No Whites Allowed
When it was written in 1986, a children's book entitled Living in Two Worlds attempted to highlight the various attitudes that reflect what biracial children might encounter growing up. Pictures of biracial children abound in the book. In fact, there was an honest attempt to portray the intricacies of being born to parents of different religious, cultural, and racial backgrounds.
...until we get to page 27, where the reader learns:
Toah thought that the teacher in her ballet class, where all the other students were white, went out of her way to be nice to her. 'I guess she meant well, but she made me feel I was different.' Even though Toah's white heritage is important to her, she feels she fits in better with kids whose coloring is more like her own. 'I'm happiest when I don't stand out – like in school,' she says. 'I'm friendly with everyone, but my best friends are brown, like me.'
Herein lies the never-ending emphasis on race rather than the individual characteristics of people. We have no idea what the ballet teacher did or what white heritage even means, but to a child reading this book, the balkanization of the races is implanted. Instead of race being one component of a person, it becomes the overarching theme.
...so much so that 29 years later, we learn that in Seattle, if you are white, you are simply not welcome at Rainier Beach Yoga. The organizers make it abundantly clear in an email that states, "White friends, allies and partners are respectfully asked not to attend."
Local radio host Dori Monson spoke with Teresa Wang, one of the co-founders of the class. Wang was asked what would happen if a white person were to attend. Her response:
Well, it's a class for people of color, so [a person] would be coming to that class knowing that we're really clear about who we are asking to come to class.
The class was about making 'people of color' feel comfortable.
So racism is alive and well in a Seattle yoga class. And these people don't even realize how ugly they sound. Furthermore, if someone such as Rachel Dolezal ardently believes that she is black, would she be barred from entering, even though her heritage is not African-American?
That, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg.
In February of 2015, Muslims at a United Kingdom university held a film screening of the film Dear White People and advertised it as being for BME students. BME stands for "black and minority ethnic." The poster specifies that the screening is for students of African, Caribbean, Arab, Asian, and South American ethnic origin. How ironic that Muslims are jumping on the racism bandwagon when, in fact, they continue to enslave blacks in parts of the Muslim world.
Then there is the Afrobeat Band Shokazoba concert that was banned in 2013 because, according to Hampshire College, "some members of our student community questioned the selection of [the] band, asking whether it was a predominantly white Afrobeat band and expressing concerns about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures." In essence, the band was "too white" to play Afrobeat music.
No Whites Allowed is alive and well under the diversity rubric at Northwestern University, where a "white student was rejected for a diversity appointment because 'he [was] a white heterosexual male." In fact, "pigment is everything" in the diversity scam that marks colleges and universities today.
Then there is the "cleansing of the syllabus," where "micro-aggressions and white privilege lurk in every seminar room." Mark Gullick writes that at the University of California, Berkeley, Occupy the Syllabus has taken center court. The essence of this document is revealed in this paragraph:
We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity – economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) – are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world. This is absurd. The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardised canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 per cent of humanity.
Thus "the authors of Occupy the Syllabus state their wish is to 'dismantle the tyranny of the white male syllabus [and] demand the inclusion of women, people of color and LGBTQ authors on [the] curriculum.'"
This hateful document will create a generation of "obtuse" thinkers who cannot or will not engage in free intellectual enquiry and instead will resort to bigoted dogma.
But this racism is not restricted to America. In Canada "it is impossible to work towards racial justice and reconciliation without naming and dismantling unearned white privilege." This comes from the Mennonite World Review. Thus, a study guide entitled "Cracking open white identity towards transformation" contains personal stories and questions for critical reflection and discussion. It is written by Sue Eagle, a director of the Mennonite Central Committee Canada's Indigenous Work program. Eagle, who is married to a member of Dakota and Salteaux First Nations, asserts that her children need to "figure out ... what it means to have a legacy of white privilege, with its racial superiority, from [her] side of the family, and a history of oppression and internalized feelings of racial inferiority" (presumably from her husband's side).
The Mennonite Central Committee created a DVD entitled "Free Indeed: White Privileges and How We Play the Game." Designed to "provoke thought and discussion, it addresses difficult questions and includes perspectives that will be challenging to many white audiences." The study guide states that "the idea of white privilege stems from an understanding that racism is equal to race prejudice plus access to institutional power. This definition emphasizes that members of all racial groups have prejudices. Yet, racism is found only among those with the collective power to act out their prejudices and inflict damage on others."
The actors in the DVD suggest that the "problem with white privilege is the assumption that whites have the solutions to solve the problems of people of color."
I am reminded of Richard Rodriguez's response when accused of betraying his indigenous Mexican roots. Rodriguez retorted:
My dear madam, when you looked in the mirror in the morning, are you able to calculate the exact proportions of ethnicity, the origins of every word you speak? Do you say you are 61 percent Mexican, 23 percent white? I certainly don't.
According to Ron Christie, author of Acting White, "the term 'acting white' is a racist slur that dates back to the days of slavery and Reconstruction. It is the charge that any African American who is successful, well-mannered, or well-educated is supposedly 'acting white.'"
In the smug and twisted world of those who excoriate alleged white privilege, will white privilege refer to blacks who have succeeded? Will they still be people of color?
The perniciousness of the charge of white privilege is infecting every level of society. It is creating students whose sole perspective is based on victimization. It erases great literature because it was penned by Europeans. Even music, which "has the charms to soothe a savage breast," is being held hostage under this baseless charge.
The allegation of white privilege needs to be called out for what it truly is: racism.
Anything else is just a smokescreen for enslaving the minds of vulnerable generations to come.
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.