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Why defending “white culture” is a garbage concept

Once, as a child I asked my mom why there was no such holiday as Kid’s Day, given that there were such holidays as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. My mom told me that everyday of the year was kid’s day. I had one day a year that I celebrated my mom. She dedicated every day of the year to me.

I didn’t need a special day devoted to me. Our household already revolved around me and my siblings.

The same logic can be applied for why we don’t need special “white pride” privileges. White normativity is everywhere. It’s EVERYWHERE.

Think about the media you consume. When was the last time you watched a movie with a person of color in the lead role? How many books in the past year have you read that were written by people of color? Do the television shows you watch cast people of color based on stereotypes?

Only 19% of television programs in 2015 had casts that reflected the racial diversity of America. A mere 7% of films accurately depicted racial diversity. Only 22% of children’s books featured people of color as main characters, and only 12.5% of children’s books were written by people of color.

Our study of the humanities is also dominated by whiteness. Most Americans can recognize white creators and historical figures such as Mark Twain, Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, and William the Conqueror. Most have never heard of Wu Cheng’en, Wole Soyinka, Hokusai, Ravi Shankar, or Shah Jahan (all of whom were incredibly influential in their respective cultures).

So forgive me for thinking that any fears of “white culture” dying are baseless.

Our screens are filled with whiteness. Our literature is filled with whiteness. Our museums are filled with whiteness. Our history is filled with whiteness. We don’t need to celebrate whiteness. It’s state of predominance is more than enough celebration.

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And for the record, don’t expect me to believe any claims that promoting “white culture” is about honoring your heritage and not about race. If you think being white is the most important part of your cultural identity, then you’re not appreciating the real depth that a culture has to offer.

If you, as a white person, want to honor your heritage, find out where your ancestors came from. Research their life stories. Maybe learn the language of their homeland. Try some of the recipes they may have eaten. Visit the countries your family immigrated from. Study the history of those countries. Learn about the holidays and traditions your ancestors would have participated in.

I promise, time spent on these activities will be far more effective in preserving cultural heritage than waving a flag and telling the world how great white people are.

Resist the urge to feel threatened by other racial groups taking their turns at center stage. Take it as an opportunity to expand your worldview and grow more empathetic.

I shouldn’t have to say it, but you don’t have to make everything about you. And when you say things like “If we have a Black History Month we should have a White History Month!” you’re a) seriously misunderstanding the reason for Black History Month b) probably not making an effort to understand the reason for it and c) detracting from the voices of people of color.

Don’t silence people of color because every now and again something is about them and not you.

The world is a big place. We can afford to share it.


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