being white…

November 7, 2006

posted to previous blog on April 07, 2006
being white…
Reading a new book: Being WHITE: Stories of Race and Racism, 2005 – Karyn D. McKinney.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself (only now on the 11th page), but I think this one could be a launching pad for future endeavours. Similar to any research paper, the first section deals with research methodology. Siince its format allows, the preliminary thought process, background, history, participants, etc. are explicated in depth. Now normally, I would have skipped this ‘Introduction of unnecessary particulars’, but here, I am entrenched. All the while that I have read lines (and footnotes!) within these 11 pages, I have been stopping, starting, going back, getting stuck:
a) dreaming about all the social phenomena for which I would apply similar methods to study them, and,
b) considering some of my friends’ reactions.
…I find myself snickering to myself and thinking… when did this happen – that I became such a dork?

When did i begin to engender difference? Maybe it was when ‘little town, in Canada’ wasn’t good enough when asked “where are you from?” or “uh, i mean where were you born?” or “no no! your parents… where are they from?”. Or maybe it started when they said “Your English is so good, you don’t even have an accent!” hmmm… Thanks. Or perhaps it was latter, when you referred to me as “the Chinese girl” or when you approached me with the hot-line, “i just got back from Korea, I just LOOOOVE asian girls”

“Being WHITE” is essentially a compilation of autobiographies by white students in the U.S. about, you got it… being white. The author considers these individuals’ stories/experiences and their broader political meaning.

Perhaps it’s too early to say, but judging from the table of contents, I wish some of my friends would also read this book. Chapters include: “I could tell my life story without mentioning my race” (thank you rachelle for forgetting mine so many years ago); “being born in the US to white parents is almost boring” (oh jaret, i apologize for my eyeball rolling – that you never even noticed in your heartfelt plea); and “i feel ‘whiteness’ when i hear people blaming whites” (wtf do you mean that racial profiling doesn’t exist! – you know).

Yes, it’s too early to say what my favorite message from this book will be. But there is something I wish some of my friends would consider: having grown up “not noticing” race (being “colour blind”) is often equated with being antiracist…IT’S NOT.

I don’t have the guts or the strength to say this to many of you (instead, you may accidentally read this rant). WIth some of you, I’ve tried previously – but now I’m nervous. Somehow, I can stand on a soapbox at school and at work, where I get dirty looks from my entirely white cohort/faculty and test the nerves of an all white board of directors… at times risking my education and career. I can handle that. But when it comes to you, I shy away… lest I say something “offensive” (again).

One Response to “being white…”

  1. Vilyammh Says:

    Hello! great idea of color of this siyte!

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