I have been hearing a lot of rants lately from white people about why they feel as though they should get a “white history month,” or how they are mad that they don’t get to be proud of their cultural heritage in the same ways that minorities do, or that they should be able to have white-exclusive organizations and such. It is a very interesting discussion, because it seems on the surface to make sense. If there are scholarship funds set up just for Latinos/Latinas or black men and women, why can’t there be scholarship funds set up just for white men and women?
However, this argument fails to look at history. First of all, we are a Western society built on white supremacy. White people don’t get a white history month because every month is white history month, with the history books throwing in small sections on other cultures and their roles in American history. White people don’t have a club set aside to celebrate their cultural heritage because mainstream society IS their cultural heritage, and they already run things. There aren’t white-exclusive clubs and scholarships because society already IS white-exclusive in many ways. America’s entire culture and history is built on white superiority and dominance, and since we are super slow at progress, it still is built on white superiority and dominance. The reason there are minority societies, clubs, scholarships, and history months is because without this reactionary fight for equality, minorities would rarely get opportunities to get into college or learn about their histories.
I first read this letter by Willie Lynch about a year ago, and I was stunned by its content. Although it was written in 1712, I can still see the impact of this “strategy” at work right now in American black culture. The rants I hear usually include something along the lines of, “slavery was years ago, why do white people owe black people anything anymore?” Because of this letter. Because of this strategy. Because despite the fact that white people believe they aren’t responsible for what is going on with minorities today, if they aren’t actively trying to undo what has been done, they are contributing to its continuation. Your ancestors may not have been in the United States when this letter was written, but if they were here before segregation was ended, then you have a responsibility to fight for minority rights. And if you don’t want to fight for them, then you condone inequality. Stop crying about how you don’t get a “white history month” and go ask your minority friends how equal they feel in American society (if they haven’t all left because they are tired of hearing you cry about how you don’t get even MORE privilege). Think about the fact that when trash dumps decide where to put their facilities, the first areas they consider are places where minorities live because they believe minorities are unable to fight back because in most cases, they can’t. Think about the fact that the “black culture” that you dislike so much is a by-product of white society - and not just because it “accidentally” happened to turn out that way, but because slave owners sat around and planned for it to be that way.
Read this letter, and notice that this Willie Lynch’s plan was for this psychological manipulation to last at least 300 years, or until something changes it. And if you are white and are upset that you don’t get to celebrate your culture, think about the fact that America is a white culture. Everything you do that is “American” is white.
The reality is that when white people complain about not getting all of these things, they are really just realizing that they have to share with someone who they don’t feel is worth sharing with. They were used to have all of the resources, and now that they don’t, they are upset. Instead of having the edge on minorities, the playing field is very slowly leveling out, and it’s not a comfortable process. However, some introspection and exploration is helpful here. If you happen to be thinking that this is not true or this isn’t accurate, then do some research. Take a class on sexism or racism, or read about redlining and housing projects. Explore a little bit and see what you come up with. Hang out with some illegal immigrants and see where they work or what they want out of life. Talk to a college professor (one in social work or sociology) about oppression. Explore.
The point of this blog post isn’t to ostracize or polarize, but to make you question. If you disagree, don’t just disagree and leave it at that. Instead, do a research study, or at least read one or two. Talk to minorities about their views on oppression - and be open-minded, so they feel as though they can be honest. And for goodness sake, stop complaining about how difficult it is to be white.