A couple posts back, I observed that a comment by one of the white Survivor contestants provided a crisp example of white privilege. (If you're not sure what that term means, the 50 "daily effects of white privilege" listed by Peggy McIntosh here provide one overview—I freely admit that I haven't studied the issue of white privilege, on accounta having white privilege and therefore not needing to think about my own race much.)
Yesterday, I received a long e-mail from a random blog reader I'll call Defensive White Chick. DWC writes, I agree that ‘the white race’ has no heritage- -we have truly forgotten our specific and unique pasts and blended together in forgetfulness. I'm not sure where the agreeing comes in, because that's not what I was getting at. (Irony much?) You seem to have no problem lumping us into a category of blobby whiteness, where no other identification is pertinent to you. Now, now. I do see differences among various white people. But I also see differences among people of other ethnicities, which was kinda one of my main points.
My benighted correspondent also complained of the so-called double standard in which we won't see a movie called "Black Men Can't Jump": comments are made against us [meaning white folks] on a daily basis in our media and the everyday populace and NOBODY blinks an eye. DWC also insists that something she saw on the TV show Black/White is wrong—that black Americans no longer need fear any violence from "anglos" on a regular basis, that such a fear is a 1950s artifact. That reminds me of college, when some students of color tried to raise awareness of racism on campus. I had a friend, a white guy who grew up in Mankato, Minnesota, who insisted that there was no racism. Now, how would the average white person know what non-white people might be experiencing? I knew a black guy there (mind you, this was a small college in a small town in Minnesota) who once said, "I have to shower twice a day so people don't think black people stink." That wasn't a stereotype I'd ever heard, but you know what? That discussion of white privilege has the following at #33: " I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race." If you're white, then no, you don't think about such things. (Is there any white person who can dispute that point?) People who aren't white, hey, some do worry about that sort of thing.
My jaw dropped when I read DWC's final paragraph: Regardless of whether you like it or not, we are the standard. We conquered the Indians and founded this nation. Many of this countries holidays are reflective of anglo heritage. I know it is not politically correct, but you and anyone else who pisses and moans about the anglo race wouldn’t be here enjoying your current lifestyle without us and our influence. Oh no, you din't! Can you believe that? "Genocide made this country what it is today! You should be grateful for the atrocities of the past, for they have made us great!" (I paraphrase, of course.) I just don't even have a good response to this (aside from things like saying "It's country's, not countries, doof."). Anyone have a pithy response to suggest? Maybe something like [irony] "African-Americans wouldn't be here enjoying life it weren't for the institution of slavery!" or "Can we outlaw all the holidays of non-anglo origin? Because they're just wrong." [/irony] or "Omigod, you're making this up, aren't you? This is parody...isn't it?" (It isn't.)
The last paragraph ended on a lighter note: if you are 'white' then i am sorry that you dislike your own people. if you are not then i would ask that you look at your own racism objectively. Isn't that a wonderful concept? The self-loathing member of the dominant culture? It's a great twist on the usual application of the "self-loathing" tag to people outside the tradition of privilege. I think the next step is to expand it to men. Do you know any self-loathing affluent straight white Christian men who loathe their own affluent whiteness? (Mr. Tangerine suggests that we may find them if we check S&M dungeons...but let us not psychoanalyze the folks who are into that.)