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View Full Version : White folks with PoC ancestors and sorting cultural questions



DoomBunny
02-13-2012, 07:44 AM
I've been helping my dad researching our family tree, and trying to track down one particular branch of my maternal grandfather's side. He was a Mason and so the whole thing was a bit hush hush, but we've discovered that we're descended from a chap who came to Australia from Antigua, and was the son of a freed slave on a sugar plantation there. What's more, the daughter of the guy who immigrated here had a child to an Ethiopian man (may have been the product of rape but given the family's attitude I don't entirely trust that).

I suspect I've found the slave's owner (whose name he took) but not his family so we don't know what his ethnicity is. My mother and I both look a little Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern, but we can't tell for sure. We suspect he's at least part Spanish but family rumour says he was from Jamaica or the West Indies. When I can spare the cash I'll have a DNA test, if only to satisfy my own curiosity.

Now this is mostly old news, but since I found the guy who owned my great-great-great-great grandfather I've been identifying myself less and less as caucasian. When I'm filling out forms and such I find myself ticking the box marked 'Mixed' or 'Other'. I'm thinking about how I can squeeze themes of race into my current WIP. We even discovered my ex has an aboriginal ancestor, making my daughter well and truly mixed.

What led me to post was curiosity. How do those of you who are of mixed or uncertan heritage identify? At what point do you stop thinking of yourself as caucasian, if at all? I've always been proud to think of myself as a mongrel but the more I learn about my heritage the truer that becomes. But seeing as I appear mostly white and have never had to deal with any kind of discrimination (apart from the odd terrorist joke) it doesn't feel like I've earned the right to call myself a person of colour. I want to raise my daughter to be aware of all the aspects of her ancestry, and to identify with all of them, but to do so myself feels a little frivolous and cavalier. Having never suffered the tribulations my ancestors went through, do I have the right to assume their culture and race?

Okay, that last sentence was a bit florid but you get the idea. :)

missesdash
02-13-2012, 10:35 AM
The thing is that a good amount of "white" people, when they go back far enough, have some non-white ancestry. From a political standpoint, you benefit from white privilege and have never had to suffer any discrimination based on your tiny percentage of non-white.

I think it's great when people find out more about their ancestry. But I personally wouldn't be able to take someone seriously if they insisted they were a Person of Color because of a great-great-great-great-great grandfather. I don't think that even satisfies the one drop rule. It probably just means you tan more often than you burn :D

Anyway, no one can stop you from self identifying. But you will be met with a lot of side eye if you have passing privilege and benefit from white privilege, all the while insisting you are a POC. Imagine if a white student applied for a POC scholarship because they had an ancestor, 5 generations back, who was non-white. That would be unfair because they'd spend a lifetime benefiting from white privilege only to go on and take opportunities from those who haven't. But that's why scholarships based on ethnic background generally specify the POC in your family has to be a grand parent or a parent (although some say great grandparents as well).

I don't even know if that tiny bit of ancestry is enough to protect you from accusations of cultural appropriation. I don't know, it feels iffy. If you go back far enough, we're all African. But that doesn't mean we're all POC.

Anyway, just my two cents.

FoamyRules
02-13-2012, 10:56 AM
I agree with missessdash. Most whites if not all have some African or non white ancestry, hell, we all have African ancestry if we go back far enough. It's okay to teach your daughter about your ancestry, but just because you have non white ancestors doesn't mean you're a POC. Just like if a POC has a white ancestor that wouldn't make him white. But then again, you can self identify however you want, but the world is gonna identify you the way it wants. See what I'm saying?

Me personally? Well I am a PoC despite the fact that my father is Caucasian and from the UK. My mother is mixed with Native American and African American. When I fill out applications I mark choose not to respond for personal reasons but growing up while in school it'll have either black, mixed, or other. So I guess it all depends on how close that PoC in your bloodline is to you. Since my grandmother is Choctaw, I'm able to receive benefits of being a Choctaw (such as free college depending on the institution)

ETA: In other words people still consider me to be black despite the fact one of my parents is white.

thebloodfiend
02-13-2012, 11:22 AM
Ditto the above. I mean, my great-grandmother is Choctaw but I don't identify as Native American. I'm pretty sure one of my distant relatives is white, but there's no way anyone would believe I'm white. I'd kind of roll my eyes if someone who was clearly white insisted that they were black/Aborigine/whatever. I mean, I appreciate the interest in culture, but it also kind of gives off the Cherokee Princess vibe if you know what I mean.

Of course, I'm pretty terrible at identifying race/culture/etc. Nearly everyone here in New Mexico is white, but they're white Hispanics, which makes everything really confusing.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-13-2012, 11:55 AM
yeah, if I had a White great-great grandfather, I wouldn't claim I'm White.

Scribe4264
02-13-2012, 12:25 PM
Just curious here: When did white get removed as a color? Was it the same time Pluto got canned as a planet?

Just my humble opinion, but until we drop the whole "Person of Color" and "fill-in-the-blank"-American crap we will never be able to move past the racism that exists on both sides of the aisle in the country.

I have a little newsflash for all of you: We are all members of one race - the Human Race - and that holds true no matter what the gender, skin color or any other category you want to throw in.

Ok, rant over. Off my soapbox.

DoomBunny
02-13-2012, 12:51 PM
All good points, and thanks for being frank. It's pretty much what I was thinking, but in hindsight my title was misleading and presumptuous and I apologise for that. My point is not so much that I think of myself as black, as that I don't think of myself as off-the-shelf white. I'm identifying less as caucasian and more as 'other' because I'd like my family's background to be a part of that identity. I'm certainly not talking about telling the world I'm black because of two drops in the ocean generations ago. I'm just curious about the attitudes of people who are unsure of their cultural or ethnic identity, and how it affects their writing.

On the flip side of the coin, does having only a tiny amount of Ethiopian DNA mean it can't be part of my identity? Do I have to stop listening to Bob Marley? Where's the line, before I can consider any culture, coloured or otherwise, to be a part of who I am? Do I have to call myself a Celt because that's the largest single majority of my genetic makeup? As I said initially, I'm not claiming to have suffered from racism or persecution, I'm just interested in and proud of my confused heritage. For the record I only mentioned my black ancestry because it's the tip of the iceberg. Culturally my family is so confused as to be lacking any entirely. As I said, we're mongrels. The slave angle is just the latest discovery and most interesting to me. I'm not looking to lay claim to a slave heritage or become part of an African expat community.

Scribe4264, while I don't disagree with your sentiment it sounds like you're suggesting that people of different ethnic backgrounds or cultures shouldn't identify themselves as such. I'm not talking about race. I'm talking about culture, social identity, and more importantly the history of my family.

missesdash
02-13-2012, 12:52 PM
Just curious here: When did white get removed as a color? Was it the same time Pluto got canned as a planet?

Just my humble opinion, but until we drop the whole "Person of Color" and "fill-in-the-blank"-American crap we will never be able to move past the racism that exists on both sides of the aisle in the country.

I have a little newsflash for all of you: We are all members of one race - the Human Race - and that holds true no matter what the gender, skin color or any other category you want to throw in.

Ok, rant over. Off my soapbox.

Yes! The human race! Hey black kid who is 48 times more likely to get jail time for a first offense possession charge: you are no different from that white kid who, despite having a record identical to yours, is getting away scott free! No, no, woman who is unable to get a mortgage because of an ethnic name, we're all humans.

Maybe those darker humans are disproportionally given the death penalty in Texas, but shhh, we're all the same. Maybe those non-dark humans got a 200 year head start in this race, but hey, I'm not counting.

Exactly the same. Bbl, I have to go embrace my newly acquired white privilege.

O wait...

thebloodfiend
02-13-2012, 12:54 PM
Just curious here: When did white get removed as a color? Was it the same time Pluto got canned as a planet?

Just my humble opinion, but until we drop the whole "Person of Color" and "fill-in-the-blank"-American crap we will never be able to move past the racism that exists on both sides of the aisle in the country.

I have a little newsflash for all of you: We are all members of one race - the Human Race - and that holds true no matter what the gender, skin color or any other category you want to throw in.

Ok, rant over. Off my soapbox.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232684

Read the fucking sticky. I'm so fucking tired of the "we're all humans" bit. Yeah, we're all fucking human, but, unfortunately, there's a little thing called white privilege in America. Read up on it. Goodbye.

missesdash
02-13-2012, 01:10 PM
@Doombunny the vast majority of blacks in the US know less about our ethnic background than you know of yours. Most of us can only trace our families back a fee generations. So it's not really that novel to be "unsure" of your entire ethnic line. Most of us are also mixed with white and native American.

The point wasn't that you aren't black, it's that you aren't a POC. and honestly, I think we can all agree race is a construct. But "white" doesn't mean someone only has white ancestry any more than "black" means a person has no other ancestry.

We're all a little mixed. But it doesn't effect our lives unless it's immediate. I'm not sure why you made the Bob Marley comparison, since 1. He's not Ethiopian and 2. Anyone can listen to Bob Marley/whatever music they want.

And I can't speak for the other posters, but as a biracial person I don't love the term "mongrel."

You sound excited to discover these other parts of your ancestry and that's great. But *most* people are in the same boat as you. It's not confused or mixed, it's really really common. Especially since your race isn't indigenous to the country you live in.

DoomBunny
02-13-2012, 02:31 PM
First up, I feel terrible about my stupid thread title, it was really thoughtless of me and misleading of my intentions. I'm not a person of colour. If I can change the title I'm open to suggestions.

The Bob Marley point was about culture more than race, seeing as he's kind of the archetypical Rastafarian. I was exaggerating for effect and I wasn't very clear about it. More on that below. My point there was where is the line? At what point does the implication of cultural appropriation end? How much can I make those cultures a part of my life before I'm being the presumptuous Cherokee princess? For example, I'm comfortable thinking of myself as mostly of European and mixed descent and wouldn't identify myself as black. But what's wrong with incorporating that mixed descent into my identity as much as the European? This isn't about what I tell others or how I identify myself socially as what I think of myself. And yes, I know, I can identify myself as whatever I want and it's noone's business but my own, but I'd still like to discuss it as it does sometimes affect other people. And if it's going to be a part of how I raise my daughter then I think I've got a responsibility to be aware of just how it affects those people. I want her to be aware of her family background without being presumptuous or pretentious about it. For my mother's generation our black ancestor was a dirty secret and I don't want that to continue.

This is kind of a silly example, but bear with me. If I could get a Celtic triskele tattoo in honour of that part of my heritage, why would it be less acceptable to get a Lion of Judah in remembrance of my lone Ethiopian ancestor? Can I be proud of his accomplishments without claiming them as my own? Do I have to ignore my ancestors because of their minimal percentage in my overall makeup? I think the man who was born into slavery and came here a free man is as much a part of my family and my history as the cheeky bugger who stole 35 sovereigns from his landlord and was sent here as a convict.

Let me come at this from a different angle. Being writers and reasonably well read, I hope we can all agree that gender identity and sex are not the same thing. I might be born male and identify as female. But no matter how passionately and intently I might identify myself as female, if I was born and raised male I wouldn't have experienced, and wouldn't have any right to lay claim to, all the pain and suffering a woman experiences growing up in a male dominated society. Likewise, I'm not laying claim to all the persecution that people of colour experience. I'm simply saying that, having learned that certain cultures have been a part of my family, however small, I'd like to learn more about them and incorporate them into my identity.

As for the term mongrel, I'm in Australia here and it's not such an issue. It's more of a wry compliment. But if it has other connotations elsewhere they were not my intention, and I won't use the term again. Also, being Australian, most people aren't in the same boat as you suggest. Most people identify as being of some sort of UK or European background, precisely because so damn many of us are so casually racist. My ex identifies as Manx. Some of her family are straight out of Ireland. Most of my friends are either so blue-eyed and blonde as to be pure northern European, or one generation out of south-east Asia. The other kids I grew up with all consider themselves Australian despite only having been here a few generations. Very few Australians openly identify themselves as being of any sort of mixed heritage. In my experience people that identify as Australian are more often than not just identifying as not being anything else. You're right, they're not confused about their heritage - they're just ignoring it like my mother's family did. That's what's common, here where I live (which is a redneck, racist craphole, and maybe that's part of what I'm reacting to).

/edit - I just thought I should mention, to missesdash especially, I can see this is something close to your heart. So if I do say something you don't appreciate, like the term 'mongrel', please let me know. :)

Captcha
02-13-2012, 04:02 PM
Your cultural background can't be determined by a DNA test. Your culture is how you were raised, and what you experienced from your friends and family during your lifetime, not what some distant ancestor may or may not have accomplished or experienced.

You can listen to Bob Marley if you like Bob Marley. There is no genetic component to liking reggae. Liking reggae can be part of your culture as a citizen of a diverse and beautiful world. Any aesthetic preferences can be incorporated into your cultural milieu on the same basis. You like it.

You don't like reggae because you have a trace of African blood. You just like it. You're allowed.

If your family ignored their mixed genetic makeup, then I don't think you really have any claim to the cultures of the previous generations. Culture is passed down through human behaviour, not through blood. If you want to claim the blood, okay, go for it. But the culture is gone, from your branch of the family tree. Any attempts to reintroduce it will be artificial, and I really don't see the point.

FoamyRules
02-13-2012, 05:48 PM
Just curious here: When did white get removed as a color? Was it the same time Pluto got canned as a planet?
Technically white isn't a color. It never was.


I have a little newsflash for all of you: We are all members of one race - the Human Race - and that holds true no matter what the gender, skin color or any other category you want to throw in.

Yes, that's true but we are all not the same.


Ok, rant over. Off my soapbox.
Read the sticky please.

FoamyRules
02-13-2012, 06:03 PM
@DoonBunny, I think it's great you're researching and learning about your ancestry. You're not only born but also have been brought up within your culture, so you may not be able to assume your great great great great great grandfather's culture especially since he's so distant in your bloodline. My parents are divorced and have been for a long time, when my father would have me for his visits he didn't make it his business to teach me anything about African American culture or American culture for that matter since he's British. He didn't identify with it so he only taught me the side he identified with. With my mother being biracial herself it was pretty easy for her to teach me about both of my Moroccan ancestors as well as my Choctaw ancestors.
You don't have to be a PoC to like Bob Marley. I like Bob Marley, but I also like various J Pop and K Pop bands. I mean my father's grandmother was Filipino, but I'm not classified as being Filipino.
And I'm not a fan of the word mongrel.

Kitty27
02-13-2012, 06:21 PM
Just curious here: When did white get removed as a color? Was it the same time Pluto got canned as a planet?

Just my humble opinion, but until we drop the whole "Person of Color" and "fill-in-the-blank"-American crap we will never be able to move past the racism that exists on both sides of the aisle in the country.

I have a little newsflash for all of you: We are all members of one race - the Human Race - and that holds true no matter what the gender, skin color or any other category you want to throw in.

Ok, rant over. Off my soapbox.

Obviously,you didn't read the sticky.

Respect Your Fellow Writer is also paramount.

We are all human. We know this. But this tired line doesn't even begin to encompass all the issues that people of color face in society and the white privilege that permeates it. Or what we WILL encounter in our chosen/dream career as writers of multicultural characters&themes. Nor does it excuse the prejudice LGBT people encounter in their lives.

Sexism and homophobia are rampant in this society and your entire post smacks of condescension and coming from a position of privilege. Your attempt to "enlighten" us hasn't been well received. At all.

If you cannot or WON"T understand that,I suggest that you avoid the POC forum from now on.

I won't be as nice if you come back with something like this.

Good day.

Alessandra Kelley
02-13-2012, 06:21 PM
I can't speak for the other posters, but as a biracial person I don't love the term "mongrel."


Don't mean to intrude here (I'm white, and my family and I have definitely benefited from white privilege), but I agree completely. "Mongrel" is not a friendly term in the US (I got smacked with it once by an Englishman when I told him my grandmother was English).

Kitty27
02-13-2012, 06:27 PM
I've been helping my dad researching our family tree, and trying to track down one particular branch of my maternal grandfather's side. He was a Mason and so the whole thing was a bit hush hush, but we've discovered that we're descended from a chap who came to Australia from Antigua, and was the son of a freed slave on a sugar plantation there. What's more, the daughter of the guy who immigrated here had a child to an Ethiopian man (may have been the product of rape but given the family's attitude I don't entirely trust that).

I suspect I've found the slave's owner (whose name he took) but not his family so we don't know what his ethnicity is. My mother and I both look a little Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern, but we can't tell for sure. We suspect he's at least part Spanish but family rumour says he was from Jamaica or the West Indies. When I can spare the cash I'll have a DNA test, if only to satisfy my own curiosity.

Now this is mostly old news, but since I found the guy who owned my great-great-great-great grandfather I've been identifying myself less and less as caucasian. When I'm filling out forms and such I find myself ticking the box marked 'Mixed' or 'Other'. I'm thinking about how I can squeeze themes of race into my current WIP. We even discovered my ex has an aboriginal ancestor, making my daughter well and truly mixed.

What led me to post was curiosity. How do those of you who are of mixed or uncertan heritage identify? At what point do you stop thinking of yourself as caucasian, if at all? I've always been proud to think of myself as a mongrel but the more I learn about my heritage the truer that becomes. But seeing as I appear mostly white and have never had to deal with any kind of discrimination (apart from the odd terrorist joke) it doesn't feel like I've earned the right to call myself a person of colour. I want to raise my daughter to be aware of all the aspects of her ancestry, and to identify with all of them, but to do so myself feels a little frivolous and cavalier. Having never suffered the tribulations my ancestors went through, do I have the right to assume their culture and race?

Okay, that last sentence was a bit florid but you get the idea. :)

To be honest,this forum wasn't created to hep others identify their ethnic identity or their thoughts about that particular group. Nor are we a sounding board for this kind of thing.

Having a tiny percentage of ancestry doesn't make you POC at all. Just as me having white and Native American ancestry doesn't make me either one.

I am African American. Just as you are white.

Mongrel is a deeply offensive term and I cannot even begin to touch the idea that if you are a teeny bit ethnic,this goes along with liking Bob Marley. Music knows no ethnic background.

Sheila Muirenn
02-13-2012, 07:53 PM
Great Grandmother definitely Cherokee.

I'm definitely white.

I do consider myself a Cherokee descendant, and would like to know more about the culture, but feels 'fake' to actually claim anything.

kuwisdelu
02-13-2012, 08:44 PM
When we talk about being "PoC," a lot of it comes down to a community with shared experiences more than pie charts of your blood percentage.

veinglory
02-13-2012, 08:58 PM
I agree that POC is an experience rather than a literal inheritance. And I think some people have some weird ideas about inheritance. My mom was once indignantly accused of lying for saying her maternal grandmother was Australian Aborigine--just because she didn't inherit the appearance (and non-of us got any of the culture as my grand-dad "passed").

mirandashell
02-13-2012, 09:15 PM
Just to defend Bunny on the whole 'mongrel' thing.....

It's not an insult where he or she comes from. Or where I come from. So he or she probably didn't realise that it would come across that way.

I think everyone needs to remember that we don't all have the same experience or history. Different cultures find different things insulting. So maybe it would be good for us all to check before we jump on anyone's head for a perceived insult. Obviously point out where the insult is, just don't go straight into attack mode. OK?

MeretSeger
02-13-2012, 09:19 PM
As a technical aside, if you are looking for haplotyping to confirm Ethiopian ancestry on your maternal grandfather's side, it probably won't work based on what you've said. You won't be able to do that through yDNA, that male line ended with the grandfather, and you won't be able to do it with mtDNA, because that has to be a strictly female line of descent.

male-male-male-male= yDNA
female-female-female-female= mtDNA

Haplotyping has very limited usefulness in individuals.

FoamyRules
02-13-2012, 09:37 PM
Just to defend Bunny on the whole 'mongrel' thing.....

It's not an insult where he or she comes from. Or where I come from. So he or she probably didn't realise that it would come across that way.

I think everyone needs to remember that we don't all have the same experience or history. Different cultures find different things insulting. So maybe it would be good for us all to check before we jump on anyone's head for a perceived insult. Obviously point out where the insult is, just don't go straight into attack mode. OK?
No one went into attack mode, or at least I didn't. We understand he's not from the US and he's stated that. So we informed him that that word is insulting to us. That is all.

AW Admin
02-13-2012, 09:58 PM
Obviously point out where the insult is, just don't go straight into attack mode. OK?

1. There's no need to defend anyone.

2. Pointing that a term is offensive--especially when the forum moderator points it out--is not going into attack mode. Please read the stickies before posting in PoC. They are not meant as decorative flourishes.

3. There will be no attacks of any sort in this forum.

4. These are not the droids you're looking for.

missesdash
02-13-2012, 10:36 PM
Just to defend Bunny on the whole 'mongrel' thing.....

It's not an insult where he or she comes from. Or where I come from. So he or she probably didn't realise that it would come across that way.

I think everyone needs to remember that we don't all have the same experience or history. Different cultures find different things insulting. So maybe it would be good for us all to check before we jump on anyone's head for a perceived insult. Obviously point out where the insult is, just don't go straight into attack mode. OK?

I think more appropriate advice would be to calmly read posts before jumping into "defense mode."

AW Admin
02-13-2012, 10:39 PM
I think more appropriate advice would be to calmly read posts before jumping into "defense mode."

OY!

That's good advice. I think enough has been said on this particular issue.

words
02-13-2012, 11:06 PM
Just curious here: When did white get removed as a color? Was it the same time Pluto got canned as a planet?

Just my humble opinion, but until we drop the whole "Person of Color" and "fill-in-the-blank"-American crap we will never be able to move past the racism that exists on both sides of the aisle in the country.

I have a little newsflash for all of you: We are all members of one race - the Human Race - and that holds true no matter what the gender, skin color or any other category you want to throw in.

Ok, rant over. Off my soapbox.


You might want to read this:

http://www.library.wisc.edu/edvrc/docs/public/pdfs/LIReadings/InvisibleKnapsack.pdf

to help you understand why all that "all one race" stuff gets on people's nerves.

mirandashell
02-13-2012, 11:51 PM
1. There's no need to defend anyone.

2. Pointing that a term is offensive--especially when the forum moderator points it out--is not going into attack mode. Please read the stickies before posting in PoC. They are not meant as decorative flourishes.

3. There will be no attacks of any sort in this forum.

4. These are not the droids you're looking for.

Hang on a sec..... I have read the stickies. I wasn't attacking anyone. And I wasn't singling anyone out. I was just reminding everyone that a lot of people on this board are not American and therefore have a different history and experience. That's all.

Back when this board started, a lot of us had a long conversation about differents terms that we could use and how we would each take care to understand what each of us was saying without immediately jumping on the defensive. In that way, we could talk about this stuff without getting into the flame wars that are prevalent everywhere else on the Internet.

That's all I was reminding everyone of. I meant no offence to anyone.

So I hope this has cleared up what is obviously a misunderstanding.

missesdash
02-14-2012, 01:06 AM
Hang on a sec..... I have read the stickies. I wasn't attacking anyone. And I wasn't singling anyone out. I was just reminding everyone that a lot of people on this board are not American and therefore have a different history and experience. That's all.

Back when this board started, a lot of us had a long conversation about differents terms that we could use and how we would each take care to understand what each of us was saying without immediately jumping on the defensive. In that way, we could talk about this stuff without getting into the flame wars that are prevalent everywhere else on the Internet.

That's all I was reminding everyone of. I meant no offence to anyone.

So I hope this has cleared up what is obviously a misunderstanding.

When you start your post out announcing you're "defending" someone, the insulation is that they're being attacked. It's just counterproductive to only come to a thread to "defend" someone by telling everyone else to "not be defensive" when no one was doing that. It's like walking into a rational and calm discussion and reminding everyone to be rational and calm.

The only way the OP would know it was an insult was for one of us to point it out.

I'm not going to say anything else about it, less the thread be locked, but the tone in your post was pretty clear. OK?

mirandashell
02-14-2012, 01:11 AM
Ok, I'm really not sure how a simple request has turned into this. So I'm backing out.

It seems anything I say now is going piss somebody off cos no-one is hearing what I'm trying to say. Fair enough.

backslashbaby
02-14-2012, 01:29 AM
It's very important to note that 'mongrel' is a word to watch out for, imho. I do think it's important to note that that may not be common knowledge in the UK (eta: or other places), sure.

Does anyone remember when Obama said it? Oh! I think that's when most Americans heard for sure that it's not a good word to use.

KatieJ
02-14-2012, 01:34 AM
DoomBunny, a moderator sent me this for a thread of mine that needed to be renamed. It only works for a week, I think, then you have to ask for a mod to do it for you.


FAQ: How to Edit the Title of A Thread You Started (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=186364)

Psychomacologist
02-14-2012, 02:02 AM
When we talk about being "PoC," a lot of it comes down to a community with shared experiences more than pie charts of your blood percentage.


I agree that POC is an experience rather than a literal inheritance.

That's a really interesting way of defining PoC. But you realise under this definition I could claim to be a PoC, even though I'm technically white? Because, hey, I'm part of a community with shared experiences of discrimination, stereotyping and being seen as "The Other" (I'm Muslim); and my experience is similar to that of PoCs because I look like this:

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/307681_10150289605286292_603331291_8250965_2553426 62_n.jpg

So nobody - and I mean, literally, NOBODY - thinks I'm white or perceives me to be a white person. Yet I would never dream of calling myself a PoC (even though I pass for one daily) because... I'm not. It's a lie. I'm white.

I'd hesitate to even say I know what it's like to be a PoC, because that seems too presumptuous as well.

Actually the only reason I lurk in this forum at all is because there isn't a Muslim sub-forum on AW...

veinglory
02-14-2012, 02:07 AM
If you have a POC experience while looking (out of context) "white", sure, I think so. People read your "race" in context and how they behave as a result is what creates the experience.

Of course there is still the whole discourse of who is "really" POC even of those who have a given inheritance and/or shade of skin (Oreo etc).

MacAllister
02-14-2012, 02:09 AM
This is just a general request to go gently, please, everyone.

While this isn't a 101 forum, it is a room that's already become a sort of hybrid of a lot of different things -- and we all start somewhere. I know it's asking a lot to have to deal with well-intentioned but ill-informed people blundering into the conversation with the same old-same old, over and over again, but short of locking the room down with a password, it's just sometimes going to happen.

Let me make it very clear, please, that I don't think for a single moment that Doombunny opened with a mish-mash of problematic memes and tropes deliberately -- but that opening post invoked a number of memes that more savvy and experienced participants in online discussions regarding racism will recognize, blindfolded:

Opening with echoes of "I'm part ____ (http://racemash.tumblr.com/post/12204868330/dear-girl-at-the-party-last-night)! I'm a PoC too, so this isn't offensive!" and incorporating ringing overtones from "My great-grandmother was a Cherokee Princess (http://www.native-languages.org/princess.htm)!" with a segue into "mongrel people (http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/111611-obama-calls-african-americans-a-mongrel-people-)" via "this explains why I like black music!"

I could already hear that painful clicking noise of many people simultaneously rolling their eyes, when "But we're all the same color under our skin (http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-36-fall-2009/colorblindness-new-racism)!" guy came backflipping into the thread with the classic hasn't-bothered-to-keep-up-with-the-issues derail, because he just couldn't help mansplainin' his Very Important point -- a point that might actually be relevant if we could all don and discard our skins at will, like so much designer apparel, but otherwise, not so much.

There's a reason these have turned into such tired, well-worn tropes in any online forum where race and racism are discussed -- mostly because there are a LOT more people who don't know and haven't heard and explored these concepts in any real depth, especially in an online environment, than there are people who have.

Gawd knows I've made my own share of face-palm, fail-full statements in the past -- even some of those above -- and I strongly suspect I will again. And when I do, I hope there's someone around who cares enough about the world we all share that they'll call me on it. And I hope that *I* can separate my own ego from my words to hear and learn from what that person is saying, even if they're rather less gentle that I might otherwise like for them to be.

In the meantime, please let's all try to remember that this thread has already hit a bunch of hot-buttons, in two short pages. I very much appreciate the patience the regulars here regularly show to hapless folks who are only just beginning to figure out how to even ask the right questions. Thank you for your continued grace.

mirandashell
02-14-2012, 02:13 AM
You're right, Mac. I probably stuck my neb where I shouldn't have. Which I guess is part of the point I was trying and failing to make.

My apologies to anyone I pissed off. It was done with the best intentions.

words
02-14-2012, 02:16 AM
Other than having access to white privilege, the term white has no meaning which is why "white pride" groups are inherently racist. The determination of who gets access to white privilege has shifted from one era to the next. I was reading an old mystery novel (published circa 1940s I think) not too long ago and a character in the book made reference to people from Italy and Greece not being white. Yet an ex of mine used to tell me stories of growing up in the 1970s on the south side of Chicago where "white ethnics", including people whose families hailed form those countries, wanted to keep anyone who wasn't white out of their neighborhoods. On the other hand, I have met people of Greek and Italian descent who have told me they consider themselves people of color because they don't have pale skin.

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 02:21 AM
That's a really interesting way of defining PoC. But you realise under this definition I could claim to be a PoC, even though I'm technically white? Because, hey, I'm part of a community with shared experiences of discrimination, stereotyping and being seen as "The Other" (I'm Muslim); and my experience is similar to that of PoCs because I look like this:

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/307681_10150289605286292_603331291_8250965_2553426 62_n.jpg

So nobody - and I mean, literally, NOBODY - thinks I'm white or perceives me to be a white person. Yet I would never dream of calling myself a PoC (even though I pass for one daily) because... I'm not. It's a lie. I'm white.

I'd hesitate to even say I know what it's like to be a PoC, because that seems too presumptuous as well.

Actually the only reason I lurk in this forum at all is because there isn't a Muslim sub-forum on AW...

I'd consider you part of our crowd.

One of the thing that struck me about our SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) hot cocoa social last semester was how many students came who appeared to be Muslim or black. Of course, they could still have had Mexican or Indian blood, too, but maybe some of them didn't. It didn't really matter. The reason we came together were due to the kinds of experiences we'd shared, as kind of outcast aliens, not the color of our skin or the partitions of our blood. Yeah, the word color is right there in the subforum's acronym, but it's not really the part that really matters.

missesdash
02-14-2012, 02:31 AM
Other than having access to white privilege, the term white has no meaning which is why "white pride" groups are inherently racist. The determination of who gets access to white privilege has shifted from one era to the next. I was reading an old mystery novel (published circa 1940s I think) not too long ago and a character in the book made reference to people from Italy and Greece not being white. Yet an ex of mine used to tell me stories of growing up in the 1970s on the south side of Chicago where "white ethnics", including people whose families hailed form those countries, wanted to keep anyone who wasn't white out of their neighborhoods. On the other hand, I have met people of Greek and Italian descent who have told me they consider themselves people of color because they don't have pale skin.

All of this. I remember seeing a sign a year ago that said "fuck whiteness" and I was immediately really taken aback. Because when someone says "whiteness" I think of people who are ethnically European. So it felt very aggressive. And then after spending some time reading up on race theory and whiteness as a construct, I feel I better understand what the sign meant (not that I'd ever parade around wearing on like it). It has nothing to do with people and everything to do with the way our society is constructed. So it's like those "mash the patriarchy" signs.

It's all really interesting. Sometimes still confusing, but never dull.

crunchyblanket
02-14-2012, 02:42 AM
That's a really interesting way of defining PoC. But you realise under this definition I could claim to be a PoC, even though I'm technically white? Because, hey, I'm part of a community with shared experiences of discrimination, stereotyping and being seen as "The Other" (I'm Muslim); and my experience is similar to that of PoCs because I look like this:



I wonder on this too. Because I'm white, and European, and nobody would know to look at me that I am (ethnically, if not actively) Roma. I don't feel like it gives me the right to comment on PoC issues from anything but an outsider perspective, though, perhaps because I don't face the same kind of discrimination and issues unless I make people aware of my heritage.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-14-2012, 02:46 AM
So, does being Westernised mean you aren't POC? I'm as Westernised as possible.

FoamyRules
02-14-2012, 02:48 AM
Ethnicity and color have nothing to do with each other. I mean my boyfriend is black, was born to 2 African American parents, and has fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Growing up I was never really accepted by either blacks or whites because technically I'm both.

missesdash
02-14-2012, 02:49 AM
Ethnicity and color have nothing to do with each other. I mean my boyfriend is black, was born to 2 African American parents, and has fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Growing up I was never really accepted by either blacks or whites because technically I'm both.

Like Vanessa Williams black, then? :D

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 02:50 AM
I wonder on this too. Because I'm white, and European, and nobody would know to look at me that I am (ethnically, if not actively) Roma. I don't feel like it gives me the right to comment on PoC issues from anything but an outsider perspective, though, perhaps because I don't face the same kind of discrimination and issues unless I make people aware of my heritage.

I've never really faced the kind of discrimination I've known some other Indians to face. Doesn't mean I don't have a lot of cultural identification and feelings-of-not-belonging issues.


So, does being Westernised mean you aren't POC? I'm as Westernised as possible.

No. I am too. IMO.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-14-2012, 02:51 AM
Oh, I'm definitely considered Asian... (if FoamyRules' post was intended as a reply to mine...)

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 02:52 AM
Ethnicity and color have nothing to do with each other. I mean my boyfriend is black, was born to 2 African American parents, and has fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Growing up I was never really accepted by either blacks or whites because technically I'm both.

Plenty of Indian tribes are totally caucasian looking.

Having grown up around southwestern tribes, it struck me a bit when I was confronted with "white" Indians who were totally full-blooded natives.

FoamyRules
02-14-2012, 02:57 AM
Like Vanessa Williams black, then? :D
Yeah sort of :)

FoamyRules
02-14-2012, 02:59 AM
Plenty of Indian tribes are totally caucasian looking.

Having grown up around southwestern tribes, it struck me a bit when I was confronted with "white" Indians who were totally full-blooded natives.
That just goes to show, people can come in all colors.

FoamyRules
02-14-2012, 03:02 AM
Oh, I'm definitely considered Asian... (if FoamyRules' post was intended as a reply to mine...)
It was more so directed at crunchyblanket and psychomacologist. Bein westernised shouldn't take away from you being Asian. I'm familiar with both American culture and British culture and a lot of people think of me as being confused.

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 03:07 AM
Going by blood can yield really stupid distinctions. And it happens even within our own communities sometimes.

I know some Indians who are mixes of different tribes, with 100% native blood, but not a high enough percentage from any one tribe to be able to be recognized as officially belonging to any of them, making it impossible for them to have access to some of the opportunities designed to help native students like them.

FoamyRules
02-14-2012, 03:28 AM
Going by blood can yield really stupid distinctions. And it happens even within our own communities sometimes.

I know some Indians who are mixes of different tribes, with 100% native blood, but not a high enough percentage from any one tribe to be able to be recognized as officially belonging to any of them, making it impossible for them to have access to some of the opportunities designed to help native students like them.
That's true, it's kind of similar here with the Native American tribes. One of my friends has more Cherokee i them than I have Choctaw, but she didn't receive free college like I did because she doesn't have any tribal affiliations like I do.

Psychomacologist
02-14-2012, 04:02 AM
If you have a POC experience while looking (out of context) "white", sure, I think so. People read your "race" in context and how they behave as a result is what creates the experience.

Of course there is still the whole discourse of who is "really" POC even of those who have a given inheritance and/or shade of skin (Oreo etc).
Definitely in my experience to be Muslim is to be seen as "other" and "not white", but my experience is different to that of other white Muslims who look more white than I do. I don't look particularly white (I never have) and so with a scarf on people immediately assume I'm Generically Foreign and treat me accordingly. It's kinda surreal, actually.


I'd consider you part of our crowd.

One of the thing that struck me about our SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) hot cocoa social last semester was how many students came who appeared to be Muslim or black. Of course, they could still have had Mexican or Indian blood, too, but maybe some of them didn't. It didn't really matter. The reason we came together were due to the kinds of experiences we'd shared, as kind of outcast aliens, not the color of our skin or the partitions of our blood. Yeah, the word color is right there in the subforum's acronym, but it's not really the part that really matters.
I feel comfortable describing myself as being "part of a minority group" because, you know, that's true. And I can understand people coming together in the way you describe. Often I feel that I have more in common with PoC and other minorities than I do with white folks - despite being totally white - because most white people have never experienced discrimination or stereotyping or othering or anything like that. But when I go in a room full of non-White people, I can be pretty certain that they'll understand my experience and be more readily able to sympathise with it, because they've probably been through similar themselves.


Plenty of Indian tribes are totally caucasian looking.

Having grown up around southwestern tribes, it struck me a bit when I was confronted with "white" Indians who were totally full-blooded natives.

Yeah, "whiteness" is kinda a tricky one. Lots of Arabs are white-skinned, and so are lots of Pakistanis (Arab and Pakistani are the races I get mistaken for the most). But they're not WHITE white, like ethnicity white, because that seems to be reserved for white-skinned Europeans. And the definition of who counts as "white" seems to vary over time. I always try and distinguish between White (the Eurocentric ethnicity) and white (the skin-colour) because there's plenty of people in the world who are white without being White.

chocowrites
02-14-2012, 04:11 AM
I don't mean to rile/derail the thread up again, but as far as mongrel (or even mutt) goes:

I'm also offended by it (I'm biracial) and would not like people to use it to describe me. I think because it seems like the opposite word to mongrel/mutt would be something like "pure"[bred] and that is just ick.

Also, I don't know, I can't see how it could be something you'd like someone to call you. Something maybe you'd tolerate but seriously does anyone sit there and go, "cool, you called me a mongrel. I liked that."

ETA: err, and if you even look up the word in a dictionary/ wikipedia, there's an entry that usually goes a bit like this:
def. (Social Science / Peoples) Derogatory, a person of mixed race

backslashbaby
02-14-2012, 05:20 AM
The thing that seems problematic with white not meaning anything but a socio-political construct is that, imho, it's always nicer if there are direct parallels between people. It's much easier to start teaching as children, for one thing.

I know white people (like me) don't deserve any favors in the overall situation, but I do hope white can just mean a skin color. For now, it's going to include white privilege, too, but hopefully that won't be true for much longer (and it's not the kids' fault that they have white privilege). I hope we all start setting up the framework for when everything is truly parallel and equal, even though education on how that's not true yet is extremely important nowadays.

Polenth
02-14-2012, 06:03 AM
Something to consider is there are also people who have ancestors way back when and don't get treated as white now. I'm in that position. And for me, it's not something I can pick and choose. Most of my family look white enough, no one would think they were anything else. They self-identify as white and they're accepted as white. A few are actively hostile to any suggestion otherwise.

And then there's me. I'm the one who can't walk into a room of strangers without being asked, "Where are you from?" or having someone compliment me on my fluent English.

There are hints in the others, if you're looking for it. But most people aren't.

So I can see some of it from both sides. I understand why someone would want to reconstruct a lost family culture. I know I feel that something was taken from me, because I'm the result of generations of successful assimilation. Yay colonialism, and all that. I'd get a DNA test if I could afford it, because I'd like to know more about my family history.

On the other side, I already face issues being accepted in non-white/POC communities, because I'm comparatively light and ambiguous-looking. And if there are a lot of people claiming an identity because of an ancestor they discovered yesterday, it makes the group jumpy and more likely to throw out light-not-white people with the bathwater.

But more specifically answering the questions, I ID as non-white. I came to that conclusion as a child, once I understood what race meant, so I never thought of myself as white (Caucasian means something else, which I guess isn't what you meant). On forms, I tick 'Mixed Race - Other'. If there's a space to write it out, I write, 'Unknown Mixed Race'. I keep any exploration of lost culture to myself, as it's never viewed well outside. I also avoid discussing aspects of family culture that have survived, for the same reason. But I do both of those things behind closed doors, as it's a comfort for me. I haven't applied for any PoC affirmative action things, as I generally feel there are others who need it more than me. Though it'd mean a lot to me if I was accepted as a PoC SFF author and appeared on the lists for such things (it hasn't happened yet, but you never know).


It's not an insult where he or she comes from. Or where I come from. So he or she probably didn't realise that it would come across that way.

I'm English and I'd be upset if you called me a mongrel. This isn't intended as an attack on anyone. Just a caution not to assume it's fine everywhere in the UK either.

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 06:03 AM
I know white people (like me) don't deserve any favors in the overall situation, but I do hope white can just mean a skin color.

I think that's about as into the far-flung future as when race no longer exists. And to be honest, that's not always or necessarily a bad thing. I think that as much as it'll be freeing and triumphant in its own way, the time when race no longer exists will also be a very sad, sad occasion.

But in any case, I think for a long time now, "dude, you're so white" will still have meaning that isn't strictly related to skin color. In both positive ways and negative ways and ways that aren't entirely either. Just like everything to do with race.

MacAllister
02-14-2012, 06:09 AM
(I've taken the liberty of renaming the thread, btw -- if the OP would like to suggest something else, just let me know.)

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 06:13 AM
the other side, I already face issues being accepted in non-white/POC communities, because I'm comparatively light and ambiguous-looking. And if there are a lot of people claiming an identify because of an ancestor they discovered yesterday, it makes the group jumpy and more likely to throw out light-not-white people with the bathwater.

Yeah. I definitely know we can be that way. I say that because I know I'm guilty of it myself. I've experienced a lot of privilege all my life, more thanks to the magic of money than anything, and so being a bit browner than other people became a big part of how I identified with being Indian. I realize now, of course, that it's not nearly so simple. PoC communities are pretty diverse themselves in how they think about things like these, and some aren't quite as open-minded as they should be.


But more specifically answering the questions, I ID as non-white. I came to that conclusion as a child, once I understood what race meant, so I never thought of myself as white (Caucasian means something else, which I guess isn't what you meant). On forms, I tick 'Mixed Race - Other'. If there's a space to write it out, I write, 'Unknown Mixed Race'. I keep any exploration of lost culture to myself, as it's never viewed well outside. I also avoid discussing aspects of family culture that have survived, for the same reason. But I do both of those things behind closed doors, as it's a comfort for me. I haven't applied for any PoC affirmative action things, as I generally feel there are others who need it more than me. Though it'd mean a lot to me if I was accepted as a PoC SFF author and appeared on the lists for such things (it hasn't happened yet, but you never know).

Yeah. I also feel guilty about taking opportunities and benefits created to help Indians in need. For a long time, I thought I never would. In the end, I'm doing it anyway. I figure, whether I deserve it or not, I'm still a member of this community. At least for what I'm taking, it's not something that I'm competing against other Indians over, and if I didn't take it, then no one would. And like it or not, I still feel I have some kind of obligation to take it, to do the best I can do, because I identify with this community, and because if I make something of myself, it will allow me to give back to it, and I feel obliged to try as hard as I can to do so.

Of course, those are all pretty recent feelings and conclusions. I don't know. Just some thoughts.

backslashbaby
02-14-2012, 06:23 AM
I've been described on paper as Native American any time my parents filled out any paperwork, as that was one of the things my mom wouldn't budge on for her dad. Apparently I'm 'registered' somewhere, too, but my family (the tribe, too) isn't associated with any reservation, so I've never checked into exactly what that means.

When I applied for colleges, I explained in a little note that my background wasn't the least bit disadvantaged, but that I wasn't going to start putting down 'white' all of a sudden.

Folks at school still said I only got in where I got in because of the affirmative action thing and being 'considered' NA. No matter that my grades, etc, clearly pointed out otherwise.

Meh, in England, where I went to school last, they didn't even offer NA as a choice. So I was Irish on that form :) I'm Irish, too, on farther back a bit, lol.

missesdash
02-14-2012, 06:45 AM
I think that's about as into the far-flung future as when race no longer exists. And to be honest, that's not always or necessarily a bad thing. I think that as much as it'll be freeing and triumphant in its own way, the time when race no longer exists will also be a very sad, sad occasion.

But in any case, I think for a long time now, "dude, you're so white" will still have meaning that isn't strictly related to skin color. In both positive ways and negative ways and ways that aren't entirely either. Just like everything to do with race.

When people talk about race no longer existing, I always think back to this article I read that showed the two sides of some conflict (get ready for this egregious race fail) somewhere in Africa. To me, they all looked the same race. But apparently, because of their ancestry, some of them considered themselves "arab."

So, that was vague and probably totally off, but I just imagine us all looking alike but insisting that we're not all alike. Holding on to things like last names to prove we were, way back when, so much better than the other person and therefore still are.

kuwisdelu
02-14-2012, 06:58 AM
When people talk about race no longer existing, I always think back to this article I read that showed the two sides of some conflict (get ready for this egregious race fail) somewhere in Africa. To me, they all looked the same race. But apparently, because of their ancestry, some of them considered themselves "arab."

So, that was vague and probably totally off, but I just imagine us all looking alike but insisting that we're not all alike. Holding on to things like last names to prove we were, way back when, so much better than the other person and therefore still are.

For me, I just think that for as much trouble as they cause us, all of those differences are still valuable, beautiful things.

It's an internal conflict I continue to struggle with, recognizing that my own children, if I have any, will most likely have even further diluted blood than mine, and I don't know to what extent I'll be able to show them their heritage, considering how estranged from it I am myself.

And it just makes me sad.

FoamyRules
02-14-2012, 08:06 AM
For me, I just think that for as much trouble as they cause us, all of those differences are still valuable, beautiful things.

It's an internal conflict I continue to struggle with, recognizing that my own children, if I have any, will most likely have even further diluted blood than mine, and I don't know to what extent I'll be able to show them their heritage, considering how estranged from it I am myself.

And it just makes me sad.
Agreed. That's how I feel at times.

maxmordon
02-14-2012, 08:21 AM
I have been relunctant to participate around because of the question and affairs of having from Cameron Díaz to Hugo Chávez and everything in the middle as Latino/Hispanic/Whatever.

Look at me in my avatar, I consider myself no different to my seven years old half-sister who just happen to be a darker skin than mine among other traits, nor I see difference among a culture united by language, history and tradition.

Yet, I feel I'm at times regarded different. As if I wasn't part of it, even if my entire life have been part of it.

Amadan
02-14-2012, 09:45 PM
I've been seeing an increasing trend online where people who are pretty clearly as white as white can be are claiming POC or "non-white" status on the basis of a parent or grandparent being partially/maybe some combination of Jewish/Greek/Muslim/Slavic/Irish/"Mediterranean"/Romani/deeply tanned/curly-haired/etc. As if the only "really" white people are Nordic-looking WASPs with bright blue eyes and golden blond hair, and if you can find any evidence that somewhere in your family tree is someone from a warmer clime, then you don't have to bear the label of being white.

Now, clearly some of those aforementioned ethnicities have and do carry baggage with them associated with a lack of privilege, but something seems off to me about a Greek-American, for example, saying she's not white because Ellis Island donchaknow. It's like an updated version of why My Irish Ancestors invalidates anything you say about slavery.

Vegetarian Cannibal
02-15-2012, 01:24 AM
I've been seeing an increasing trend online where people who are pretty clearly as white as white can be are claiming POC or "non-white" status on the basis of a parent or grandparent being partially/maybe some combination of Jewish/Greek/Muslim/Slavic/Irish/"Mediterranean"/Romani/deeply tanned/curly-haired/etc. As if the only "really" white people are Nordic-looking WASPs with bright blue eyes and golden blond hair, and if you can find any evidence that somewhere in your family tree is someone from a warmer clime, then you don't have to bear the label of being white.

Now, clearly some of those aforementioned ethnicities have and do carry baggage with them associated with a lack of privilege, but something seems off to me about a Greek-American, for example, saying she's not white because Ellis Island donchaknow. It's like an updated version of why My Irish Ancestors invalidates anything you say about slavery.

OMG, yes! To ALL of this. It is becoming a trend online, I swear! I can't COUNT the number of times I've read some melodramatic blog post by some white person lamenting on what you just described!

I'm sorry, but I just have little patience with threads like this. Not invalidating anyone in this particular thread, but it seriously annoys me when people who identify as white suddenly get an "epiphany" on race, and start claiming to "understand" discrimination based solely on some far flung ancestor they have, three or four generations back. Good gawd.

If you (collective you, not anyone on this thread) want to know about race and racism, sit down with people who identify themselves as those of color. Read books by people who identify themselves as people of color. Educate yourself. If you must read the views of a white person on race, start with Tim Wise. He seems to be one of the few white people on the planet who actually "gets it."

Race IS a social construct. If you look white and you reap the benefits of white privilege, don't claim to have an experience you don't have! For fuck's sake! I don't want to hear how terrible your life is just because you're Italian and you're a little tanner than your blue-eyed, fair-skinned sisters. Not interested. Come back to me when you've dealt with true racial oppression--when everyday you wake up and look in the mirror only to be reminded of your "non-whiteness" and of a history surrounding the eradication of your people, your religion, your ancestors and of a present where you and those who look like you are viewed as "other" or "problematic." Yeah. Then you can bitch about racism all you want. But until then, stop preaching to people of color about how tragic your white privilege is to you.

Ugh. *headdesk*

However let me clarify...you can be Italian and still have legitimate claims at an unjust society. At least in a social darwinistic sense (in AMERICA, mind you) the more white, male, heterosexual you are, the higher your status. If you fall outside of the Christian/male/heterosexual/white box, you're a minority. Not necessarily a "racial" one...but a minority nonetheless. It is entirely possible to bitch about sexism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, etc. without using race as a point of reference.

All of these "isms" are bad. We can work to solve them, but only if we are sensitive enough to understand each other without minimizing or ignoring each other's differing experiences in the process. I'm not saying any "ism" is better or more "tragic" than another. Often we get into a contest of: "which population suffers the most" and it gets us nowhere.

maxmordon
02-15-2012, 01:39 AM
People are people, and that's what most counts.

Kitty Pryde
02-15-2012, 02:30 AM
On that note, I think everything that can be productively said has been said. Thanks peeps who shared personal experiences with such openness.

eta: and DoomBunny would like to add much appreciation for everyone's thoughts!