"Can't Help It, I'm White"...a Guest Post

About the Writer:  Blogger Modest-Goddess (a.k.a. "The Lady") lives in the Midwest and works in higher education administration. She has two cats and an afro.
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One of my coworkers pissed me off today by saying Koreans and Japanese were more racist than Americans. This despite the fact that she admits her father is racist and she believes in all kind of racist stereotypes. I call her on her white supremacy apologist comments and she says "can't help it, I'm white". And of course her sister is secretly dating a black guy but afraid to tell their parents.

Basically I told her, foreigners may get treated like foreigners in Asia, but in America this is my freaking country and I still get treated like a foreigner yet been here 400 years!

This is a case of the pot calling the kettle tangerine!

Her opinions on Alex Wong who appeared on "So You Think You Can Dance" (TV show) are another blatant example of her racism. We were discussing the hip hop routine Alex preformed on the show. The judges and many viewers were pleasantly surprised by how well Alex danced hip hop because he is a ballet dancer. I pointed out to her that no other ballet dancer on the show has done well with hip hop and that he must have had some previous experience doing hip hop dancing to dance the routine so well. She said this was not possible, as Alex Wong doesn't seem like he is "from the street". I gave her a WTF look and asked what that meant. I brought up "America's Best Dance Crew" (TV show) and how many of the hip hop and breaking dancers on that show are of Asian descent as an example that Asian Americans can know how to hip hop dance without hanging out in some back alley. I pointed out that dancers with no hip hop background on SYTYCD look like cheerleaders when they do hip hop routines (very stiff precise movements) but Alex didn't dance like a cheerleader therefore he must have had prior experience. She agreed with my dance like a cheerleader comment but refused to believe that someone Asian could have prior exposure to hip hop dancing.

I know you are wondering why I bother to speak to her at all. I am living/working in a town that is 95% white and 2 hours from the nearest city/airport. To say that I am socially isolated is an understatement.

So what does it mean when someone excuses their racism with "can't help it, I'm white"? That being white means they don't have to show empathy. That being white means they can choose to be ignorant about other cultures. That being white means they do not have to learn and grow as a human being.

Why would anyone want to own that statement?

Comments

  1. Because they don't give a shit and want a valid excuse not to.

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  2. "Why would anyone want to own that statement?"

    Because they're white and they've never had to try and justify their ignorance.

    Methinks that it's plain laziness. It's very simple to default to that lame excuse; it takes work to actually try and understand that which you don't understand and most people of the caucasian persuasion don't feel they have to do it.

    Just my $.02.

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  3. @ Amaya

    Methinks that it's plain laziness. It's very simple to default to that lame excuse

    I concur. It's very "question asked...question answered".

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  4. ok, post the picture 0_O

    I'm looking down anyway so it really just shows my hair.

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  5. Done! See how adorable your hair is?

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  6. No self-respecting person would want to own that statement. It is laziness and a big unhealthy dose of willful negligence both to the growth of oneself and of society.

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  7. There is simply NO EXCUSE and I mean none, for this type of stupidity to exist. It is conscious and willfull, which makes it doubly disgusting and intolerable.

    That anyone could make such stmts with a straight face, makes them beneath contempt. Ridicule should be their breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of their lives.

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  8. There is simply NO EXCUSE and I mean none, for this type of stupidity to exist.

    Stupidity...or sociopathy? Because I think we let people off the hook with terms like "stupidity" and "ignorance." These people know. They just don't care, and that's when we start entering sociopathic territory.

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  9. I dig your point Ankh. That does define sociopathy doesn't it?

    I'm going to remember what you said here because this is real deal sickness.

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  10. These people know. They just don't care, and that's when we start entering sociopathic territory.

    @Ankhesen: My White girlfriend had the same attitude when we were still tight. She thought that just because experiencing racism because she was Polish gave her the right to have the same attitude this crazy woman did. She would let me explain the problems we face as POC to her, then come back with the "shit" she goes through as a Polish American...I'm sorry, but it's just NOT the same. It's just NOT.
    Like Modest-goddess said, we've been here for 400 years&we STILL feel like foreigners!
    I say that to say this: my White friend acted like she cared, but then called me "bitchy" and said I was "complaining too much" for bringing it up. So...I quit caring about the crap she goes through too, which probably doesn't exist anyway.
    In the sarcastic words of the great Jet Li in "Romeo Must Die": "America....great country."

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  11. More fun at work! Thursday I got to hear yet another discussion about how the international students (Asians) can't drive. Once again this convo was initiated by my fucking BOSS! All the white people in the room laughed and I just walked out. Funny cause every time I see someone run a light or drive erratically here it is a white person on a cell phone yet I can't complain about bad drives without them blaming "foreigners". I don't understand how in a town that is 95% white they can blame all the bad driving on international students. I can't be the only one who has almost been ran off the road by a good ole boy in a pickup truck.

    My boss has also complained about how international students have bad English skills, then she cited as proof a conference proceeding published in another country by people who do not attend our school! And yes she repeated this "proof" to other University employees outside of our department.

    FML

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  12. Exactly. Yeah my white friend tried to pull the whole "It must be racism" to explain Koreans staring at her, but then she rightfully conceded that what she was experiencing was in no way what we as people of color have been through. She gets it now cuz she easily could've been wallowing in victim 'reverse racism' mode but she completely gets it

    I went to "Ballerina who Loves a B-Boy" show in Korea and it is huge. They are all Asian men and women who do B-boy skills and have had previous experience without the help of white or blacks. Hell most of B-Boy friends in IOWA are Asian. White folks really need to sit down and STFU Kthanks

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