Do you know how many of my students can’t even say the word white? You all will talk about African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans all day long but at soon as it comes time to say white peoples’ voices drop. You ain’t have seen that? Come on man, people come up with crazy terms you have never seen before, they would be like: “And that Caucasoid…” You can always tell, you could always tell where the supreme power rests in the society because of the reluctance people have in naming that power.
Part of what privilege requires, guys privilege cannot operate without silence. It cannot operate without silence, and this tremendous silence around whiteness, if you are foolish enough to post a blog on your Facebook that mentions whiteness the amount of attacks that you will get, because privilege defends itself viciously, to maintain the silence that is required for its operation.
So, given this I would argue that the other thing that we need to do is coming off of James Scott’s idea of “anarchist calisthenics,” we need to practice racial anarchist calisthenics. What he, what Scott meant by anarchist calisthenics is that this society has ton of little rules that we all practice without thinking. And he argues that we need to practice breaking little rules consistently because one day this society is going to ask you to prosecute a horrifying rule, that I think we will long live to regret, and the muscles of resistance needs to be exercised, they need to be prepared for the time we need to make that big, big, big, big stand.
And so racial anarchist calisthenics, I would say, begins with all of us getting that tongue muscle back in to place and saying Saurons name. I challenge people; I challenge people every time you say African-American, Asian-American, whatever the group count it and say white just as much. And say white just as much. We don’t do it you guys, we don’t do it, we don’t do it. And yet if we were ever going to confront in a real way white supremacy, which is not only linked to white folks you guys. White supremacy is the racial order in all of us, but if we are not able to discuss whiteness as a category, as a critical way of looking at the world and even simply as just the racial group, we are in some serious trouble. The reality is even if we took every white person on Earth and put them on a space ship and sent them to outer space white supremacy wouldn’t miss a beat.
Junot Díaz - Facing Race (2012)
I once posted a link on my fb about white privilege, explaining what it is. And I got responses from white people about how natives are the ones who have privilege and take away from them. The link never even mentioned Natives!
The closing lyric of “The Only Black Guy at the Indie-Rock Show” goes, “I wonder if white folks who like Jay-Z often feel as alienated as me,” which opens a conundrum. Somewhere between the Beastie Boys and Eminem, hip hop became one of the most popular art forms on earth, one socially acceptable for white people to like. Whereas American society quickly co-opted and overtook rock‘n’roll, crafting it into its own (white) image, hip hop remained in the category of “black” music and ultimately became the easiest way to stick it to the Baby Boomer Establishment. Soon, African-Americans were recognized as the arbiters of cool — finally recognized for our contributions to American popular culture, dating back almost an entire century — and whiteness became a synonym for squareness.
The reason why the Stuff White People Like humor genre has so many holes in it is because the vast majority of the things lampooned are not white-specific, they’re creature comforts of the middle class. But the lines between race and class are getting blurrier and blurrier by the day, and there are quite a few people of color being born into comfortable financial situations who will likely never know what it’s like to be poor. Thus, memes like White Person Bingo end up portraying a common theme in popular culture: class stereotyping poorly and tastelessly masquerading as race stereotyping. This is hugely problematic because it implies people of color are exempt from liking or owning things that are associated with the middle class. Sometimes the people who make these jokes don’t realize there’s a not-so-fine line between craft beer and malt liquor, and it’s not a line of color.
There is the implicit notion that indie rock is generally linked to the “highbrow middle class” end of American culture. (If your Average American Joe drew a line that connected NPR, indie rock, and white people, that line would be straight as an arrow.) Critics and fans suggest it’s an auteur’s medium, while areas of art chiefly practiced by people of color are most often celebrated for their immediacy and accessibility. (In layman’s terms, the most acclaimed works by POC are things you don’t have to think hard about.) This line was less defined in 2012 (Channel Orange and goodkid, M.A.A.D. city, for instance), but the topic of race and class frequently come up when an artist of color creates something widely considered “highfalutin’” or “artistic.” And then critics fall out of their seats to praise genres of music they generally don’t care about, they pretend the entire world has changed because a person of color has created a challenging piece of art. “These artists are moving beyond the artistic vocabulary of the environment,” they’re likely to say.
But what about those kids of color born into the middle class? It’s likely that they’re going to be turned onto the culture all on their own, without the cooler older siblings who passes down their Pixies records. Also, what about the kids of color born into poverty, ones who take solace in skateboarding and punk? Couldn’t we safely assume the vast majority of people who regularly read this website have Screaming Females (or at least Screaming Trees) listed after Schoolboy Q in their iTunes libraries?Martin Douglas, “The Only Black Guy At The Indie Rock Show,” MTVHive.com 1/16/13 (via racialicious)