Why Whites Hate Affirmative Action
Lack of knowledge on the actual policies. Very few people actually understand the original executive orders, subsequent judicial decisions and legislation beyond sound bites via “news” that is insistent upon painting this as “taking stuff” from Whites for Black people (as if it is “just” about Black people). Honesty, how many White people have reviewed the actual history of why this is needed? It’s almost as rare to find as anyone who calls themselves “patriotic” who has actually read the Constitution or a Christian who has read the Bible. Media soundbites shaped by bigotry (in a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society) absorbed by many Whites whose life ideologies have been shaped by bigotry is not going to produce the nuance and thought necessary to understand affirmative action. (Even so, these two simple, non in-depth cartoons explain this almost as well as the complex legalese: 1 and 2.)
Anti-intellectualism. Piggybacking on the first point, the current culture of anti-intellectualism doesn’t encourage most White people (and Americans at large) to actually investigate things they are “for” or “against.” It’s much simpler to decide to be “for” anything shaped by a legacy of White supremacy and White privilege and against anything that appears to be contrary to the former. Whites are used to being a “baseline,” the “norm,” or not considered a group at all, but those whom other groups are compared to. Sociopolitically, many Whites are having a “day of reckoning” moment by even being classified as a “group,” or a “race” as Tom Scocca pointed out so well in a recent article about Romney’s overwhelming support from Whites. These factors contribute to the resistance to affirmative action.
Ahistorical views on race. If a White person takes the “why isn’t there a White history month” and “why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television station” stances on Whites and the media, it can be safely assumed that they are either uneducated or being willfully ignorant about the role of race in America and why certain spaces exist for Black people amidst the media, public discourse and culture itself. By pretending that the tide of history has no racial element, they can then infer that if everyone “is equal” (as if being equal means being treated equally) Black people are “unfairly” getting “goodies” through affirmative action. This also ignores the fact that even with said theoretical ”goodies,” unemployment, health care, finances, real estate, and more is markedly worse for Black people (and other people of colour) versus White. The latter is written off as Black “character failures” in the ever so common victim blaming ideologies such as American “exceptionalism” and even “patriotism” at times. This is where LIES about “poverty culture” come about as a way to praise greed, wealth and Whiteness and demonize suffering, poverty and Blackness.
The concept of what “greatness” is. The inherent racism involved in assuming that someone White is always “more” qualified, as if being White is a skill itself, is common in everything from college admissions to employment applications. The idea is that some “stupid” minority “stole” a slot from the perfect White knight on a horse who deserved things because he “worked” for them prevails. Further, the idea that perhaps a series of advantages afforded by White privilege is “hard work” would be even more humorous if it wasn’t despicable. Said privileges often place Whites ahead in spaces by sheer virtue of the luxury of Whiteness, not any actual work. The myth of meritocracy is a plague on the American psyche. (Christopher Hayes wrote about this oh too well in his book Twilight Of The Elites - America After Meritocracy. Also, I recently read a fascinating study about the REALITY of financial aid versus the myth that “stupid” minorities “take all of the college monies,” and other assorted lies.)
A zero/sum view of racism. Ultimately, many Whites feel that any joy, success or progress in Black life means misery, failure and regression in White life. Period. This tunnel vision view is rooted in racism and fear. Research has revealed that many cisgender heterosexual White men feel like the “real” victims in America. Even if they are victims, would that not be at the hands of men just like them, except of a higher social class? Not to them. Racist social narratives involve the worship of “job creators” (the same ones who fire these men) as heroes because after all, they share Whiteness even if they don’t share class, status or cash. Other research has revealed that while some Whites view past times (during and pre-Civil Rights era) as a time more racist against Blacks, they view today as “more racist” against Whites. Of course this is false and has more to do with the idea of some Black people not suffering and Barack Obama’s existence more than any in-depth study of how race is a primary factor to consider when examining socioeconomic status. The enlightened exceptionalism involved in some who even choose to praise Oprah or Beyonce or LeBron James is what allows them to pretend that life for the average and for most Black people has dramatically changed, when for many, it has not. Claims of “reverse racism,” which doesn’t exist, are more common now than ever.
People who benefit from affirmative action also want it destroyed. While more than anyone else, White women have benefited from affirmative action, many of them stand with White men against affirmative action while simultaneously benefiting from it. Most people now know the name Abigail Fisher and know it well. Further, many older Black people (primarily men from what I’ve seen) want it dismantled despite the fact they benefited from it in the past. They clearly knew that in their time especially, being qualified was not enough. Assumed inferiority blocked their way.
"Slowly I began to understand fully that there was no place in academe for folks from working-class backgrounds who did not wish to leave the past behind. That was the price of the ticket. Poor students would be welcome at the best institutions of higher learning only if they were willing to surrender memory, to forget the past and claim the assimilated present as the only worthwhile and meaningful reality."
bell hooks (via wretchedoftheearth)
On Cultural Appropriation (TW: NUDITY)
I am a Caucasian, and this is my stuff. Is this cultural appropriation?
I don’t think so.
It’s called having a healthy appreciation for Native American culture, and a deep respect for both nature and my personal spirituality. Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by Aboriginal culture, lifestyle, and spirituality. My father took me to Pow-Wows in our area, and put me in a camp that taught me a bit about the Aboriginal culture (since that was the tribe that was in my area at the time). I learned how to set a teepee, how to light a fire by rubbing sticks, how to make pemmican and a tea using cedar pines, among many other such things.
Many (if not all of) the items above were bought from Native Americans at Pow-Wows andNative American art stores.
My spirituality is similar if not somewhat related to some of the Native American beliefs, and I was raised to love and respect nature. I identify as otherkin, and am a Green Pagan Witch.
This is not cultural appropriation.
[Image removed for being egregiously awful]
…And this is.
Using such a sacred item in such a disrespectful way is offensive.
Please understand this difference, and stop whining and throwing “cultural appropriation” everywhere.
Sweetie, you might want to sit for this, because I have a lot to say.
You don’t get to decide what is and isn’t cultural appropriation. The person who is hurt gets to tell you what is hurtful, not the other way around.
Let’s start with some fact checking:
‘Aboriginal’ isn’t a tribe. It’s a word describing indigeneity. The original native folks of a land are its aboriginal people. For example, white people are aboriginal in Europe.
Therefor ‘The Aboriginal Culture’ was not ‘the tribe in your area at the time’
What time, by the way? Do you think that the NDNs in your area are gone?
“I learned how to set a teepee”
So a plains culture, then? I hope?
“how to light a fire by rubbing sticks”
If you weren’t using a bowdrill, this is some bullshit. Nature Survival Skills aren’t an NDN thing, they’re a nature scouts thing. NDN people have routinely used the most convenient technology available to them; bowdrills and flint/striker were popular pre-contact because they were the height of technology in the 1490’s. Casual observation tells me that the most popular firelighting method among NDNs is this:
(beaded lighter cover by Mary Whiteshield Lomax)
Cedars and pines are two different kinds of tree. Cedar pines aren’t a thing. Both of them will make a tea that cures scurvy, though.
“Many (if not all of) the items above were bought from Native Americans at Pow-Wows and Native American art stores.”
Yes good. It’s good to support native artists. But here’s the thing though: You can still appropriate using things that you’ve bought from NDN artisans.
Have fun with your pagan self, but don’t think for a minute that you know shit about ‘Native American Beliefs’. Because you think that those words mean something. NDN spirituality is not monolithic, a frillion nations have a frillion belief systems, some of which are mutually exclusive to others and none of which are based on converting outsiders. We do not recruit.
You have a problem, and it’s name is romanticism and/or exoticism.
It’s not that you’re buying/owning.displaying in your home art made by NDN people. That’s cool. In fact, that’s invited.
It’s that you’re doing it because you think it has some kind of deeper meaning than ‘look at this amazing and beautiful art that I bought!’
It’s because you think that making fire with sticks and preparing pemmican and drinking cedar or pine tea or otherwise engaging in anachronistic play is somehow genuinely NDN. Let me ask you, would you visit a living museum like Old Sturbridge Village or Colonial Williamsburg to feel more genuinely white? To feel -deeply connected- to something magical and spiritual?
This attitude is not less hurtful to me than fucking hipsters frolicking in fields in war bonnets.
I want you to take a few minutes and go watch Chimamanda Adichie talking about The danger of a single story. I can wait.
The kind of racism you’re exhibiting HURTS ME.
When you only speak about Native American people in the past tense, in certain contexts. When you only mention us as pertains to White history. When you talk about us in stereotypical ways and think that we have just one culture and that you can be a part of it. When you conflate being NDN with anachronism and animals and magic. This is racist. This is how racist thought is cemented in your mind and the minds of others.
When you make posts like this absolving YOUR form of racism because it’s not as egregiously awful as OTHER forms of racism, it adds one more post to the ponderous pile of this shit that creates the pervasive cultural notion that this is what people should think of when they hear ‘Native American’ , and IT HURTS REAL NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE. It creates, in the minds of the people that see your post, a stereotype - a caricature of what Native people are/should be like that erases us in reality and removes us from their perception of the modern world.
I am tired of cultural appropriation.
I am tired of having to constantly be an educator of people who largely don’t want to be educated and of people I’m trying to educate getting self-righteously angry (And refusing to learn. And continuing to be angry) when they’re confronted. I am tired of being -hurt- by racism. I am tired of people who claim that they love and admire ‘Native American Culture’ but in fact know fuck all about Pan-Indian culture or the fact that ‘Native American’ is a blanket term for hundreds of hugely disparate indigenous nations across two continents and that we do NOT have just one culture.
And before you argue that you didn’t MEAN to be racist or that you were just having fun, before your many white allies rally around you to tell me how wrong I am and what a good person you are and how you are not a racist…know this:
Racism is not in your intent.
Your intent is immaterial in how racist your actions are.
This isn’t about you BEING a racist. It’s about you DOING A THING that is racist.
Your intent doesn’t change it. Your ignorance of its meaning doesn’t change it. It’s got nothing to do with you as a person and everything to do with the meaning of your action in the context of sociocultural history.
Please watch this video.
If you think that the stuff you did at summercamp or the DEEP FEELS about the art you bought are somehow ‘celebrating’ anyone’s culture, that speaks to some really problematic shit in how you’ve been educated, what you’ve been exposed to, what you think you know about what Native Americans are and who we are. And while it’s not your fault that the culture of your upbringing has handed you that shit on a silver platter and said ‘eat it’, and not your fault that you did eat it without knowing better, it’s still bullshit and it’s still hurtful. You have the Internet at your disposal. You can become educated as to what Native Americans really are like and what we really are about. And it’s not this Colors of the Wind bullshit.
And while I’m at it re: educating you, lemme just grab a quote from a subsequent post:
“It’s like nobody cared up until a few months ago, and now everybody is crying “cultural appropriation”!”
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, CHILD.
WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS SHIT FOR THE LAST 200+ YEARS. YOU ONLY STARTED NOTICING A FEW MONTHS AGO. THAT DOESN’T MAKE THIS SHIT NEW.
Look at your life, look at your choices.
"Black students are three times more likely to be suspended than white students. 1 out of every 6 black student was suspended in 2010."
This is your daily reminder that I have no obligation to educate any particular person about my marginalized statuses, and I have no obligation to be nice to someone who demands to be educated. If I do educate someone, I am doing it out of all the kindness in my heart.
And if you tone-police me for giving you a snarky/angry answer when you obviously expected me to educate you, it’s still not my job to educate your ignorant ass.
Above all, capitalism wastes human life. The U.S. spends billions to warehouse 2 million people—many of them young Black and Latino men—in overcrowded prisons. It provides sub-par education to millions of poor students, sending a message that their lives will amount to nothing.
Are people homeless in America because there’s a shortage of homes? And if that’s the case, is there a shortage of homes because we don’t have the concrete, the wood and the steel to build them?
The truth is that under capitalism, there’s no incentive to build low-cost housing for the homeless—because it isn’t profitable to do so.
The same goes for the more than 800 million people in the world who go hungry. It isn’t profitable to feed them. So food is stockpiled or destroyed rather than distributed to them."
Fucking Black History Month.
I hate that shit. Hate it.
First of all, I don’t want any boobie consolation facts about who invented listerine strips, the stoplight, air conditioning, or ice cream.
TELL ME ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF COWRIE SHELLS MY BODY WAS WORTH IN THE TRADE.
Tell me about how I very well may have literally be BRANDED into Christianity the moment they would’ve started to wash my African history from my mind and called me a slave.
Tell me about how and why minstrel shows came about.
Tell me that Catch a Tiger by the Toe used to be about a Nigger.
Tell me how many of us were taken from west Africa.
Tell me about Jim Crow (in depth) and Black Codes, income inequality that still exists today that keeps just just as Jim Crow-ed now as we were then.
Tell me even about how our music was stolen, how were started Rock music, how we gets no credit for that.
Stop glossing over our history with these tired as 1-fact-a-day ass school announcements.
And THEN tell my ass why we don’t just teach our actual history in the public school curriculum EVERY DAMN DAY like we’re not sitting next you your white asses learning about you in ever medium possible EVERY DAMN DAY.
I’m always surprised at what a good job my school district did at teaching at least some of this (and outside of black history month). We learned about racist undertones and history of literature in English classes, the history and origin of music genres in music class, Jim Crow and post-reconstruction codes. My school district was predominantly white and Asian too, so I don’t see why there can’t be a more streamlined way to get this to happen. It infuriates me when I meet people at school (and even my own boyfriend) who know nothing about black history. And the fact that most people had to go out of their fucking way to learn basic history. It’s also not hard to integrate black history into history as a whole. It’s a pretty big part of history that should pop up a lot in a normal history class if the curriculum wasn’t designed by or taught by racists.
Tell me about how Black women dealt with systematic rape and cocercion. I did not learn that until COLLEGE. Like in public school we’d talk about how the children were sold and families were split up…but we never once looked at the racial dynamics of rape and mixing. We never talked about how Black women would often abort or kill their own children to save them. Things like that.
Ponder a fictional scene:
The year is 2092. The hundred-year-old man lies on his death bed, contemplating his long life. His children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren surround him. He has lived a good life — there have been good times and bad times; he has accomplished much that he is proud of and had many experiences that he’d prefer to forget. One of his favorite grandsons looks into his eyes and asks, “Grandpa, is there anything you regret in your life?” The old man closes his eyes. Just when his family thinks he has drifted off to sleep, he opens them again and says with an expression of deep, wistful longing, “Son, I just really wish with all my heart that I could have scored higher on the state-mandated achievement tests.”
The absurdity of this scene is clear. And yet we in education have allowed politicians to push us to act as if the most important goal of our work is to raise test scores. Never mind the development of the human beings in our charge — the integrity, the artistic expressiveness, the ingenuity, the persistence, or the kindness of those who will inherit the earth — the conversation in education has been reduced to a conversation about one number.
- Lisa Delpit, Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom
The entire education system summed up in a three panel comic strip.
Your Daily Spanish Lesson
- Harto/a (adjective) = Fed up, full, a lot, tired.
- ¡Estoy harta de la política americana! = I am fed up with American politics!