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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