Welcome to my blog. Iiswhite — as in the “I” is always assumed to be white. As white people, we always assume that our teachers will be white, our doctors will be white, characters in books are white, stories in the news will be about white people, etc., etc., etc. Let’s face it. Our world is white. Or is dominated by whites. Congress. Academic Administrations. Major league sports team owners and coaches. Bankers. Most positions of power and authority are held by white people. As white people, we expect it. And, are a bit unnerved when it is not the case.
We may see more Black and brown and Asian faces in the movies and on our television screens thanks to The Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and Blackish. But, let’s be honest. Those spaces are not real. We have a sitting president who refers to Mexicans as rapists and terrorists, and African nations as “shit-hole countries”. It is no coincidence that he is referring to places where brown and black skinned people live. No one is worrying about a border wall at Canada.
Iiswhite a primer, of sorts, for white people on what being white really means.* Academics and intellectuals dominate the discussion on whiteness and race. I often find their work confusing and ineffective. The blog offers my musings on the white world. I call it as I see it. Iiswhite is an extension of my work as an anti-racist worker. My commitment to creating change has led me to the open world of social media: where words, art, and action peacefully collide. I created iiswhite to help people see how being white impacts our daily lives for the better, in ways we cannot see or are willing to admit, and at the expense of non-whites.
* Most non-whites know all about whiteness — its benefits, privileges, and perks.
A Simple Introduction:
We white people are all familiar with the uncomfortable feeling at the bottom of our stomachs when read about the history of enslavement. We all “feel bad”. But it happened before many of us of born, or (for some of us) before our grandparents immigrated to this country.
We white people feel horrible when we hear about present day racist hate crimes, such as the Charleston Church Massacre. But most of us are not members of a white supremacist group. We are disgusted when we hear about the white college student who hung a noose from his dorm window. We dismiss it as stupid college behavior. And, when an 8-year old boy is hung from a tree with rope by teens boys, it gets dismissed as childish behavior. The chief of police even said that the those “teens need to be protected” and the “mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life.”
We all agree that racism exists, be we cannot agree on what is racist behavior, when it happens, or where it happens. Ask anybody who is non-white and they will tell you, “Everyday!”
What does being white have to do with whiteness and racism? If I am white, am I racist by default? How can that be? Am I supposed to feel guilt? Shame? Its that required? Is that useful?
Iiswhite looks at the ways that being white has meaning. Iiswhite shows how whiteness is not an ethnicity or a culture, but a state of being defined by not being black or brown or “red” or “yellow”. Iiswhite makes visible the daily examples of a lived white experience (the perks of being white) and how:
Whites live in a world that is more inviting, with more options, and without a certain kind of pain.
The goal of iiswhite is to help white people understand and change our own practices of whiteness. Unraveling and examining our own selves as white is not easy or fun. But it is necessary. Our stories reveal the ways of whiteness — the practice of racism. And, how whiteness is built into our families, our communities, and our culture.
Do not worry about being a racist. Do not worry about being politically correct. We are not responsible for being white. We are not responsible for being raised in a racist society. The challenge is to be honest with ourselves, to recognize that we are white, and by being white, we are connected to and complicit in all acts of whiteness.