Tuesday, November 2, 2010

White People, Whiteness and Senseless Repetition

In the last two weeks, two posts have appeared on Whiteness and the pearl clutching was immediate and intense. Honestly, I am tired of these reactions.  It's not like we just started writing about Whiteness as a phenomenon, but it seems that each time myself or one of the contributors writes about it, the furor that it creates is so ridiculous that I end up writing a post much like I am writing now. White people refers to the individual, whereas; Whiteness refers to the systemic power that is attached to the individual irregardless of their political beliefs because of racism, colonialism and slavery.  In short, no matter how anti-racist a White person may or may not be, they cannot rid themselves of the scourge of Whiteness.

It is the absolute ugliness of Whiteness and a desire to hold onto undeserved privilege that makes the acknowledgment of its existence so difficult for many.  There is a tendency to speak as though POC and Whiteness are on an equal footing, which completely erases the power of Whiteness.  This manifests in whining that POC engage in racism against Whiteness when we speak truth to power, or re-centering the conversation on Whiteness when POC speak about their lived experiences.  In everyday actions like failing to engage with POC or approving of media which affirms White supremacy, White people gain from the so-called invisible actions of Whiteness.

Nothing in the aforementioned paragraph is new.  Not only have I said the same thing in various ways, so have many other anti-racists.  The very fact that I had to take time out of my day and write this piece is proof of the power of Whiteness working upon this blog and myself as an individual.  The power of Whiteness means that POC are constantly defending against it or constantly being forced to explain ourselves.


One of the rules of this space is that if it isn't about you, don't make it about you.  This means that when the conversation of Whiteness comes up, if the behaviour being described does not reflect you, or the attitudes of people that you know, feel free to move on, but interrupting the conversation to protest that ALL White people are aren't like that is a sign of your privilege because the readers of this space already know that.  Telling us that we don't have any lived experience as a White male is again another ridiculous argument.  From birth to death POC must negotiate the power of White male patriarchy -- so trust me, we get what you are all about.  It is you, who routinely fails because when given the choice to engage you invariably go elsewhere.  Just through lived experience, the average POC knows more about Whiteness, race, and imperialism than the average White person.  For us, this isn't an academic conversation, this is the very state of our lives.

Two and half years ago when I started this blog, I was far more tolerant of the derails and the constant demands to be spoon fed information.  I was willing to oblige those who thought it would be fun to have a debate on my life; however, today you will just have to excuse my abruptness, because each time I am forced to deflect the conversation to deal with someone who refuses to get their 101 on, it takes away from the growth of this blog and it is patently unfair.  I know that Whiteness is used to being catered to, but enough is enough and your sense of entitlement does not extend to a place I started to give voice to those who Whiteness has sought to silence.  Your fee fees are insignificant to the pain that we walk through this world with and if this is too much for you to handle, feel free to find another blog to troll.