Tuesday, July 31, 2012

White is right?

“White is right” is the idea that mainstream White American culture is always right. It determines what is “normal” and acceptable and what is not. It is that by which everything else is judged. It is a narrow, racialized, racist ethnocentrism. Note: In this post, as in most posts on this blog, “white” means White American. If you could hear the heart of American culture beating, you would hear this:
white is right white is right white is right white is right It courses through every vein of the culture. It is the message that every American gets hit with, day after day after day. At school, on television, from the news, from friends, from family. It is like it is in the air or in the water. It is inescapable. It brainwashes. No matter what your colour. People are taught to be ashamed of their true selves if it does not fall within narrow white norms. So: White English becomes the most right. White women become the most beautiful. American society becomes the most just, a model for the whole world. The white account of history becomes the most true. Each of these should be laughable, but they are not. Side effects: white as “default” and “universal” the melting pot conformity among the white middle-class internalized racism among people of colour the white lens imperialism weaves The white belief that they have no culture The white belief that they are Basically Good The white belief that they are the good guys of history Angelina Jolie’s lips
Black women have had full, beautiful lips since forever, but the mainstream American culture saw them as big and ugly. But on Angelina Jolie, a white Hollywood actress, they became beautiful. Suddenly. Likewise, tanned skin was considered ugly till the late 1900s when it became prized among the white upper middle-class. Or: jazz and hip hop were dismissed as ghetto music, even by the black middle-class, till white people started liking it. Tanned skin did not change. Jazz music did not change. Big lips did not change. Just the White Seal of Approval. An idea that comes out of a white man’s mouth is taken way more seriously than anything a woman or person of colour says – even when he is just repeating what they said. Most Americans regard the Bible as the Word of God. But even that is judged by White American culture, not the other way round. While many do determinedly stick to their understanding of the Bible, others simply set their idea of right and wrong according to “what everyone does”. “Everyone” meaning Most White People. Because white is right. Righter than God. Even clear evils like genocide and slavery, which no one in their right mind would waste any breath defending, are excused and downplayed! Because otherwise it would become apparent that white is not always right, that in fact it can be wrong in extremely terrible ways.

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