race and culture (activities) aren’t the same! rant
I just want to say, we need to destroy the idea that certain things are “white people things” even if tons of white people do them and they’re associated with whites.
You know the whole slew of things I’ve heard as being called white people things? Mental illness, mental health care, non-heterosexuality, scifi, hipster mason jar power crystals & stuff, goth, techno (which…what? history??), metal, pocket watches, motorcycles or vintage anything, collecting in general, not getting spanked / other physical discipline, and the latest one I saw: wearing a blanket for the lower body that resembles a mermaid tail.
You know why this sort of talk pisses me off? It really narrows down what PoC are allowed to be before we suddenly lose our identities.
Which. No. Being white would make us white. Do not narrow the range of ways PoC can exist. Or are we all only supposed to speak our ancestral languages, practice our ancestral religions, and only listen to our own culture’s music?? No.
No more identity policing. No more conflating culture/activity with race. And what about PoC who grew up in really white places (me)? You gonna blame us because we got into “white” stuff like scifi and pocket watches?
Like, geez, if liking scifi is such a “white people thing” then explain to me why, despite having watched the entirety of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who, do I still get selected for extra screening at the airport??
Sure, lots of things are super associated with white people, and when they do crap like…wear yoga pants and uggs into Starbucks and talk in a valley girl accent, yeah, we call it super white. But if a PoC does it, it’s not white. Know why? Because PoC aren’t (monoracially) white.
The action being performed is either a white thing or not a white thing based on the race of the person doing it. The activity does not have a race that it can push onto the people doing it. Activities don’t have races. People do. Activities don’t dictate your race, your race dictates the activity. This is why it’s “enterprising” when white people do a business thing but it’s “sneaky” when Asian ppl do the same business thing.
An Asian person may try to “act white” by doing something stereotypically associated with whiteness, but it won’t help. White people will see your race first, and call what you thought was an attempt to be “white” and “enterprising” as “Asian” and “sneaky”. Because you’re Asian.
If I, an Asian, do a thing, then it’s an Asian thing. It may not be the kind of Asian you’re used to, but it’s Asian.
(edit: another issue with calling someone or their activity ‘white’ is you don’t distinguish between PoC with internalized racism who need help and may be someone you want to avoid, with PoC who are very anti-racist but happen to like “white” things. and the boundary btwn these two isnt always so easy)
Edit 2: In light of a recent comment, I want to say that this is coming from the position of a USA transracial adoptee. I still don’t believe culture is the same as race for sociology reasons, but I want you all to know where I’m coming from.