Thank you, I See You, for your observations. I am a little busy today, but I wanted to take some time to briefly answer your questions.
Originally posted by I See You
I do understand what truthseeka and ceci say about white privilege on many accounts and It can be seen without looking too hard.
Thank you for simply admitting that fact without ridicule, derision and attacking the messenger.
I have not read through all thirty nine pages so forgive me if this question has already been asked. I want to know what you mean when you say
"white" people? Just the american "white" or would an irishman,german,russian or finnish person also be labled "white" to fit in the white
privilege discussion? I find it hard to put people into colors rather than their ethnicity.
This is a discussion about race. And since the "colors" afforded to race is a societal and political construct (and not a biological one), the
designation of "whiteness" is being used instead of ethnicity.
It would be rather different if it were "white ethnic privilege". Then, we would have to entertain the Irish, Russian, German, etc. heritage when
discussing this phenomenon in society.
I tend to think the reason why some members of the dominant culture find it hard to put people into "colors" is because they haven't had to deal
with the aspect of "race" in the same pattern as people of color. When you've been socialized not to think about your race on a daily basis, why
would you start now? When your race has been validated in society by simply sight, institution, laws and social values and norms, you may not be
socially geared to attribute your race to anything.
People of color have always had to deal with these aspects because our color has been put forth in every societal institution, social norm, value and
cultural belief. We have been made to "see" our color because there aren't as many examples in dominant culture that demonstrate the complete
validation of our races as whites do.
Due to this constant validation in society, "whiteness" is rendered "invsibile"--hence the "invisible knapsack" of white privlege. Hence, when
you have the luxury of not thinking of your race, then it would be perfectly natural to consider ethnicity.
However, one's race is made painfully clear when it has to do with "social disparity" and who benefits as a result of it.
Do you consider yourself african-american or american?
I believe that if you're born in america regardless of the color of your skin that you're an american not african-american.
That's nice to solely think about being American, but society has not given people of color (let alone Black people) the luxury of being
"Americans". History has designated for us these catagories due to prejudice, laws, social norms, values, beliefs systems and other aspects of
society because of whiteness. Our race has been made "painfully aware to us through a prevalence of actions, legalities, values, socio-cultural
norms and language indicating that we're "not Americans".
And it is quite interesting to think that when people of color assert their race, that white people want to work towards "rendering" our color
invisible too--as a way to avoid discussing the painful issues that construct society.
To me, labeling as such african-american,asian-american etc. is just adding to the issue of separation amongst americans. I would be
german-irish-italian-polish american but I consider myself just american.
Of course you would, if your race was constantly validated in society. But, the "separation" talk is still connected with the notion of
"color-blindness". Through studying it and seeing patterns of this langugage through race-related talk, I find that members of the dominant culture
are socialized to believe that since they don't "see" race (through this constant validation), then others must think like they do.
However, this same belief system also has liabilities because of this constant privilege of not being able to "see" race:
1)There isn't a sense of community or culture.
2)There is an inability to construct a sense of "whiteness" in society.
3)And, it is very hard to articulate how "whiteness" fits into society due to this concept of invisibility.
It makes perfect sense then to just see yourself as American and seeing this designations as a part of "segregation". When you start articulating
how to speak about your "color", then you would have to entertain the ugly truths that such "invisibility" conveys. Furthermore, the political
rhetoric attached to "not seeing a color" and "finding that it renders "separation" is predicated on the belief that everyone must assimilate
toward a society based on the belief systems of white people.
For communities of color, this is not an easy thing. And because this notion of whiteness has caused divisions in our communities (based on
'colorism', 'white privilege' and other social concepts extending toward legalities), whiteness means that we too have to "render" our heritage
and race "invisible" in order to assmiliate into larger society. And this has been the cause of a lot of identity issues--afforded to the color
bar. And people of color who have "assimilated" are appreciated by white people because they simply adopt "their culture" and "their ways."
To me, such a statement reflects cultural and racial superiority. Not only that, to not accept "division" and "separation" see to reflect the
notion that our cultures and heritage is not good enough to acknowledge in the larger society, therefore we must ignore our pasts and color to be more
like white people so they can "accept us" for what we're not instead of who we are.
So you see, not "seeing yourself as anything" is not the simplest, nor the easiest thing to do--especially when it has to do with being American.
In a society as complex as ours, you just "can't" render yourself simply American when societal disparities communicate the lack of disrespect and
empathy the dominant culture has for one's heritage and race.
[edit on 1-4-2007 by ceci2006]