Thursday, July 08, 2004

White Guilt Free

I read Kathy Y. Wilson this week and hear her winning about the Enquirer's "Black Power" article from Sunday. In the column she refers to "White America" seven times and "Majority Culture" twice. When the Enquirer makes stereotypes she hates we read about it. Stereotypes are generalizations about a group or subgroup. Kathy retorts the Enquirer with what I think is a stereotype by lumping all white people together and stating they (we) all act a certain way or have specific attitudes towards blacks. Now, I know she is 'really' targeting the white people who are either conservative or don't suffer from a severe enough case of white guilt. Since I don't suffer from that affliction, I guess I am a target.

What am I to take away from her article? Kathy seems to not like it when white people (not 'people who are white') profile people who are black and successful in the business community here in Cincinnati. I guess I don't see what is wrong with people being successful. I guess I don't see what is wrong with the Enquirer pointing this fact out, including an indication that these people also are Black and yet with all of the racism in the world they still were able to succeed. Call it a "you've come a long way baby" type article, if you will. I guess the context is not to Kathy's liking. I guess she does not like it pointed out that if you want to succeed then you should or need to assimilate in to the "majority culture." That is not totally correct, but it is generally true that if you want to work in a community you must play by that community's standards and practices. What is wrong with this? 'Norms' do exist. Judging success is one of those 'norms.' Is that something that will change? No, no more than murder being wrong is a 'norm' in society. I still wonder what makes the Enquirer's article so terrible? If you want to live in a group that self-segregates based on race or culture, fine, but how can one expect to be accepted when you seek to exclude yourself from others. Is that not what segregation was? Does Kathy care so much about cultures remaining 'pure' that she will disparage people from having positive viewpoints? Viewpoints that promote norms that, to be frank, work: hard work, business, and organization. These norms are hardly exclusive to anyone and everyone uses them in their own way, but why should they offend Kathy?

I guess Kathy wants people to be able to succeed no matter how much they fit in. I also detected an anti-business tone in her message too, something not foreign to City Beat. What I don't grasp is how the hell she wants people to treated? Are they to be themselves? If so, then why does she imply that "white America" only accepts these people because they assimilate and that black people who somehow act differently?

What is so wrong with people assimilating? Culture is fluid. Race is not. Race is not culture. Culture should be the individual’s choice, including the individuals’s choice to value their own culture and want to spread it. With that "natural" element of humanity present, majority cultures will always rule success in a society. People have three choices, fit in, go against the grain, or make your own balance where you can function on your own.

Nick Spencer praises the column and hints at a little white guilt.

1 comment:

  1. I am signing on an as "Anonymous" because I don't have a password to comment and don't know how to get one. For what it's worth, my name is Jonathan Schiff and I both live and work in Cincinnati. My e-amil address is

    I pasted in portions of one of the previous posts on which I would like to comment.

    "...You tell the white middle class man that busts his butt every day, deals with injury as a part of his duty at work, and has his body break down at the age of 50 that his hard work and sacrifice is built upon events of 200 years ago..."

    Well, it didn't end 200 years ago. First off slavery ended about 150 years ago. Not long after that the "Jim Crow" laws came into existence. And, what about the thousands of black men lynched in a campaign that continued with official endorsement throughout the South for decades into the 20th Century? What about the killings during the civil rights' struggle of the fifties and sixties.

    hell, I'm white and I've seen it right here in river city over the decades I've lived here. Landlords moving heaven and earth to avoid having to rent to blacks. Employers doing the same.

    There is this academic who wrote a book called "The End of Racism," in which he asserts (and obviously this is vastly oversimplified)that American society is no longer racist and if whites recoil from the thought of walking at night through a black neighborhood it's because of a rational calculus that crime is more prevalent among blacks. Well, maybe yes, maybe no. He doesn't, however, explain why, if it is indeed true, why a certain group of people (the identity of which defies all attempts at definition)should be inclined toward such a violent disposition.

    "my dad works with black men that work equally hard and are treated the same because they do so...this isn't to say that there aren't racists or discrimination in his line of work but if keep harping on slavery nothing will ever way to reverse racism?"

    Frankly, I know a lot of blacks who work very hard and compentently and remain at the bottom of the food chain defined as one of them shiftless, lazy n_____s

    I have a few stories to tell about that.


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