Whiteness is a concept, an ideology, and a mindset that literally centers around being…white. Everyone in the Unites States is more than familiar with Whiteness. It runs rampant through the thoughts of each and every person living on American soil, in many ways, it is America. It tells you “You would look so pretty if you straightened your hair”, or “Talking about slavery only brings more division” and of course ” There are poor white people too”. Whiteness, as we know is not the same as white people (although closely adjacent) but it is an ideology that is so easy for white people to subscribe to, it is the soapbox for many white people to stand and proclaim all things white to be intelligent, noble, benevolent and superior.
Whiteness has a rich history of multiplicity, first only adorning the title of “white” to those who were anglo-saxon and protestant which excluded many of the people we know as white today (Irish, Italians, Greeks, Poles, Hungarians, North Africans and other Slavic Europeans) The white Protestants considered themselves to be intelligent, virtuous and holy, while they considered the Catholics to be loud, crude, and drunk. This helps solidify whiteness for the next 300 plus years of world history. Whiteness is the mindset and attitude that claims virtues as its own, weather or not they produce and exercise these fruits are irrelevant.
Case 1: Whiteness Claims Morality
Whiteness, as we have come to understand, likes to claim moral superiority. In the above example ‘white” Protestants were “superior” to the Catholics, the Saxons better than the Celtics. It never stopped there however, subscribing to Whiteness is subscribing to the belief that all white people are good and moral, and if white people do anything immoral it was influenced by an outside force and therefore white people cannot and should not claim full responsibility. You see this whenever topics about racism is discussed, none more evident than in conversations about slavery. Assuming that schools accurately taught the true brutality and violent nature of slavery in history class (they don’t) you, will inevitably hear someone say: “Some slave owners really loved their slaves and treated them like family”, “Well some slaves killed their masters so they weren’t innocent either”, or of course “Africans enslaved other Africans”. Why is it such a difficult thing to come to the ubiquitous agreement that American slavery was absolutely inhumane and terrible. We have no problem blaming the Nazis for the horrors done to the Jewish community or the Hutus for the mass slaughter of the Tutsi people of Rowanda. We have a real problem associating white people in America to anything evil or wrong. Because of Whiteness.
There are many other examples but one of the more interesting is the American obsession with humanizing white criminals. Now, of course, all criminals are humans and should be treated with the human dignity that God designed, but when we “humanize” white criminals we seek to understand the series of events that lead them to do such a tragic act of evil, from stealing millions of dollars to shooting up innocent students, Americans are obsessed with figuring out a tangible why, and are not content with the explanation that all people are capable of human evil, white people included. We never, however, give the same courtesy of understanding to any person of color. Blacks and Latinos are seen as dysfunctional by nature of melanin. They are violent, rough, evil, and troubled simply because they not “white” so there is no need to seek understanding, they just are because they are.
Movies, documentaries, and television specials are constantly being made about white serial killers and psychopaths and they are studied as the “exceptions” to the Whiteness rule. We cast handsome young Hollywood celebrities such Zac Efron who will portray Ted Bundy in the 2018 thriller film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile , or Gus Halper and Miles Villanueva, who portray Erik and Lyle Menendez in the Law and Order Mini Series True Crime. Not to mention the numerous accounts of theft and deception on Wall Street that we love to investigate and then make into million dollar movies. Why are we intrigued when crime is white but disgusted when crime is colored? Isn’t justice blind? Should not all people be awarded with the same respect, dignity, and discipline that fits the crime committed? Whiteness has told us otherwise, and we all believed him.
Case 2: Whiteness Claims Intelligence
Study after study after study has shown that Americans believe that black students are less intelligent than white students. Whiteness sold this idea to us, and we bought it. Ever wonder why some history textbooks still call Native Americans Indians, or white colonizers “explorers”? Or dedicates every good and perfect invention to those of Western European descent? Whiteness tells the narrative that all things good, useful, complex, and necessary have come from the brilliant minds of white men and sometimes women. When discussing the great accomplishments of mathmatics, science, engineering, literature, architecture, and technology, we only hear about them coming from one part of one continent of the world. If the earliest humans were living, building, designing, and creating in Central Africa, how is this possible? Of course great and magnificent people and ideas have come from Europe, many have changed the course of history, but brilliant minds are brilliant minds anywhere and every country produces talented and creative individuals that have more than contributed to the foward progression of the human project.
Whitenes claims intelligent to a fault, and those who subscribe to it will fight to find logical reasoning in inventions that have none, like race. We know now (we knew then too) that we are one human race, expanding only in various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Yet race was invented as a social, economic and political hierarchy with White at the top, Black on the bottom, and all the other colors scrambling to find their place in the middle. Surely the racial hierarchy was invented by White Europeans (I don’t think any other group of people woukd form a racial hierarchy with White people on top if they themselves were not White), and we have seen the social, economic, and psychological damage that racism has done, so why don’t we abandon the idea and move on. There are several complex reasons, but here is a simple one: Whiteness can’t be wrong. An ideology that claims superior intelligence cannot sink to the human level of fallacy. So we will enact laws, abandom neiborhoods and refuse to fund schools where there are people of color so that they cannot learn, so our idea of Whiteness remains true. We will claim intelligence by giving White students in White neighborhoods access to the newest ad best technology so that they cannot help but succeed, and if they fail we will provide them with the best tutors so they can continue to progress. A large part of the grandeur of Whiteness is simply being better than Black people; being better than all people really, but Blacks especially. Whiteness cannot be wrong, and thus, it is killing all of us.
Who subscribes to Whiteness
Well, anyone who believes that White is superior even in the slightest way, shape or form, subscribes to Whiteness. On a national level, America susbcribes to Whiteness, and has been since coming onto Native land and having the arrogance to claim developed land as their own. Our crinimal justice system, educational system, media, beauty industry, and prison system all subscribe to Whiteness as well. White people often susbcribe to this ideaology, because of the economic and social benefits they (and only they) gain from indulging in such a system. Minorities are guilty of this also, East Asians, South East Asians, Central Americans, Carribean people, and Black Americans also inflict the poison of colorism and texturism in our own communties, which are byproducts of Whiteness.
Whiteness is the disease in which virually all people are infected, but there is s cure. All people must make a conscious and consistant decision to identify how Whitness plays a role in our decision making, from who’s beautiful to what costoms do we consider normal. Whiteness is a learned social pattern, but just like any inaccuracy, it can be unlearned until White is nothing more than a color, among the other brilliant colors in in the rainbow of humanity that God created.