Exclusively White = Not Alright: Why It’s Racist To Suggest An “All White” Version Of Anything
White people say it all the
“Black people have all Black
colleges, why can’t we have all white universities?”
“Asians have Chinatown, what about a Whitetown?”
The idea of racial exclusion is
an interesting concept but it’s also one that people misunderstand. In many
ways, one can argue that EVERY ethnic group practices exclusion. However, not
all types of exclusion are the same.
In a nutshell, the goal of
racial exclusion is quite simple: preservation. To preserve one’s culture,
community, resources, and members. Creating ethnic boundaries allows you to
siphon off what’s yours and what’s mine, what I worked for and what you worked
are my local businesses, those are your neighborhood delis. You eat there, I’ll
eat here. So long as we don’t cross paths or go into each other’s neighborhoods
we’re good, right?
The difference between racial
exclusion among ethnic minorities vs. white communities is subtle, but very potent.
Let’s take a few examples.
Why are Asian-Americans
Simple: most Asian-Americans
are first or
second generation immigrants, so racial preservation functions as a way to
“the old country.” Inside
these enclaves, we can
speak our native language, eat our “smelly Asian food” and talk about topics
that relate to our shared immigrant struggle. It’s comforting and for once, we
don’t have to feel like an outsider. We don’t have to feel like “the Asian guy.”
In this side of town, we’re just “the guy.”
Why are Black communities
Black exclusion is a way for
Black folks to finally get what they deserve: a piece of equality that can’t be found when it’s run by
non-black folks. From racist, Asian-owned beauty stores to white-owned Fortune 500
companies, as a Black person, it’s easy to be overlooked and cast under the
shade of anti-blackness. But through the magic of Black exclusion (or Black
owned), you can buy hair products at a decent price (without the racist, Asian cashier
following them around) or get your Doctorate from an HBCU without having to deal with bigoted academic advisors accusing you of harassment.
here’s where White exclusion differs:
White exclusion is just as much about keeping whiteness IN as it is about keeping non-whites OUT. What do I mean? Well, if you’re a white person, you CAN come into our ethnic communities, move into a Chinatown apartment, or join the Asian-American math club. However, as a person of color, you CAN’T enter predominantly White communities in the same way.
There are thousands upon thousands of businesses, cities, neighborhoods, restaurants, health clinics, universities, production companies and entire industries that lack any semblance of diversity - from congress, law enforcement, to the management team at your Wal-Mart. And guess what? They have every intention to keep it that way. Hell, not even Nat King Cole could avoid the effects of White exclusion. After purchasing a home in an all white neighborhood in the 1950s, six KKK members burned a cross on his lawn as a welcoming present.
”What about Black colleges? Why are HBCUs allowed to accept only Black people?!”
Ummm, can you NOT? Look, dumbass: HBCUs are HISTORICALLY Black, not exclusively Black. So technically, the Lee Wang and Tyler McBrusselChowders of the country can and do apply to Morehouse College just as easily as their Black counterparts - they just choose not to. As for the POCs joining predominantly white schools?
HELL. FUCKING. NO!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will find no shortage of all-white elementary schools. You’ll have an all black, poor kindergarten on one side of the bridge and a well-funded, all-white public school on the other. How? They draw in racially exclusive school zones to push out Black families.
Bottom line: White exclusion IS about short handing ethnic minorities whereas Black/Asian/Latino exclusion has always been about salvaging the scraps in order to create livable situations. Minority exclusion isn’t taking away from White folks whereas white exclusion does (limited government funding, limited job opportunities, limited housing options, limited representation in the media, limited representation in politics, etc.) One form is exclusive as a means of survival, the other as a means of oppression.
It’s like if one kid had two cookies and another have nine thousand, and the kid with nine thousand said, “But moooom!! The other girl isn’t sharing with me! I already have him two of mine!”