So, reading at Hot Air today, I found a headline that set me back in my chair. A great plan: liberals refusing to breed so they don’t biologically spread white privilege. I must admit, I was both amused and intrigued, so I started clicking links. I wound up at HuffPo, where Ali Michael talks about her journey toward perfect self-awareness. The train of thought staggers me, not necessarily in a good way.
Beverly Daniel Tatum has written that White people don't choose to identify as White because the categories to choose from are loaded from the start. Traditionally, one can identify as a colorblind White person, a racist White person or an ignorant White person: those are the three ways White people get talked about as White. If those are the options, who would choose to identify as White? And so White people identify as "normal" and "Irish" and "just American" and do not self-identify racially. And that leaves us with a society in which only people of color have a race, where only people of color seem to be responsible for racialized problems. It makes it hard for all of us to know and tell our racial stories -- because White people think we don't have any. And it makes it hard for us to own our history, because we don't see it as ours.
Many White people also feel like we don't have culture, and this isn't a coincidence.If the writer of the paragraphs above doesn't know her culture, then her parents failed miserably. Horrifically, tragically. I am a white male, but from a young age, I was taught my history, my culture. Of French ancestors cast adrift from Canada, of German ancestors coming to find a new life, of Scots-Irish farmers seeking adventure, of native Americans on the Dawes roll. Of silver-smiths, of carpenters and mechanics, of women who refused to be cast in a role. From my parents knees, through my sister's independent research, through general education in the halls of the public schools, I am aware of my heritage. It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I am proud of who I am. My family story is rich, vibrant, and compelling, of people trying to make a life in an often hostile environment.
Yes, I was born and raised in the Deep South, and I understand the horror of racism and the devastating legacy that it proposes. Yet, I refuse to be chained by it. As any intelligent person can, I learned from the general past and don't feel bound by it.
If Ms. Micheal doesn't have a culture, she should talk with her parents about their failure. Or, sign up with a genealogical service and start finding out who she is. She might come to learn that she has nothing to be ashamed of either.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have chores to do, and a grandson to educate.