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Again, thanks to the good and kind people who contributed to my first ever donation drive over at my "home base" We Are Respectable Negroes. A few more folks from the Daily Kos offered up some ducats yesterday. That is so very kind and appreciated. I learn from all of you and my own work gets better because of our dialogue(s) and sharing.

If things continue for a week or so, I will be able to get a plane ticket to make a surprise visit to see my mother and our 16 year old dog this Christmas. If you have a spare dollar or two, do throw it in to the collective begging bowl for our fundraising drive if you can.
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In this post, I suggested that CNN's Black in America series is extremely problematic because of how it normalizes whiteness. I would like to play with that idea some more.

The premise behind the Black in America series is that people of color are some type of fascinating Other to be deconstructed, explained, and their mysterious ways worked through on national television.

Let us reverse the gaze for a moment. Decentering whiteness, and challenging how it is taken as a de facto, unmarked, and unnamed type of "normal" identity, is critical if we are to understand the roots--and implications--of white racial resentment and white fear in post civil rights America.

The white identity politics of the Right, which they are doubling down on following Romney's defeat by Obama, are a reaction to how conservatives perceive Whiteness as being challenged and under siege in this moment. As such, the timing is opportune for examining the "mysterious" and "problematic" ways of white folks. Such questions can serve the Common Good and better prepare all of us for an America where the colorline is in flux.

As such, if CNN made a White in America series, what questions and topics would you like to see it explore?

Should the show focus on the pathologies of the white poor, middle class, and rich, with their high levels of drug use, sexual promiscuity, and the crisis of white masculinity in this country?

Alternatively, should the show explore how rich white men almost destroyed the country's economy and were enabled by other elites in doing so...we all know that if blacks or other people of color behaved as badly as the White CEO's that caused the Great Recession, a national conversation about "affirmative action" (and how such incompetents got their jobs) would spontaneously occur.

In the spirit of the Black in America series, I have some specific questions about White People that I am very curious about. Perhaps, some of our readers can offer up some answers for the benefit of the non-white public.

1. I have never heard of black or Hispanic parents letting their teenage, or even college age children, have sex in the house with former's knowledge. Moreover, I have acquaintances who happen to be white, whose mothers would bring them breakfast in bed after their girlfriend spent the night. Is this common?

2. I would like to know about colorism in the white community. White people have many issues surrounding their skin color. On one hand, there is an odd fascination and revulsion with dark skin. Many white folks like to get a tan; however, they have no sense of affinity with black or brown people. How is this reconciled? Also, the "darker" white ethnic groups in the United States have a reputation for being very hostile to people of color. What types of psychological neuroses are at work there?

3. The bodies of black women have been an object of prurient fascination, lust, wanting, and disgust when viewed through the White Gaze. See: Sarah Baartman otherwise known as "The Hottentot Venus," many commercial hip hop videos, as well as some of the various sub-genres in contemporary pornography.

In the West, the black body has been an object of loathing by whites. It is, and has been, a site for racist attitudes to be (quite literally) projected upon. Thus, a puzzle.

How do white folks reconcile the popularity of white women who are now famous for having physical attributes which are poor imitations of idealized black women's bodies? See Kim Kardashian, a white women who is famous for having a butt that is none too special or particularly attractive.

4. There have been documentaries about black women's relationship with their hair. I would like to learn more about white women's hair. What are all of those products that white women, and some men, use to "style" it with? Who teaches you good white folks how to use all of those hair treatments? How much do white women spend at the hair salon? How often do you go?

Also, why do most white men go to the same place where white women get their haircuts? Black men are the product of a barbershop culture, this leads me to ask some questions about white (American) men's masculinity.

5. When you read about white teachers having sex with their students, is there any sense of racial shame? One rarely sees stories about black and brown folks doing such things. Moreover, when you read about white serial killers, white domestic terrorists, and white mass shooters who go crazy and kill large numbers of people at movie theaters, do you reflect about what is wrong in your own culture?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am pretty sure that "White in America" (6+ / 0-)

    is already the subject of the majority of American social cultural criticisms, critiques, and documentaries.

    Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?

    by ConfusedSkyes on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:50:59 AM PST

    •  you know, but it isn't named as such (18+ / 0-)

      nor does it pathologize them the way that black and brown folks are the Other on those shows.

      •  I haven't seen the later ones, so I can't comment (0+ / 0-)

        on those in particular. But I viewed the first series with my father, at his heavy insistence that it would be instructive. What I recall from that first one was an honest attempt at addressing a lot of the modern issues, and not a carnivalization or "other" transformation.

        Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?

        by ConfusedSkyes on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:57:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "educational" is a mask and a genre type (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          that works from a foundation that there is something to be "discovered" for white people by studying non-whites on these shows.

          •  Er, wrong tree, Mr. de Vega. (0+ / 0-)

            My dad's black, I'm half.

            Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?

            by ConfusedSkyes on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:22:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well yes, (0+ / 0-)

            for white people, and alot of black people there is alot of "discovery" to be had. I wish more white people would discover more knowledge about us black people. Hell, more black people need to discover their own history as well.

            Watch the history channel if you want to learn about white people. Lots of stuff there about British/Irish/German/French/Italian/Russian history. That IS white people's history, and they should be proud of it.

            Black American people's ties with Africa (at least their family's personal role in it) were lost on the slave ship. Tribes were mixed together, enslaved together, and freed together, at which point they (we, including myself in it) became Negros/Blacks and later (some became) African Americans. [See Ossie Davis' Malcolm X eulogy to understand the difference between a black/negro and an African American.]

            The African American "black" experience is wholly different from the "white" Irish/Italian/British/French/German American experience. This series on CNN exists to examine that unique experience. People who were formerly enslaved, discriminated against and had their history systematically (to this day) erased cannot be treated in the same light as people who can point to their family's name on the Ellis Island list.

            There's no" White in America" because there doesn't need to be. That story's been told.

      •  I see what you did there. (11+ / 0-)

        It's pretty offensive to be examined like a curious mutation of "normal" human culture.

        I would like for a hypothetical "White in America" show to ask if white people ever have to ponder about why their white male child has nothing but posters of black women fictional characters on their wall?

        I mentioned in another diary that my 13 year old daughter's wall is covered with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Gordon Freeman, etc. Nothing but white dudes. Even the cartoons. Bob the Builder. Jimmy Neutron.

        What if their white boy child had posters of Oprah, Columbiana (Zoe Saldana), Rue (Hunger Games), Michonne (The Walking Dead), Nairobi (The Matrix), Madea (Tyler Perry), etc. on his bedroom walls? Nothing but black women. Would that seem curious to them?

        I'm guessing it would be a bit weird. Black women are absent from a lot of media. I had to struggle to come up with examples. A white boy with these posters would be considered curious and questions would be raised as to whether or not he has some kindda unhealthy fetish.

        But my daughter? Oh, she's just a geek and geeky stuff never includes little black girls. Fans usually prefer the lead. The lead is always a white man. Perfectly logical.

        I wonder how many white people think about these kinds of things when viewing the world through the eyes of their children.

        "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

        by GenXangster on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:16:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (8+ / 0-)

          Reminds me of when my son (bi-racial) was younger and going to a birthday party and the party girl (white) was Barbie obsessed. A white friend of his was with us and said "But party girl isn't black" and son said " so " .

          It's ingrained in society that "black" dolls are for black kids but white dolls are for everyone.

          I laughed all night when friend's mom called me and said that her son insisted on getting party girl a different black Barbie so my son's gift wouldn't be all alone among the Barbies.

          The story of me being willing to buy anything BUT Barbie, regardless of color, is a whole nother post.

          We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

          by Vita Brevis on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:41:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think I mentioned this elsewhere (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GenXangster, Oh Mary Oh

          But get your daughter into the Avatar series.

          They're not black, as the series is based on Asian (and I do mean Asian, every corner of that continent) sensibilities, but a major supporting character of the first cartoon is a dark-ish skinned girl from an Inuit-based culture, and the lead of the second is a teenager from the same.

          Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?

          by ConfusedSkyes on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:57:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's flipping awesome that your daughter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GenXangster

          has a Gordon Freeman poster :)

          15 years old and fighting like hell to make a difference, Tomorrowsprogressives.com

          by TomorrowsProgressives on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:40:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Aint it? :-) (0+ / 0-)

            When I was pregnant with her, I used to watch her father play the first generation Half-Life for hours. I know a lot of the story even though the only game I play is The Sims (3).

            When my daughter plays The Sims, she always makes a "Freeman" family. All redheads. LOL Gordon made it out of the Black Mesa thing alive and settled down and made a family. ;-P

            "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

            by GenXangster on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:43:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  This is so so true: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GenXangster

          "But my daughter? Oh, she's just a geek and geeky stuff never includes little black girls."

          No geeky stuff, no exciting stuff, no adventure stuff. My granddaughter polished off the Harry Potter series in record time; then she wanted more. But she wanted the next ones to feature an African American character- and it had to be the lead character.

          So we're at this giant book fair and I'm trying to help her find something that would fill the bill- didn't even have to be magic, could be an adventure or detective series. And it had to be contemporary- no more brave little girls on the Underground Railroad.

          We found zip. She loves to write, so I said maybe it just hasn't been written yet, and maybe you're the one to write it. She said "I just don't think I should have to", and I said "well you're right about that".
          BTW - If anyone has a recommendation, I'm all ears.

    •  agreed--- (5+ / 0-)

      i'm not sure where chauncey is going with this.

      also:

      Also, why do most white men go to the same place where white women get their haircuts? Black men are the product of a barbershop culture, this leads me to ask some questions about white (American) men's masculinity.
      I can't tell whether this is snark or not---I'm pretty sure they are as gender segregated at the beauty shop as we are. At least they are in my town, which has a salon (and only women go there) and an old-fashioned barber shop.

      pseudoscience can kill

      by terrypinder on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:54:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the destination is the fun, but since you asked (5+ / 0-)

        those specials on blacks and latinos and others proceed from perspective that our culture is pathological, not "normal" etc. thus, they focus on seemingly minor things and amplify them into some big narrative. i am asking the same types of questions here.

        •  now some of those shows (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ConfusedSkyes

          which I did watch, I didn't see as pathology. I thought they were interesting.

          I didn't watch the one that talked about colorism---which we both know was a big thing at one point in history (and still is, subconsiously, among some. I mean it's a common enough topic amongst some of the intelligensia circles/blogs/tweets I read and frequent)

          pseudoscience can kill

          by terrypinder on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:06:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think Martin Mull already did this show... (0+ / 0-)

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:06:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  LOL! More of your not-so-subtle bigotry (4+ / 0-)

    masquerading as a search for "answers".

    Send conservatives to FilthyLiberal.com for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:53:06 AM PST

  •  It's like when your kids ask: (4+ / 0-)

    "Ok there's mother's day and father's day....why isn't there a children's day?"

    And the parent always answers:
    "Every day is children's day."

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:53:11 AM PST

    •  There IS a Children's Day. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish

      It's in early June, or always has been. In my childhood, it meant that you had to read a Bible passage in church- not exactly something most kids looked forward to.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:58:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  To take on number 5: (5+ / 0-)

    My wife and I will sit around and muse on how serial killers are so often white, but with more opportunities out there, that is changing now!

    Seriously, my wife and I reflect on what is wrong with white culture, but I believe most of the country, when there is a mass murder by a white guy, basically ask,
    "What is wrong with our (the USA) society in general?"

    In other words, there is no generalization to other white folks as there would be in the case of a minority; AND the whiteness (of the perp) is (as you said above) taken as the norm.  Thus, the generalization is all about society in our country, rather than just about white folks.

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:56:19 AM PST

    •  what would happen if white folks had it made (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, splashy, Oh Mary Oh, gffish

      plain that domestic terrorists, the majority of those convicted of child sex abuse, treason, serial killing, etc. etc. etc. are disproportionately white? would there be a national fit or a "who cares?"

      •  a mere coincidence, I'm sure. Skewed stats! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wwjjd

        Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:05:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  White people who do the heinous (0+ / 0-)

      are always immediately framed as outliers. They are always pictured as being divergent, unstable, utterly unlike the norm... As I told a co-worker when the Abu Ghraib pictures became public and he was touting the Bush Administration party line that those abuses... and the pictures of them... with the guards showing frivolity and the enjoyment of the degradation and disrespect... were not representative of America... Google "lynching postcards" and tell me what you find...

      The track record says in many instances what they want people to believe is an aberration is often par for the course...

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 11:34:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If CNN made a White In America show (6+ / 0-)

    I would just assume that CNN was truly on life support and no longer deserved the moniker of news station.

    The 47% also "pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more" but when Romney does it he thinks it's a virtue, while when they do it, he thinks they are deadbeats.

    by jsfox on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:58:03 AM PST

  •  History of White People in America - Martin Mull (11+ / 0-)

    I refer you to this primary reference, in paperback and on DVD.

  •  Oh... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, JayRaye, splashy

    This is going to be fun.

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

    by lcj98 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:00:28 PM PST

  •  I think that your questions for white people (3+ / 0-)

    are just as stupid as CNN questions for black people.

    It really is absurd that CNN would air such crap.

  •  Every Now and Then a Movie or TV Show Will Try (12+ / 0-)

    to look at whites from some other perspective.

    My first experience with this was the 1970 film Little Big Man. I've come to know some Natives since then and can appreciate that it's far from a documentary; still it was a surprising experience to see whites portrayed in caricatures and to have a brief experience of identifying with the Human Beings having the "normal" perspective.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:03:53 PM PST

  •  We already have 'Stuff White People Like' (6+ / 0-)

    There's already a study of white people. Maybe it's a little too scholarly for prime time, and might not translate to TV easily, but Stuff White People Like is already out there. I suppose the networks are waiting to see how popular it gets, and whether there's room for another show about white people. You know, besides everything else already on TV.

    Or maybe just pop new title cards at the front of some existing shows. Easily, if not comfortably, to mind come Buckwild, Jersey Shore, Big Love, Weeds and that honey-whatever madness that I still refuse even to google. Or how about a forensic accounting version of Cops, where bankers and hedge fund managers get frogmarched out of their bedrooms?

    Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

    by chimpy on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:04:29 PM PST

  •  A little education, perhaps?? (7+ / 0-)

    I was amazed when I learned that there are so many black folks who don't realize that a Jewish person can have trouble calling himself white and identifying with general white culture.

    (Why in hell the word ends with nazi, I will never figure out)...Ashkenazi Jews, such as myself, can have parents with wiry hair, broad features, and witness anti-semitism from white folks so often, that the identity lines can become a bit blurred.

    Furthermore, I find I have far more of a kinship with black folks than I do with most Irish, Italian, German, (and generally other white) folks.

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:04:35 PM PST

    •  i agree, but there is a bunch of history there (6+ / 0-)

      you likely know about. there is a great book called "how jews became white" that you may find interesting and of use.

      •  I think it's just good that people with open (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GenXangster, Gentle Giant, Oh Mary Oh

        minds are aware of such phenomena that I experience.  Even though there is that history, it is up to the individual, and his/her own experiences.  I am sure I am more open-minded and accepting than many, and thus I ask alot of internal questions, and feel natural aversion to many things white (because of history in this country).

        Much the same way it was an eye opener for me to move to Jamaica, Queens, and see a truly mixed neighborhood....and learn how various peoples of color (different cultures) view other brown folks, and how a huge premium is often placed on lighter skin tone.  I had no clue.  It is very sad for me to see that.

        I worked with a Guyanese woman, and she was dark.  She told me all of her fmaily calls her "blacky".  I found that so offensive, but it is apprently very commonplace.

        My friend, who is from DR and also dark, of course has family members of all shades of color.  He actually told me that some of them will actually give him a different handshake than the lighter people in his family!  (of course he resents that whole attitude).

        It's effing crazy!!

        I would rather point out the differences and laugh a little when it is right to do so.
        (I can't post a link, but I posted a diary on here earlier today that you MIGHT find interesting...on ESPN and Cris Carter/Keyshawn).
        I tagged it "Black Kos", if that helps you find it.

        Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:16:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Similar to that, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, Oh Mary Oh, KenBee, starfu

          I worked for 16 years in a factory in a small city that employed around 400 people, only about a half dozen of them black, and fewer asian and hispanic. I was unaware how the culture of that place was so skewed, having grown up rural, until I took a job in another factory in the major city in our area and walked into a truly multi-cultural environment that was still too steeped in historically white infrastructure.
          I learned a lot from the things that went wrong in my workplace and in the company as a whole. And it was this company that put me through over 110 course hours to learn to become a kind of cultural agent of change as a way of creating a culture that mined its diversity. We tried to create a workplace equally accessible to all cultures. There were varying degrees of success.
          I eventually moved into an office environment. The cultural initiative hadn't reached the area yet. Most people thought it didn't need to be- that everything was just fine and everybody got along just great. A handful of AA women disagreed.
          They, all on their own, set up a Black History Month celebration involving some wonderful food, but also information from the various employee cultural networks. I spoke out at the celebration immediately after the network reps finished their presentations, addressing mainly my fellow whites to tell them how informative and fulfilling I found the various cultural events sponsored by the networks and stressing you needn't be of the culture to join the network. Mere curiosity or a personal desire to know more or do more was enough.
          I made some new friends that day. Together with those women, we created a cultural team that worked in the workplace with our coworkers to learn more about one another's cultures and to build understanding. One notoriously shy man gave a talk tracing his lineage to one of the greatest and most beloved Iroquois Chiefs.

          A lot of doors were opened and comraderie built through that team. Members came and went, but it was always diverse. We had a blast and it was a lovefest, until the downsizing and budget cuts devastated the budget for all "non-essentials" (we disagreed) and cast some of us out of the company, including myself.
          The last thing I said to my friends, my sisters who founded that team with me was to plead with them to keep it going. I don't know if they managed to.
          The organization recently moved to a building near my new company, my new workplace. One of these days, I'm going to take a stroll over there.
          Sometimes reaching across social or racial barriers to someone who is reaching across to you can bring you wonderful surprises- love, joy, friendship... greater than you could have anticipated. It ain't the package. It's the contents. We wept when we parted. We may very well weep when we reconnect.

          I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

          by Gentle Giant on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:47:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Back in the day (0+ / 0-)

          my sister had a friend whose parents had come to NY from Haiti who I was absolutely smitten with (the girl was fine firm and fully packed; curves in all the right places)...the good news was she liked me too; the bad news was it would never happen beyond te occasional basement party hookup because her father would not allow any 'black boys' to date his daughter...the fact that he was darker than me notwithstanding...in his estimation, I was black..and he was not...

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 11:44:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not of earth shattering importance, but, on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Oh Mary Oh

    balance, I think better said than not. Thank you for your work.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:05:59 PM PST

  •  "what's up with miracle whip?" (7+ / 0-)

    Coming Attraction: "Tea Party II - now with more stupid!"

    by memofromturner on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:06:35 PM PST

  •  Why don't white people carry umbrellas (7+ / 0-)

    Along with the fondness for skin cancer, I notice most white people, especially men, refuse to carry umbrellas, in a day and age when weather forecasts are easily accessible and umbrellas are cheap and plentiful.

  •  It's interesting to ponder...of course, (15+ / 0-)

    a big part of the problem is that "white" (without another modifier) functions almost as a neutral term--designating not so much the presence of a series of attributes/connotations, but almost the absence of anything. This is totally different from the way "latino" or "black" function in the language as it is used.

    Once another term is added to "white" (jewish, gay, fundamentalist, Republican, liberal) then suddenly it functions in a way similar to "black." E.g., as a sort of index for a bunch of traits/connotations--some good, some bad, but undeniably a part of the semantic world.

    Not sure if Mr. de Vega would agree, but I think this is part of what he challenges us who are white to discover about racism.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:09:23 PM PST

  •  I'M a white man (3+ / 0-)

    and i'm also married to a woman of color.

    I go to a barber shop, predominantly men go there. my wife goes to a beauty salon.  I'm guessing that it's predominantly women, though one of her brothers (also, man of color) goes there as well.

    I work in local news.  Most of the improper student teacher relationships we cover are indeed white people. though we have covered people of color, not quite as much though. Should be noted that most the teachers in this area are white. I don't think the improper relationships are necessarily disproportionately white.

    I have never "purposely gotten a tan". My sister, brother and mother, as far as I know, don't go tanning.  As I've said, I'm married to a person of color. Her skin tone does not repulse me, nor my family.

    I suppose there are many many super models that have curvy black-type bodies, though none come to mind other than Ana Nicole Smith.  Maybe Kim Karshian is the exception, not the rule.

    Maybe I'm the exception among white men.  

    I know about Black in America series on CNN. Never saw it though.  Not really interested.

  •  The hair thing (0+ / 0-)

    Actually, as an owner of white people's hair, I nevertheless continue to be mystified by how many people's hairstyles are attained, of all races and ethnicities.

    How lots of people get their hair to do what it does might be an interesting ... well if not CNN program, at least internet video. But I believe a lot of that is actually already on YouTube. I've seen videos where people show you how to do particular hairstyles.

  •  There is a radio program about being (8+ / 0-)

    very white in America, it's called Prairie Home Companion. People ask me if I'm a fan, being from MN and all. I answer that I do listen sometimes, but it hits a little too close to home most of the time.

    Here is my biggest complaint about poor white people: all a politician has to do is point to people of color and say, "look, those (lazy) people are taking your stuff!"

    And most of those working class white people will vote for the billionaire's candidate, hoping all the while that the nice billionaire will trickle down some wealth on them.

    (Get a clue, working class white people, that yellow stuff coming out of the billionaire & falling on your head, it might be golden, but it won't buy you any comforts.)

    How to put this into a TV shoew? Don't know.

    Also, it's one thing for a fellow worker to mock & criticize poor whites, quite another for upper class people to do it. (There is another word for poor whites that I would use, but then I get jumped on, even tho that is where I come from.)

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Lives lost trying to earn a living.

    by JayRaye on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:34:00 PM PST

    •  I think we are the only country on the planet (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, a2nite, splashy, Oh Mary Oh, gffish

      where so many low income white people believe and vote against their economic self-interest.  It used to be like that in the UK in the Thatcher days, but even they evolved.  The Conservative Party there now even supports gay marriage and is not trying to voucher-ize their single payer health care system.

    •  I don't live in poverty, but I am close to being (5+ / 0-)

      a poor white person.

      Those that vote Republican against their own best interests are, in my view, one or more of the following: uninformed, ignorant, partisan, (in Obama's case) racist, apolitical, stupid, naive...

      But it really has little to do with their financial state. Did I leave out Southern? Didn't mean to.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:56:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I mostly agree with what you are saying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant

        except that it has everything to do with their financial state, because if they were rich & voting Republican, then they would be voting in their own financial interest and not against it.

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Lives lost trying to earn a living.

        by JayRaye on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:10:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Timely given that I just saw this (4+ / 0-)

    story on HuffPoSerena Williams Impersonation: Is Caroline Wozniacki's Imitation Of The Tennis Star Racist?

    If this had been the first time, I might say poor taste, tacky, and stupid but not necessarily racist. But it's not.

    Back to the diary. "White in America" is the baseline from which everything else is viewed as a deviation. The diarist's argument, and as several of the comments confirm, remind me of a scene from "Silence of The Lambs" where Clarice says to Dr. Lecter:
    "But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself"

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:41:24 PM PST

  •  Albinos, I suppose (0+ / 0-)

    and also snowmen, women, and children.

    but mostly albinos.

  •  Assuming the questions are not snark or (10+ / 0-)

    rhetorical:

    1) I've only rarely heard of white parents allowing their teenage kids to have sex in the home. About as often as I've heard of minority children doing the same. In all cases, it's rare and aberrant to every person of every race that isn't a bigot or sociopath.

    2) Not aware of a white preoccupation with their skin color ala the high yellow sort of distinction outlined by Spike Lee. Most of the white preoccupation with skin is narcissistic- acne creams, moisturizers, sunburn prevention & treatment. "Anti-aging." Freckles.
    I believe the "darker white's" hostility toward brown people may be rooted historically in prejudicial mistreatment they suffered as immigrants to this country and exist as pronouncement to differentiate themselves, of ensuring they maintain a higher rung on the "racial ladder".

    3) Attraction to body type among whites is largely individualistic and often fetishist. Whites do imitate and adopt/adapt much of Black Culture. I don't know how much of collagen injection and glute re-shaping is a conscious effort to emulate black body features. Different strokes for different folks.
    On a personal note, this white guy finds healthy women attractive. Round, skinny, well-endowed, slighty-endowed - as long as the woman is physically healthy/fit and is clean (not always well-groomed) she can be attractive. I'm personally not locked into a "type". I just find people who are sickly from their own abuses and unhealthy habits to be unattractive.

    4) White women's hair. For that matter, all women's hair. I'm glad they like to look pretty. It's nice to look at, but I don't get it. I wouldn't want to be obsessed that much with any facet of my physiogamy.
    I cut my own hair, mostly because I'm broke or can't always get to a barber during his hours. I keep it short because it's convenient. When I do have it cut, I go to a barber shop. One barber I had was great at current events and sports chatter. Another Italian gentlemen would talk non-stop about "dollies"- his term for women. Another talked family, history, local events. One has deer heads on the wall (a part of my culture I can never get my head around) and is conversant on all of the above except he doesn't talk about women. (His wife is just behind the door.)

    5) White teachers sleeping with students. Nope. No racial shame. I see that as a personal failing- a matter of personal ethics or morality. I do reflect on our culture about such things, but since our nation's/society's culture is (too) white-centric, when whites reflect on America's culture, we're usually reflecting primarily on white culture and most of us aren't aware of that.

    Every being on the planet walks through the world in her/his own skin, seeing things through their own eyes and filtering them through their own knowledge and experiences. It doesn't matter what race you are. You can't help but do this.
    Some of us (all races included) are more enlightened and have had experiences and opportunities to make us so. It is a privilege and a short-coming that whites in particular can navigate their lives without having to give race-rooted issues, symptoms much thought. We have unearned privileges of which most of us are unaware. These aspects of white privilege render us with social partial blindness.

    We need to be made aware. The best way is through education and experience afforded us by our non-white neighbors, gently and patiently.
    Mine came through the workplace as organized and facilitated by The Khaleel Jamison Group.

    Most whites are ignorant of the extent to which we're privileged and the extent to which the so-called "out groups" are not. We live a very different reality. And then there are the other whites, the ones who are mean as spit, and who are all about racial stereotypes, relish and embrace their hatred...
    They are too numerous, but their numbers are decreasing with each succeeding generation.

    I hope nothing I've said hear has offended anyone. If it has, please know that was not my intent. I value open discussion about any social issue. To have such discussions, we need to be predisposed to forgive quickly, to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt, and to allow ourselves and others the ability to be clumsy as we teach and learn from each other.
    It ain't no where near kumbaya. It's messy and difficult. And necessary to our society's health.
    One writer on racial issues, Bruce Jacobs, tells the story of his childhood when he was accosted with his first racial slur. He was very upset and spoke with his mother, who told him to "look the other person in the eyes until you see yourself there". (Not a good idea in some asian cultures. Considered very rude.) But the concept is sound. If you recognize something of yourself in the eyes of "the other", it is much more difficult to maintain preconceived notions of the separation or otherness of that person.  

    My belief regarding skin color: We are all different shades of the color brown, barring the occasional total lack of pigmentation which is a natural aberration. So far, my ancestry appears to be European with an ancestor or more in the Baltic nations. Yet I am, like my father, somewhat darker than the average white guy. I'd love to learn where that might come from.
    But being white, being a man, being tall, being above average in intelligence, being American, being a baby boomer... these personal attributes among others color the way I experience, relate with and react to the world. I possess many social advantages (no $$$ though) that non-whites, women, small-statured people, other nationalities, etc. do not possess. I have to be conscious of that if I am to be a responsible human being, if I am to understand (as best as I can) what the lives of my fellow human beings are like, and if I am to conduct myself as a gentleman, not taking advantage of privileges I have not earned.

    It ain't easy, but I'm really not in a position to complain. That isn't white guilt. That's relativism.

    Very few people are completely of one race, unless you are referring to the human one.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:56:57 PM PST

  •  How much mayonnaise does your family consume? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, Vita Brevis, splashy, gffish, wwjjd

    If mayonnaise were available in 44-gallon drums, would you be interested?

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:58:47 PM PST

  •  If CNN made it, it wouldn't be worth watching (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    furi kuri, JayRaye, Oh Mary Oh

    Independent Lens, OK. CNN, I wouldn't waste a second on it. It would look like a Survivor, Honey Boo Boo, Redneck Bachelorette, CMT mashup.

    My personal White In America is more like The Big Bang Theory Meets The PWB Peeps Diaries Meets WeightWatchers. With Hellman's mayonnaise on whole wheat bread.

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:27:46 PM PST

  •  Those are all very good questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    That I would like to be answered too, even though I am white with blue eyes and lighter hair (so are considered to be very white).

    I especially wonder about #5, and how so many white men seem to think it's a good idea to go around killing a bunch of people, including the ones that kill their ex's or current spouses and anyone around them, especially those that try to protect them. What is wrong with these guys?

    There is a lot about "white" culture that I don't get, and don't like.

    Perhaps that comes from being raised by a mother that didn't do much indoctrination. As long as I didn't talk too much, get in trouble, or ask for anything, I pretty much did what I wanted.

    Reading and being around peers in school was my education in the white culture, leading to a stranger in a strange land kind of feeling.

    Religion, in particular, seems strange. In fact, I can't see much difference between mainstream religions and the "cults" and Satanism. They are all pretty weird from my point of view.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:37:22 PM PST

  •  I have a some questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    Here's my list of question for my white friends.

    1:) What's with the shorts and flip flops in the winter time? Is that something you learn as you grow up or what? Aren't you cold?

    2:) Where did the raw food thing come from? You aren't genetically predisposed to high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

    3:) 39% of white folks voted for the Black guy. Are you afraid that he'd steal your money and give it to other Black guys? Without even speculating, can it be anything other than racism?

    4:) Why do some white people get offended when they're called racist?

    •  Dunno (0+ / 0-)

      if I count as a friend, but my answers...

      1. Sounds like stupidity to me, maybe a fad of some sort.

      2. The more processed food is, typically the fewer nutrients survive the processing.  And, despite genetic predispositions or lack thereof, lotsa white folks wind up eating themselves obese, which tends to bring along those three co-morbidities you mention.

      3. I don't actually understand the set of statements there.  Are you missing a 'not' in the second sentence maybe?  Even then, I don't really follow it.  The pasty white guy was far more likely to steal our money and give it to other rich white guys as far as I'm concerned.

      4. Some?  I'd say the vast majority.  Probably because they use the non-academic definition of 'racism', which should more properly be called bigotry or racial animus, and/or reject the notion that one's skin color actually automatically makes one 'racist' or 'unable to be a racist'.  After all, if I moved to a country that was mostly black, in which all of the power structures were run by blacks, would I suddenly not be a 'racist', simply because I crossed a border and no longer had a skin colour that was privileged by the power structures where I found myself?  That seems rather illogical, that racism as applied to an individual could simply come and go, depending upon what soil you were currently standing.

  •  Much to digest-one thought. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wwjjd

    And there is so much more here, but I have to object to Chauncey saying, essentially, "turnabout is fair play" -- that unfair depictions of blacks means unfair depictions of whites is a good, fair, etc. response. I've got 30 seconds so I won't say this as well as I should, but bollocks on that. Two wrongs don't make a right. Ever. Meet wrongness with rightness. Easy to say, but hard to do, I realize. Still, it's what we should strive for. Thanks, Chauncey, as always, for a thought-provoking post.

    •  i am not a fair player, nor do i claim to be noble (0+ / 0-)

      or righteous. i am the guy that if you hit him with a baseball bat would show up next time with something far more significant. i believe in the love principle. i do not love my enemies. i believe in strength through action, arms, and resolve if need be. i also believe that actions have consequences.

      so yes, it may not be "right" to some, a turn about of rhetoric certainly will not erase centuries of discrimination, but reversing the gaze and challenging the normality of whiteness and really pushing that issue is necessary.

      as you know, one of my favorite responses on these matters is that few people sit around worrying about the feelings of black and brown folks, or gay people, or disabled folks, etc.

      once you start pushing back Whiteness and those overly identified with it are so quick to cry, boo hoo, and claim victim status. it is a tired--and at times entertaining--script.

    •  I see it as a simple rhetorical exercise. (5+ / 0-)

      It's just an illustration, or treatment of what it's like to be "othered" by the media in this manner, and to force a different perspective of white privilege on the reader, who likely is used to these frames and doesn't give them a second thought until seen this way.

  •  #1. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye

    Certainly not common anywhere I've ever lived.  You're the first person I know who has ever mentioned it.

    #2. I suppose you'd have to ask an actual licensed psychiatrist, or else you'd just get pointless opinions.

    #3. The Kardassians are actually not at all attractive as far as I'm concerned, and their celebrity is baffling.  But I find many women of all skin shades attractive.

    #4. No idea.  As a white guy, I lop off my own hair with electric clippers whenever it gets too long, to a uniform height, then merely trim up the edges around my ears to 'neaten it up' until I'm ready for the electric clippers again.  I also use the cheapest dollar store shampoo I can get.

    #5. No.  But then I never wonder if people of any skin tone feel 'racial shame' when someone who just happens to have roughly the same amount of melanin commits some crime.

    Feel free to ask any more questions on topics you find puzzling.

    This has been another episode of 'Ask a White Guy!'

  •  I love surveys when they're not done by phone! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, wwjjd, Larsstephens

    1. It's very common.  The White love affair with breakfast is stronger than any moral reservations about, well, anything else.  It's the Most Important Meal of the Day.  Note that the Iowa Breakfast Study came from one of the whitest states in the country.

    2. What part of temporary vs. permanent don't you understand?  Heck, Whites have been known to put on "blackface" but it doesn't change our fetishization of light over dark.

    3. Porn has made all women more or less equal objects of White male prurience, so I think we've fixed this particular racial pathology.

    4. The overriding feature of White identity is the commodification of everything, so why shouldn't White men and women go to chain hair establishments that reduce us to a work process, i.e. hair to be cut and perhaps styled?  Heck (and we do like using that word, as you know), in most states it's a serious legal matter of equal-protection that (White) men and women have equal access to hair care at the same price.

    5. As any self-respecting White will tell you, racial minorities have all dropped out of school by the time they could plausibly have sex with their teachers.  As for random shootings, freedom isn't free.  You know, unlike slavery, which was free and that's why Whites who had slaves thought it totally rocked.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:31:22 PM PST

  •  I hate to disagree but (0+ / 0-)

    I've watched some specials about race on CNN and other channels and enjoyed them, as a woman of color. One was a report about blacks in Silicon Valley trying to break into the tech sector. It was fascinating -- I learned a lot about these entrepreneurs that no one else ever features. Another was called something like "Latino USA". It was a history of Latino music and explained how it evolved and was influenced by polka music and other genres as immigrants spent more time in the U.S.  Again, fascinating to me because I don't know everything about black people or Latinos. As for a "White people" show, just watch half of the reality shows that depict low-income whites -- Storage Wars, the bigfoot show, etc.  

    CNN is likely trying to make sure they reach out to growing demographic groups with this race-specific programming. I wonder about your idea of it fetishizing or objectifying people of color since much of the audience is probably people of color -- not whites. Could be wrong about that, tho.

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:58:45 PM PST

  •  White mentality (0+ / 0-)

    continues to amaze me in this country.

    People who are not white are consistently referred to as belonging to a "Minority."

    A minority as compared to what and to whom?

    I am native American---one of the indigenous people to this soil----so why is there a presumption that this is a white country?

    I am descended from the indigenous people in this country---and I am not white.

    What makes this a white country?

    Is it the ability of ones' ancestors to travel here?

    Is that what makes this a white country?

    "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns."--Cheryl Wheeler

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:34:32 AM PST

  •  Kim Kardashian is half Armenian. (0+ / 0-)

    I have had only one acquaintance of Armenian extraction, but she shared some of the curvaceousness characteristics of Kim. I wonder if that plays any part in the phenomenon. Or did Kim just get her posterior from the same shop that Nicki Minaj did? Both of them have appropriately proportioned (wide) shoulders, which to me means they are both well proportioned.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 06:58:44 PM PST

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