you can’t remember what it is you yelled—Well, I do and I probably will forever:“Ching chong ching chong f***ing CHINK!”
[Hat Tip: Phil]
Posted in Asian Issues, Racism, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 22, 2008
Being White in American society (possibly European society as well because they’re douchebags too) means that you know that people that look like you run society. If something goes wrong in your life then (barring unique circumstances like being from Appalachia or something) you can take solace in the fact that you’re White and just integrate yourself into a high social or economic class by befriending (or marrying) another White person better off than you. You have the benefit of living in a world superpower where the default rules of the society were set up by people in similar social locations to benefit people like you. This is not by any means to say that all White people actively participate in the privilege, because they don’t. However all White people do all participate. Simply put, American society is easier for those (of all colors) who have lighter/fairer skin.
Posted in White Privilege | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 12, 2008
Macon D. blogs on a small movie called “Fireproof”:
And what are these black folks talking so straight about with the two white protagonists? Love, baby, nothin’ but love, and especially, how to fix it. Which is, again, what makes them “Magical Negroes.” Black folks, you see, are supposedly closer to their emotions, and even to the spirit world. So when white folks in movies need help in those areas, they often reach out to conveniently located black folks for help.
This white American fantasy about convenient dark friends has actually been going on for a long, long time. The history of stock, stereotypical non-white characters that conjure up and appeal to white American emotions is long and varied, including Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom and his many Stepin Fetchit descendants; the blackface minstrelsy tradition; comforting imagery on food products; ridiculous and offensive sports mascots; and assorted loyal sidekicks, like James Fenimore Cooper’s Chingachgook, Herman Melville’s Queequeg, and the Lone Ranger’s Tonto (who, by the way, is about to be exhumed by . . . Johnny Depp?!).
Posted in Black Issues, Cinema, Contemporary Racism, Whiteness | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 8, 2008
Indira Dammu blogs:
It’s not often that we get a perfect demonstration of white privilege and what it entails. Sure, we talk about it in classes but it’s a difficult concept to grasp. Here’s Tim Wise with a great piece on white privilege and how Sarah Palin benefits from it…
To be sure, Palin’s gender has led to unfair scrunity, particularly with regards to her ability to juggle both a career and motherhood. By the same token, however, her race has allowed to escape an even harsher examination.
Posted in White Privilege | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 3, 2008
Ms. Krish blogs:
It wasn’t always like this. From 1998 to 2003, female rappers such as Lauryn Hill, Eve, and Missy Elliott were among the genre’s most bankable artists. But nearly all of their successors — including Lil Mama, Kid Sister, Ms Dynamite, and Jean Grae — have struggled to connect with listeners. And it’s harder than ever to launch new talent. ‘‘Hair and makeup is killing female hip-hop,” says a source. ”The grooming cost to break a female rapper versus a male rapper is 10 times as much per appearance. That tends to have an adverse effect on a record company’s willingness to even entertain a female rapper.”
So let me get this straight: there aren’t any women MCs out there because they don’t want to foot the bill for a glam squad? But, somehow, Hollywood tends to make a killing suiting and booting these white girls while their careers, talented or not, skyrocket?
Posted in Contemporary Racism, Corporations, Male Supremacy, Media, Racism, White Supremacy, Women of Color | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on September 12, 2008
The Angry Indian blogs on Native American news outlets:
We were never meant to be a part of the colonial system and I find it embarrassing that those who are chosen to represent us do not have the courage to speak about this in real, coherent and tangible terms. Instead, we talk of what it like for Indians to be a part of the DNC and RNC conventions and who got to speak before large crowds and which “tribe” will adopt a candidate who in the end will do absolutely nothing for our people but keep us in our respective place at the bottom of the U.S. totem pole. And we ask ourselves why we get so little respect.
Posted in First People Issues, Media, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on September 3, 2008
Radical means open: to new understandings, to new perspectives, to new awareness, and the valuing of self-examination and critique. White Men’s Conservatism and White Men’s Liberalism are closed systems of thought the boundaries of which their ideologues refuse to acknowledge, identify, or name. Radicalism, as a social-political perspective, here means not closed. It means open to learning more. Not assuming I know it all. Not assuming anyone does.
Posted in Male Supremacy, Radicalism, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 28, 2008
Margari Aziza Hill blogs on white privilege in society:
Some individuals have striven so hard to be accepted and to succeed in majority white environments may find themselves transformed with little vestiges of their original self. Others, I know, feel disingenuous as they wear different masks for different people. It is interesting how this plays out in many different environments. Even in the Muslim community, whether on college campuses or in my local area, I find myself shape shifting make people comfortable with me as a Black woman. It is something I do almost instinctually, because this is how I’ve been able to survive in the broader society, in both the corporate world and academia. When I do fall into my normal speech patterns or topics of conversation, I am either very aware or made aware that what I say and how I say things has made my others uncomfortable. This reminds me of the backlash against PC (often by privileged white males).
Posted in Black Issues, People of Color, White Privilege, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 26, 2008
So my beef with these guys is not that they make structural critique, it’s that they seem bound to a set of strategies that just haven’t gotten us anywhere. Again, I need to hear about something else besides Affirmative Action and a vague notion of social justice. And then I’d like to see it pitched in such a way that it makes the broader country see their own interest in our interest. That’s not merely crass politics–I actually believe that Jim Crow was ultimately bad for the broader country, not just for black people. I don’t think boom in prisons is a good thing for any American of any color.
Posted in Affirmative Action/Reservations, Black Issues, Contemporary Racism, Government, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 20, 2008
Canadians are too polite to tell the gooks to go home, that just wouldn’t seem right.
It does, however, seem to be ok to tell them to “integrate” with “our culture” or else “Canada should reject that person as a potential Canadian citizen.”
A recent Toronto Star article titled “Sure we have rights, but what about duties?” by
Posted in Contemporary Racism, International, Media, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 19, 2008
Montreal-North is burning. After the murder of Fredy Villenueva by the Montreal Police (SPVM), and the riots which broke out to express the people’s anger, the community of Montreal-North remains angry. The time has come to organize a social and political offensive against the local elites who are trying to cover up this state of affairs.
Montréal-Nord Republik (Montreal North Republik) is a new voice in the neighbourhood. It intends to put forward another view of the recent events around the death of Fredy Villanueva and the riots which took place in Montreal North. The group also intends to dispute the dominant discourse which is insinuating that the rioters and protesters are just apolitical hooligans. Montréal-Nord Republik hopes to bring together the neighbourhood community along with all the population of Montreal in order to denounce police repression as well as economic, social, cultural and political oppression.
Posted in Class, Government, International, People of Color, Police Brutality, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 18, 2008
Last year around this time Nobel Prize laureate, James Watson, shocked the scientific community with his ludicrous claim that race is a scientific category.
Watson, you may remember, won the Nobel Prize for his research that led (in part) to the ‘discovery’ of DNA.
So, it is October again. Now comes a report that Akhil Bakshi, a fellow of the prestigious Royal Geographic Society and celebrity photographer, is pushing the preposterous claim “that blacks, whites and Asians have different ape ancestors.”
Posted in Contemporary Racism, International, Racism, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 18, 2008
First, the author notes that she was expelled from high school for truancy. Yet none of the vitriolic responses chastise her for “not valuing education” or “not finishing school” or “not having parents who knew the value of hard work.” All of these sentiments are expressed. However, they are all directed towards black people.
Second, she believes that she has not experienced privilege. One of the main ways privilege functions is through its invisibility. I was thinking about this recently because of a white friend who had been stopped by the police while carrying a large amount of an illegal substance. He wasn’t arrested. Rather, the police officer scattered the drug and told him to stay out of trouble.
And this is one of the ways in which I believe privilege functions. White people give other white people the benefit of the doubt, maybe even when it’s not deserved.
Posted in Class, White Privilege | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 16, 2008
I am really uncomfortable with how a lot of vegan cooking is described as “exotic” (to whom?). It assumes so much about the audience racially & culturally, & as well is loaded with really creepy connotations — the exotic is there to be conquered, mastered; it’s there purely to titillate your (white/Western/etc.) self (which also implies that white people have no culture — a convenient excuse used by people participating in cultural appropriation, but not actually true). It’s a “safe” way to imagine you’re experiencing other cultures without, you know, having to do that pesky thing known as actually engaging with the people whose cultures you’re attempting to eat via their food.
Posted in Commodification, Contemporary Racism, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 11, 2008
Asabagna blogs on white people and no longer expecting them to change a system that benefits them:
In regards to the eurocentric dominant culture, this has meant four things. One, I no longer felt any responsibility to be their teacher (and/or confessor… as a way for them to ease the angst of their white privilege) on the effects of white supremacy – eurocentric superiority thinking and practice on people of colour. Two, I had no desire for the material and/or societal trinkets which signifies “success” in their society. I could no longer be bought. My soul… beliefs, values and principles… are more important to me than to “gain the world”. Three, I don’t expect anything from white people. I don’t expect them to be fair. I don’t expect them to be just. I don’t expect them to be empathetic to my situation or to the struggles of people of African descent. I don’t expect them to take any sort of responsibility for their past, present or future behaviours. Finally, I care about all people… regardless of nationality, ethnicity, colour, religion, gender, age and sexual orientation… who are oppressed and/or taken advantage of. I don’t compare and rate oppressions on a scale. However with that being said, the issues concerning people of African descent are first and foremost in mind… because I am one of them… and what we need to do, not only to overcome to survive, but more importantly, to empower ourselves to live, is the core of my cause.
[Hat Tip: IllVox]
Posted in Contemporary Racism, International, People of Color, Racism, White Privilege | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 10, 2008
…race is not real; it is a socially constructed phenomenon based solely on visible physically differences. Race is so fictitious a concept that in the post-emancipation U.S. a man could be considered Black in one state, and White in another!
Although race is not real, the effects of racial differentiation; however, are very real. Not every racial group experiences racism in the same manner or to the same degree. Racialized groups (those who society labels “visible minorities”) continually face institutionalized, racial discrimination based solely on stereotypes attached to our skin tone.
Posted in History, Race, White Privilege | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 5, 2008
Tammerie, who is pursuing a dissertation on anti-racism and Christian theology, blogs:
By the numbers, white people still hold a preponderance of the positions that count, out of proportion to our presence in the population, from which I would argue we are able to maintain white-privileging control over the systems and institutions that shape our society, including business, legislative and judicial systems, property sales and management, education and health care. (Note that the percentages of non-white, non-male legislators was considered too small to be tabulated.)
Of course, not all white people are employed in positions that afford economic power and privilege. Whites represented 44 percent of the 37 million U.S. citizens living below the poverty line in 2006. The (historically constructed) sad thing about that is that most of the white people living in poverty think they have more in common with wealthy white people than they do people of color also dealing with poverty. And that keeps folks from banding together and working together to insist on change in an unjust reality.
Posted in Christianity, White Privilege, White Supremacy | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 27, 2008
Eric Stoller blogs:
According to Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, “regular folks” = “white folks”. Chris Matthews isn’t even trying to be covert anymore. He’s just outright saying that whiteness is “regular”. Unbelievable. The stench of white privilege is emanating from the video. Whiteness is “regular”. Whiteness is “normal“. That’s what he’s saying.
Posted in Contemporary Racism, Media, White Privilege, Whiteness | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 25, 2008
Marisol Lebron, over at the blog post pomo nuyorican homo, blogs about Brokeback Moutain (in retrospect of Heith Ledger and the latest Batman film):
I confessed that I actually owned the film on DVD and enjoyed it quite a bit when I first saw it. I still think that the film has some of the most breathtaking cinematography I have seen in a long time. What I hated about Brokeback was the hyped up mainstream celebration of the film and the lack of critical race and sexuality analysis. For me, seeing the film in a theater packed with gay white men in Chelsea, I noticed the film became a collective moment for the predominantly Anglo audience to share their despair at the fact that there was no happy ending for the two white male protagonists.
Posted in Cinema, Contemporary Racism, LGBTQI Issues, Male Supremacy, People of Color, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 17, 2008
I’ve seen with my own two eyes right on this blog exactly how productive conversations with white women can be. I’ve seen incredible love and support and questions and challenges and answers and gotten insane amounts of help from white women.
I’ve also seen right on this blog (and in blog land in general) exactly how unproductive conversations with white women can be. I mean, how many times will radical women of color organizers be called “intersectionalists” before somebody finally figures it out?
Posted in Contemporary Racism, Feminism, People of Color, White Supremacy, Women of Color | Leave a Comment »