Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Jersey Teens Create a White Girl Club

I recently came across a story about a group of teens who created a White Girl's Club. The club  became so popular that it quickly spread to other schools. Apparently, a group of these young women showed up at school on PI day wearing shirts identifying them as members of this club with a teachers permission no less. The teens communicated using instagram and twitter.  
 Another Franklin High School club member commented the club members aren’t offending anyone and tells others to “stfu.”

When another girl commented that the postings were offending people, a club member responded that they weren’t offending anyone.

“You’re choosing to take offense to statements that weren’t about you in the first place,” a club member responded.
Twitter postings by this student included comments such as “Al Sharpton ain’t gonna save your ass now” and “Sometimes I wonder if I crossed a line, but then I remember I’m white and I can do whatever the (expletive) I want.”That same girl sent out a tweet saving “Africa this way” with a arrow pointing down. (source)
Thankfully, the school board is disbanding the club and demanding that those involved get counseling.  The local NAACP is apparently going to investigate the club.  There are some parents speaking out about the club itself, but I am more interested in the parents of the teens involved in the club itself.  You see, attitudes like this don't just develop over night; they are carefully nurtured for years and represent a society which uplifts Whiteness in every agent of socialization.  The families of these girls in particular let them down because they didn't not confront their White privilege and in fact encouraged them to believe and promote their undeserved White privilege.

A White Girl's club is certainly not needed anywhere in North America.  Unsurprisingly, many of the comments on the linked article seek to defend the teams by claiming hypocrisy citing the possible intervention of the NAACP.  A group dedicated to the advancement of Blacks is seen as racist by many of the commenters. Groups like the NAACP can only be deemed problematic by those refuse to admits the historic privilege which Whiteness has lived with for centuries and how this privilege has negatively impacted the lives of POC.  They absolutely refuse to acknowledge that ongoing inequalities exist and claim that the pendulum has swung so far that Whiteness is now in fact systemically under attack.

 In recent years, we have seen an upswing in students wanting to form clubs to support Whiteness, which suggests that youths are being taught that Whiteness is under threat. What they perceive as a threat is actually a fear of a loss of privilege.  The irony is that this loss of privilege is largely in the mind because Whiteness still exists with massive social power and White people can always count on the colour of their skin to grant them access, opportunities, power, and wealth, relative to POC in the exact same circumstance. These children are being taught that they will not be able to benefit from their Whiteness like generations before them.

The idea that Whiteness is a stigmatized and oppressed group is pervasive despite how ridiculous it is. Look for example at some of the comments on, 'White Girls Club' at Franklin High School forced to go to counseling:
How is it the BET ( Black Entertainment Television ) channel exist's with no trouble,but the moment something associated with white people its a big problem? Double standard me thinks...

Eric F
So a group dedicated to "Colored People" is upset and sitting in judgement of a group dedicated to White Girls? Hypocrisy of the highest order. This "counseling" BS needs to be refused by the parents. We don't want your political correctness social engineering garbage.

These girls are racial aware! They are more educated on race than most people here making comments! White women who have minority spouses are 12.4 Xs more likely to be murdered by them. Vey little chances of that happening to these girls.

Bob Backlund
So other groups can have appreciation months, tv channels I.e. bet, have groups like NAACP which is all a okay but if a group of girls not harming anyone or inciting violence or harm towards others is in need for counseling because they are proud of their heritage?


If a group of students started a Black Girls' Club, or a Muslim Girls' Club, or a Lesbian club, no one would dare touch them.
As disturbing as these comments are, they are hardly surprising.  I want to focus on Ralphie's comments because though short, they are very illustrative.  No matter what marginalized group we are talking about, they are always attacked when they organize. Every June straight people line up to complain about not having a straight pride parade. Despite the fact that POC are under represented in the media, television stations which focus on marginalized people are attacked as being racist. Marginalied people organizing, communing and supporting each other is threatening because that means we aware and not content to accept a second class status.  These groups are necessary for our survival, our progress and our mental health. Every marginalization is stronger in numbers and dominant groups know this and that is why they are continually under attack.

When dominant groups form clubs such as the White Girl Club they are reacting to a perceived loss of privilege.  They are ignorant of how power really works and that is why they twist themselves into knots to justify their actions.  They talk about the idea that there is social pressure to be ashamed and guilty about the historical actions of their group and a need to stimulate feeling of pride to counteract this. They talk about the perceived social pressure to conform.  What they refuse to understand is that this isn't about historical guilt or shame but the ways in which they continue to dominate the social world and oppress out groups. One need not feel ashamed for ancestors who engaged in slavery but one should feel shame for continuing to benefit from it, and not pushing for equality.

No powerful group in history has ever willingly capitulated or taken responsibility for their actions.  These groups represent a form of resistance to change. They will continue to gather and propagate outmoded forms of thinking simply because it benefits them. So when these powerful groups attempt to pacify us by telling us how much better things have gotten, we simply need to look to groups like this to see how far we have to go.