Saturday, April 21, 2012

Definitions of Whiteness in the United States

Shocking personal insight today: I am prejudiced against WASPs. And when pushed, I couldn't come up with any real reason why. Also, this personal revelation was captured on film. I blew my own mind with that!

I blew my own mind again with my definition of "whiteness" which I found to be different than "ethnic," even thought both "ethnic" and "white" mean the same to anyone looking a white person. How is immigrant ethnicity, generations after the immigration, separate from "whiteness?" I can't answer. In regard to race, what does "whiteness" mean? And why does "white" connotate something other that my own sense of self, when I am "white?" "Medigon" is still used, disparagingly I might add, by Italian-Americans to say that someone is "white," meaning non-ethnic. Sometimes that term is heard in my own household.

And while I was talking for this film I was like it all goes back to Reagan for me! Why do I always blame everything on Reagan? Is he really the WORST ever? Well, yes, he is the worst, but is he to blame for my inability to define "whiteness?" It's my own white privilege that allows me to explore the meaning of "whiteness" and make it complex in relation to my own sense of self. But I still blame Reagan for everything. What?

It was disturbing and great to find these things out about myself.


History will absolve Mike said...

What film, comrade?

ZS said...

As usual, I don't really know. I do know that it's a PBS documentary about race and the 2012 election and I'm going to be exploring what it means to be a WASP in Philadelphia. Which I can't wait for. Join me for a drink at the Union League?

ZS said...

Also, my show is done, so now it's party time. And I love that photo you sent me the link to.