Recently read

13 Aug

The Point is Not to Interpret Whiteness, but to Abolish It” by Noel Ignatiev

“Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it [the privilege]. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet.”

A traitor to the white race is someone who is nominally classified as white but who defies white rules so strenuously as to jeopardize his or her ability to draw upon the privileges of whiteness. The abolitionists recognize that no “white” can individually escape from the privileges of whiteness. The white club does not like to surrender a single member, so that even those who step out of it in one situation can hardly avoid stepping back in later, if for no other reason than the assumptions of others – unless, like John Brown, they have the good fortune to be hanged before that can happen. But they also understand that when there comes into being a critical mass of people who look white but do not act white – people who might be called “reverse oreos” – the white race will undergo fission, and former whites, born again, will be able to take part, together with others, in building a new human community.”

Emphasis mine. I chose to italicize that part of the sentence, because I wonder what he means by “act white.” Perhaps he’s talking about the stereotype of how a white person  should act. Perhaps his speech contains some prejudice of its own?

I’m curious what you all think.


2 Responses to “Recently read”

  1. wjk652 August 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    I have been following your blog and find you to be so insightful. I think you would be interested by this group in Texas. Their philosophies both on gender roles and one’s right to their body seem so at odds with what we believe.

    This is an article talking about their cult-like behaviors and their abuses of alumni.

    Of similar interest to you might be their course list:

    Keep up the good work. Even though I’ve never met you, you inspire me and I love your blog.

    • annanettie August 13, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

      thank you so much! i really appreciate that. please keep reading, and let me know if you write anything that I can read

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