Sunday, June 22, 2008

White People Have Gone Ethnic!

Yes, the almighty gods have answered my prayers. White people have gone ethnic! It’s no mystery for many of those who have heard me talk about race relations to think I’m racist. It’s difficult to explain casually to people my rhetoric when my ideas are informed by too many years of schooling and personal experiences. These conceptualizations and realizations are ever changing and continue to evolve. I speak often times as a person of color (POC) and other times as a mixed race woman. In both instances, I’m critical of all racial/ethnic groups but take special interest in white people and here is why.

For me, white people are so damn complacent, aggressive, insecure, funny, expressive, egotistical…in their own special white ways. They have, over centuries in the US, developed a white culture. Unfortunately for us non-whites, most whites do not view themselves as ethnic. Instead of embracing their specific ethnic characteristics and learning how to articulate their culture, they say, “I’m just an American”.

Then comes This has to be my current top pick for a website. Here you have Christian Lander discussing in concise, meaningful, ‘scientific’ and best of all, humorous blog entries about what white people like. More specifically, how and why white people are the way they are that draws them to the things they like. Most impressive is how Christian writes with a self-conscious, over-thinking and over-compensating ethos, so much like every other ethnic group in existence when seen as the Other.

I curtsy to the fine work by Christian and hope that white readers of his blog will find solace in knowing once and for all that they have a culture. Viva la White People!

For pleasure, view below, East Coast - West Coast "inter-ethnic strife".

East Coast Tea Partay

West Coast Green Tea Partay


Neptune said...

Absolutely made me laugh. Go ahead . . .be shocked because apparently I have SO MUCH ANGER!! lol


Anyway, you forgot this link:

Teg said...

The inclusion of the Tea Partee videos is brilliant. It playfully illustrates the differences between east coast white culture and west coast white culture. The issue of white people's identification with ethnicity wildly different depending on where you are in the US.

In "New England", for instance, white people almost excessively identify with their ethnic roots. Ask white people what they are and you will get: Italian, Irish, German, etc. They probably wont even mention the word "Umericun". Ethnic pride is HUGE! The bumper stickers are there: "Honk if your Irish", "Kiss me I'm Italian", and so on. Ethnic flags are prevalent. Many people from the east who have "Irish blood" apply for dual citizenship if they can claim enough irish purity in their lineage. This ethnic pride is also true for Poles, Serbians, and French. A trip to PA or WI will also reveal a lot of ethnic identification.

You will even find a HUGE amount of ethnic conflict and inter-ethnic hatred. If you're "English" - especially if you have a slight accent - don't plan to be well received in South Boston - you will get A LOT of hate directed at you.

Old white ethnic rivalries live on in the new world. Even after they've been settled in "the home land".

On the west coast and in the south things are very different. There is a different history. It's like the settlers lost their ethnic identification as they crossed the prairies. If you can pull a wagon, ride a horse, and shoot a gun then you're "as good as anyone".

But I think that may be a simplification. Ask someone of Armenian ancestry what they are and you will get a sense of how strongly they feel about their heritage - no matter where they are in the US.

California and the other west coastal states seem different than the East Coast largely due to the differences in urban structure and the histories of those structures.

The east was settled and built by a variety of white ethic diaspora. The urban structure that evolved from those diaspora were a series of ghettos and towns which were heavily ethnic and which have maintained their ethnicity for literally hundreds of years. South Boston "Southy" is one example. New England and New York were the arrival destinations. As the winds blew west the seeds scattered and became increasingly intermingled. Establishment of the west was about opportunity. In some cases, like the Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma CA some areas retained their racial and ethic heritage. But in the jumble (and the good weather) a lot of that "white ethnic differentiation" just did not seem quite as important.

AND there were other ethnic differentiators happening - namely Color. John Carrol, a Boston columnist and ad consultant, referred to Boston as "the whitest city in the country". You just wont find a lot of people of color. Whites are everywhere and white ethnicity is rampant. But in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, or OC it's a completely different story. These are the areas where the seeds of white ethnic diaspora have blended, and where color is strongly differentiated. Partly due to geography and partly due to technology and transportation, the west coast has a variety of newer ghettos and ethnic towns/cities that are built and influenced by the east and the real south. Westminster, San Jose, and the San Gabriel Valley are just part of that emerging story. These are the new "Southies". Los Angeles is a city composed of cities, and a lot of those smaller cities are heavily race and color based. Rosemead for example. Los Angeles has been called the brownest city in the country.

Difference is what people notice and fixate upon. The more visible the difference the more they fixate. White ethnic culture differentiation seems by comparison insufficiently strong to provide a rallying point, and the distance from the home land, or Ellis Island, is just to great to be meaningful. The seeds are dispersed and spread too widely. Differences therefore in West Coast white culture don't appear. WC White Culture seems homogeneous and diluted in comparison to the much stronger and more visible differences of "color" with non-white ethnic groups. WC White culture also probably identifies more as "Umericun" because of the perceived threat of non-whites. Differentiation based on color therefore becomes the tie that binds. "We're white, we're Umericun".