What are you scared of?
Last week we finished off “Whiteness: an Introduction” with the idea of ‘passing’. What does it mean for a person or group of people ‘pass’ in a white society? This question made me ask more questions, how does one pass in the United States and country that prides itself on being the Land of the Free and a space where anyone, of any culture, and any religion can succeed? There was no answer but this can kind of go along with my last blog about our values and norms. That is of course a quick synopsis but something to question yourself with nonetheless.
The rest of last week and this week we are focusing on the “Critical White Studies” Anthology edited by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. ANTHOLOGY! I always dreaded the term in high school because it usually meant something long and boring, which not to say every word of this book keeps me enthralled but most of the passages are actually fairly interesting. The book opens with a satirical piece on what John R. Graham calls the “Great White Male”. Through this article, published in USA Today in 1993, Graham talks about how the “Great White Male” is being threatened by the minorities who are taking over! After talking through this in class we decided he was asking the question, what are you (the great white male) so afraid of? If you really are the best of the best why do you feel so threatened? Although this was written in 1993 it is funny how some of the same arguments are being made today. ‘They are taking our jobs!’ not only is this a quote and theme from a hilarious episode of South Park it is also a common complaint made by the dominate class about people of color. We talk as if those jobs were rightfully ours to begin with and they (people of color) are wrongfully taking them from us by (dare I say it ?!) being more qualified and harder working. This is where the idea of Affirmative Action comes into play. In class we have touch upon the topics of myths, such as the Welfare Queen or how Affirmative Action gives jobs and college spots to uneducated, undeserving people of color. Being this is not true what people who argue against Affirmative Action are saying is ‘I am afraid I can’t compete’. And don’t get me started on the reverse discrimination/racism talk, as if discrimination and racism can and should only happen to people of color. Well that is my rant on this subject. The anthology is packed with articles of different perspectives and stories and something that I have found to be very helpful for this course, you should definitely look into it if my outbursts above interest you at all.
Today (Monday) we watched a taped talk by Tim Wise. If you have not heard of Tim Wise…you probably should. Wise is a wonderful public speaker first off, a man who is capable of putting the (hugely white) audience at ease even during a talk on something as uncomfortable as white privilege. I am not sure the name of the talk but I encourage you to youtube him because he does say some very interesting and thought-provoking things on topics that you may never have thought of as racist.
I hope you can all get through my rants and rambles, I know this may not be the conventional block featuring blog but in a class like whiteness studies we discuss, so that is what I wanted to do with you here. There are opinions and comments that are thrown all over our classroom and I want some of those to be put into your minds as well, things to ponder in your free time if you will.