November 6, 2011

Not trailer trash, not a Barbie, not superior. Simply a voice.

Posted in Class Assignments at 8:14 pm by shellyhendrickson12

Based off of the article in Bitchmedia called “Don’t Mess Up When You Dress Up: Cultural Appropriation and Costumes” and the follow-up article to that blog called, “Open Letter to the PocaHotties and Indian Warriors this Halloween” I have become an “enlightened witness”. Of what you might say, and I can respond with the answer that white supremacy has become racist against white people.

Oh great you’re probably saying. Another white writer who feels offended and once again claims their superiority over all other cultures. However, that’s not just it. Just as you feel you are being subjected by the cultural categorizing, people (including yourself) are doing the exact same thing to me. Yes, I am white. But, no I am not racist. And, I am not in any form apart of the classifying of white people you are upholding. Unfortunately, racism is still an active part of our society. It is an everyday issue brought up through numerous things, such as, people’s speech, dress, and mannerisms, but not only does this issue come about directly through people, but also through society as a whole and the media. We see our races incorrectly labeled each and everyday through magazines, commercials, movies, billboards, and even shopping malls. However, I do not believe just one culture is being hurt and wrongly portrayed. I believe every single culture is suffering, including white people. Here’s how….

As we see in the articles above, each article portrayed cultures being offended by the way they were being viewed and dressed up to be. We are shown Native Americans hurt by Women sexualizing their culture as a PocaHottie. African-Americans hurt by the painting of one’s skin to become a rapper. An Indian hurt by someone dressing up as a terrorist. A Mexican man hurt by a Matador costume. And an Asian woman hurt by women dressing to be a geisha. These are all wrong in every way and they ARE extremely hurtful. But I am calling you to recognize that not only the white culture is doing this. Each and every person takes part in this racial and offensive holiday. And, also, I plea for you to take a step back and see that the white culture was not allowed to state their hurt in how they were portrayed during Halloween. I am offended by the way people dress up as white trash, in both the girl and guy form. I am white, but I don’t live in a trailer park, I’m not pregnant, I don’t smoke and drink, and I don’t show my skin to the whole world. Also, people very often dress up as Barbie, and no, I’m not her either. I’m real, and I’m not perfect. Unfortunately, we aren’t hearing that this too is hurtful and offensive to white people. And, it should be. I do not appreciate people viewing my culture as either materialistic, perfect, and rich, or the other extreme of drunk, pregnant, and poor. Neither of those are me, and I do not want to be thrown into that category.

Overall, I think society as a whole needs to understand that the issue isn’t solely white supremacy that is provoking racism. And, I’m simply asking people to understand that this issue goes beyond white people being the problem. Everyone takes part in this topic. You aren’t the only one hurting from racial inequality. Everyone hears the slurs, everyone is joked about, and everyone suffers from this cruelty. Each person comes from a race and particular culture, and everyone wants the respect for their culture, who they are, and where they have come from. But, in you classifying all white people as viewing themselves higher than the rest of the world , you too are doing exactly what you feel is being done to you to other people. Two wrongs aren’t a right. Take it to society as a whole. Call each and every person out. This is a world-wide issue. Not a white one. Hold everyone to the standard that WE ARE ALL EQUAL.


1 Comment »

  1. Apryl Berney said,

    Overall, your essay raises a number of good issues. While the essay challenges the idea of white supremacy, it also gives a number of examples that illustrates the power of this ideological system. Remember, hooks’s use of white supremacy is not meant to say that white folks are bad or white people do not experience injustice. Instead, she is interested in thinking about a system that rewards whiteness over blackness, Asianess, etc.

    Your example of white trash Halloween costumes is a perfect example of what hooks is saying about white supremacy. Why are poor people of European descent labeled white trash? Why not just trash? Is it because they deviate from the societal norm that associates trash with folks of color? Isn’t that an example of white supremacy at work?

    Also, think of band-aids. What color do most band-aids come in? Light beige? That’s what hooks is talking about, a larger system that values and rewards whiteness over other colors. Or, that perceives white as the norm that all other people deviate from. Of course, because white supremacy is an ideology we can look at how it manifests itself within specific racial and ethnic groups. Remember the IAT.

    It seems like the issue that you are trying to address in the post is class and how working class white folks experience the world differently than middle class white folks. Although each of these groups are white, they are positioned very differently within US culture and society. In many ways, working class and poor white folks are racialized in particular ways because they deviate from norms that define all white folks as middle class or upper class. So, in many ways working class white folks would benefit from an end to white supremacy because they are harmed by it in particular ways that middle class white folks are not.

    I hope that my explanation helps and clarifies hooks’ notion of white supremacy. Please stop by and see me if you have any question.

    While the essay seem somewhat contradictory in its discussion of white supremacy, the essay does illustrate a thoughtful engagement with course ideas covered in the cultural criticism unit and a sincere attempt to grapple with a complicated issue.

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