What does it mean to be white?


Above is a link to an article I wrote a year ago. I would like to add on to this post, because I feel like it fails in the message that I want to communicate. There is so much more about being white that I have come to know in the past year by actively analyzing my white supremacy and culture of oppression.


To be white is to steal the rich cultural history of other racial groups and to claim it as your own. To have museums full of “artifacts” that were taken from other cultures, that are now spectacles and points of reference for white colonialism victory.

To be white is to dominate language and culture by renaming everything we set our eyes on. Alkebulan becomes “Africa”. Turtle Island becomes “Americas”. Indigenous peoples become “Indians”. 

To be white is to use education to rewrite history. Any information which runs contrary to upholding the white culture’s supremacy is rewritten, to appear in favor of whites, to pat whites on the backs. Accurate information is buried and considered ‘identity politics and myths’.

I am white. This is my culture. I am a part of this culture and in no way am attempting to distance myself from it, because the reality is, unless we confront our culture and challenge it’s validity, we will never, ever, ever see racial equality. Whites are the oppressors and we need to become comfortable referring to ourselves as the oppressors in a very uncomfortable way. We cannot embrace positively the role of oppressor; we must acknowledge that we are oppressors but reject the ideology of oppression. 

Many of us attempt to use ideology of colorblindness. But colorblindness is not an idea that is antiracist- it is one of the many forms of oppression. To be color blind is to deny that their is a problem with race and that the aggressors of this oppressive cultures is us, white people. Colorblinded was invented by us in order to skirt accountability for our actions.


“White Guilt” is yet another way that we justify oppression. The tendency for us, whites, to flock to people of color for approval is evidence of ingenuity. We do not need praise, special credit, or a cookie for confronting our own culture’s oppressive tendencies. People do not need to be praised for not murdering; it is a basic human assumption that the act of murder is ethically wrong, and  murder is something than most people ethically would prefer to avoid. Guilt is an emotion. Accountability is an action. 


Here is a great metaphor for why guilt helps nothing.

“Here’s a plate. Drop it on the ground. It’s broken. Say sorry. Is the plate fixed?” 

Saying “sorry” for culture’s ACTIVE and PERVASIVE oppression will not solve the issue. It is also not in our right to glue the plate back together- this falls into the colonialist point of view, that as white people we are superior and therefore we must fix people of color’s problems for them, since they are incapable of doing so. 

We need to talk about the plates that we broke. That’s not white guilt; it is accountability, it is reality, it’s being honest instead of saying what is convenient, what makes us look good. 


We need to acknowledge whiteness as a legitimate aspect of culture and our lives. We need to define white culture and actively talk about it. The only people actively talking about white culture are white supremacists who use falsified history in order to justify oppressive behaviors. We need to talk about the negative aspects of whiteness and white cultures. It’s not people of color’s job to point out the flaws in our own culture, it is OUR job. 


I can go on and on about white culture, what it means to be white, and whiteness. If you are reading this and having difficulties thinking of examples of white culture or your whiteness, then that is an indication that you need to dig deeper and start thinking about it until you have so many things to say, one post is not sufficient. Examine yourself. Check your culture and whiteness, put it into perspective. This is the new goal of whiteness. 

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The oppressive roots of “Proper Grammar”

“People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by reality that they cannot articulate. It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power (40). Those who control language and the formation of language shape reality.”

What are the systematic tools of our culture’s oppression? “Proper Grammar” and language is one of the #1 elements of this. “Grammar Nazi’s” as they are sometimes called are often white people who are enforcing their taught knowledge of the English language. Much like the Germans forced Germanic language on other peoples by requiring individuals to speak German in trade, English had been imposed on groups of the oppressed. By taking away someone’s native language, we take away roots to their culture. We cannot leave this language privilege unchecked. 


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Sweden’s Culture of White Supremacy at Gay Pride

I have a fascination with Sweden and often hold it up to unrealistic ideals. I found this article exposing the deep seated issues of white supremacy culture of Sweden and felt that it was important to share, especially since Sweden is a country which I have often times admired. This is white culture- this is our oppression. How is it in 2012 (the year these pictures were taken) that these things are allowed to happen? It’s evidence that our culture’s oppression is still very much alive. We must not turn a blind eye to these events, we must stare into the face of our own culture of oppression.


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This was posted two years ago, and only now is any “justice” being considered in our Utah courts. Racism and white supremacy has been being experienced by Alta High Students for years and as the comments to this blog are evidence of, white supremacy shows no sign of stopping. “Rawhide” is a white supremist organization in Utah, it is the evidence of racism, the youth perpetuating the cycle, the youth that are so “progressive” and liberal.


I am currently a junior at Alta High School. I’m bi-racial. I have been attending Alta High School since the fall of 2010. I have experienced several occurrences of racism since then but it was the usual ignorant rants that mindless people say.
On March 17, 2011 @ approximately 9:00am the school was gathering for our annual spirit bowl. I woke up excited because the first spirit bowl I attended was fun but this time I was going to actually participate.
While walking across the gym floor to find a seat, a student wearing a white hood with holes for eyes was jumping around. When his friends saw that I had noticed they began pointing and laughing. I immediately demanded that he remove the hood. He then approached me and began dancing in my face and taunting me. I snatch the hood and threw it behind me and his crowd…

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Information wants to be free

Information that is necessary should be free of charge. To profit off of something that should be available to everyone, something that is so important everyone should be in possession of a copy, is to defeat the purpose of your message.


Information wants to be free.


For those who have a truly meaningful message they will find a way to make it free and distribute it for as little to no money as possible.


This is why, with anti-racism work in particular, anyone who is doing it and benefiting from it especially financially benefit, is to be looked upon with dubious intentions. Someone who is benefiting from a message is often false in their believes and motivations. Someone who is willing to do work for free and distribute materials for free clearly have no motivation other than passing on that information, sharing, and educating the community to better society.

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My White Racism

One of the hardest questions for me to answer is in what ways am I racism in my day to day life. It is a COP OUT to believe that whites are racism, that we perpetuate racism, and not to be able to come up with one single way that I, as a white person, am being racist and perpetuating the system. If whites are raised in a system where whites have privilege and whites benefit from the system, then naturally all whites benefiting from the system are racist. But what are the active things I do to support the system? I must actively commit actions that support the system, or else collectively the system would not exist. It is impossible to be the non-racist, ‘pure’ white in a white supremist society.


And so far on my reflections, I can tell you a few instances I am being racist on a day to day basis. The #1 way that I am racist is by being silent and not confronting white supremism when I encounter it.


For example, in a previous post on this blog, I posted about a film “Google and the World Brain”. I talked about the white supremist, eurocentric point of view I saw in that film. When questions were being taken in the Q&A, I raised my hand to ask the question, but I was not as assertive as I could have been. As a white person, encountering something that’s racist and not doing anything to confront it IS racism.


Any time I am silent in the face of racism is supporting the system. So yes, I contribute to racism.


Another tendency I have is blurring the line between what I can do as the oppressor to help the oppressed. The patronizing attitude that I have that, naturally, having oppressed groups of people, is that I want to “Fix” things for them. It sounds nice and humanitarian but it is not, it’s not justifiable. Although as the oppressor I have to own up to what I have done, it is also not my job to decide what should be done to “compensate” for actions taken or make things “right” for the victim. The rapist does not decide their own punishment, nor decide the reparations that the survivor will receive. I am inclined as a white person to want to “help” the oppressed groups by deciding for them how I can help them and how they can benefit from what I have to offer. But I can’t decide that. It is for them to decide, not me, and I often am crossing the lines between confronting my white racism and racistly trying to ‘fix’ the issue in my own white terms.

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Behind the White Supremist culture


As a white person, I spend a lot of my time thinking about why whites are so racist. I am part of a society, part of a system that supports whites and only whites. If I think about all of the situations where WHITE Europeans invaded different cultures and enslaved, I start to see a pattern that although there have been white slaves and whites oppressing whites, most of the time whats being targeted is skin tone. The question is, why do whites think they are so great? Why do whites think they possess something that makes them superior to all skin tones? Why have they been able to successfully market white supremecy as ideal, the white skin tone as beautiful, whiteness as desirable over all other skin colors?

One theory of the reason whites were able to convince the world of this ‘white wet dream’ is that luck, not brains, not wits, not power, but luck allowed them to have the industrial era a little earlier than other cultures. With the support of technology, they could suppress.

Before blacks and other racial groups were targeted, when it was white communities just full of whites and the other racial groups were only in their racial communities, whites picked other things to target people and caste a lower class. If we look historically, one example would be the Jews. The reasons Jews were so easy to target is that they generally had physical characteristics to identify them as such. One could look at someone and “guess” they were a Jew. But still, it was ambiguous.

Blackness, and other racial identities, were much easier to target. It is hard to look at a darker tone of skin and have any doubt that the skin is a darker tone. Thus the African and all other racial skin colors and groups became the target of oppression. And to move it along, the whites began to hate the other skin colors. Dehumanization is the only way to treat a human being the way whites have treated Africans and other racial groups. Hatred is one way to justify immorality, and the cultivation of hatred of a physical characteristic such as skin is not “irrational”, it was a systematic, rational decision of whites that they needed people to labor and be the bottom class. People of different colors have to be that bottom class to the white supremist. With their easily identifiable physical exterior, a white supremist can identify a non-white much easier than say, a Jew. And while the white supremist will still have hatred for the Jew, it is harder to act out on that hatred because the symbolism of what is a Jew is less obvious.

The need for a “bottom class” and to suppress a group of people based on identifiable traits, such as skin tone or physical characteristics most associated with a specific religious group and otherwise, is an innate fear and insecurity of the white supremist. The white supremist fears being on the bottom, and thus the white supremist must create a bottom in order to feel secure in the top. The White Supremist does not value what they, as a white person, have the ability to do on their own. Everything the white supremist system has was built on the backs of the underprivileged and the oppressed. Their wealth, our wealth as whites, comes from the sweat and blood of the groups whites have oppressed out of fear.


There are plenty of things that whites can love about being white. The problem associated with these benefits of being white is that, the perks of whiteness are not because we are white and deserve them. When we analyze the perks of being a white person it must be admitted that all of white privileged comes at the cost of oppressing other groups of people, the groups of people who built our White House and grew our crops on the plantation that garnished our family wealth. The ability to get an education, get a good job, be able to move freely in society without fear of being discriminated against based on race or stereotyped, are all perks of being white. These are things a white person could claim to love about being white. It is problematic because everything whites love about being white are based on the notion of oppressing other groups. Everything that is great about being white comes at the cost of other racial groups. Thus, if we are thinking as rational, humanist, caring people, we cannot love being white. To be white is to be privileged and to be privileged and enjoy it is to support oppression. We must be inherently ashamed of our whiteness because there is no positive side to it but the fact that we have systematically elevated ourselves through violence, force, and the dissemination of other cultures.


There is always justification about why white people should care about their privilege. Why should white supremists care that they are suppressing people, when they are not the group that are being suppressed? We find ways to benefit the white supremist. Booker T. Washington once stated,

I am convinced that the most harmful effect of the practice to which the people in certain sections of the South have felt themselves compelled to resort, in order to get rid of the force of the Negroes’ ballot, is not wholly in the wrong done to be the Negro, but in the permanent injury to the morals of the white man. To wrong the Negro is temporary, but to the morals of the white man the injury is permanent.

The validity of these statements may or may not be debatable. But the point being, whites must justify why they should care about groups that are being oppressed other than themselves, when they benefit from it. You cannot ask the multi-billion dollar corporation to feel guilty about exploiting the masses of people, when by doing such they gain money and benefit from it. The White Supremist attitude is the same; it exploits the racially non-white and does not feel guilt because they do not have any drawbacks from the actions they employ. So falsely, those who care about equality attempt to pique the interest of the white-supremist by peppering messages of anti-racism with self-interest. To be racist, the anti-racists might say, hurts the white person!

But this is the problem. The white supremist should not have to be convinced with self interest the reason why white racism is wrong, why it should be stopped. They should be able to acknowledge on their own accord that to oppress any group whom, naturally are equally, simply because of fear of being on the bottom, is wrong and must be halted. When a white person is convinced against the system of racism in self-interest, the attitude of white racism that created the white racism has not been confronted and thus no progress can be made. The white supremist must say, “I am wrong, I benefit from exploiting others and it is wrong. I desire equality, and that means surrendering my undeserved benefits of being white. These benefits I earned by stripping the rights of other equal groups of people and using those rights to elevate my own behalf.”


So we ask in this situation, what does it mean to be white? If we look at the white history, especially coming to the industrial age and the first encounters with Africans, we will see that whites have always decided that people of obviously different physical characteristics, in this case skin tone, are to be made as inferior. So as a white person, we cannot ignore our own history. We cannot claim we are not racist because we did not do what our ancestors did, simply because, history has made us the empire we have. The position you are in, the wealth and opportunity as white person that you have, was made possible by your ancestors. And even if it were to be proven that your ancestors in specific did not own slaves or benefit directly from such institutions, it does not matter because in this society you now benefit from the work of other white racists, whom, though not related to you, have boasted their power and influence so hard that you now posses undeserved rights. And in that way, the white identity is tinted with racism, the support of racism, the history of oppressing. The white identity is to not have to look at race issues, to be able to walk down the street and think that racial profiling laws are irrelevant because it is not whites who are being profiled. The white identity is never having to be shamed for who they are, being proud for the supposed accomplishments of their race, the greeks and romans, when all of this is lies. To be white is to be able to be proud of one’s past and not be in the position of the oppressed. Whites are the oppressors, so the profile of the white, what it means to be white, is to be powerful at all costs, to strip others’ rights at all costs. Even if there are positives to being white, they have all been earned by the negative aspects of whiteness. The primal fear of being on the bottom penetrates the white race so deep that they must do everything to make sure that they are on top. This is the collective white identity. Perhaps not the individual, but as collective, this is how we define ourselves.

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