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April 26, 2012, 06:00:32 AM
But increasingly, people aren’t sniping about “whiteness” to be funny, or even defiant—at least not entirely. They’re using the term as a form of criticism, meant to be dismissive. “That movie looks very white,” or, “That sounds like music for white people,” is another way of saying, “That can’t be any good.” And I do have a problem with that.

To some extent, this is mainly a personal beef. I get annoyed whenever anyone slaps a label on something and then presumes that the label itself says all that needs to be said. Whenever a critic or a potential audience member sniffs about “dad rock” or “chick lit” or “one for the fanboys,” it raises my hackles. If you’d rather not engage with what a piece of art actually is—as in, what it expresses and how well it expresses it—then fine. But don’t presume some kind of superiority because of that choice. One of the biggest fallacies in the way we talk about art is this idea that somehow personal taste equates to quality: That each of us miraculously only enjoys movies and music that are the best of their respective medium, and ergo, any movies and music we don’t enjoy must be terrible. It’s a standard we generally only apply to art (well, and politics). If we dislike salmon, we don’t presume salmon itself to be bad; we just understand we don’t have a taste for it, and we’re generally willing to acknowledge that if prepared properly, we might even be capable of enjoying the occasional piece of salmon. It’s not that degrees of “good” and “bad” don’t exist, but ultimately our taste in art isn’t so different from our taste in food, in that it’s personal, and—if we’re being honest with ourselves—fairly malleable.

What’s even more aggravating, though, is that the use of “white” as a tag of shame has the inadvertent but real effect of reducing “non-white” elements to mere ornamentation.


Re: Whiteness
April 26, 2012, 06:02:25 AM
I held on for a long time to the belief that while America was systemically racist, our team was better than that, basketball was better than that. Something occurred within the bonds of recognition formed on the court that could constitute a small contribution toward navigating America out of its racial trap, creating connections on top of an otherwise deeply abusive and unjust system. In this view, our white players were playing not to dominate another race, but to perform fidelity to basketball itself and hence black America as well, to grasp basketball as the communion wafer that would transubstantiate animosity (or unfamiliarity at the very least) into identification. To win here was to belong. But in the outbursts which repeated themselves across the years I realized that something else was going on as well. To win — especially in the eyes of many around us — was also to destroy, to humiliate, and to dominate. The racism was not some cancer only inside those who exploded with words of hatred, but somehow flowed within the machine that we constructed with the black teams during those particularly charged moments: It was part of all of us. Hence the codified representations — white players are smart, we were a “real team” who “knew how to play the game the way it should be played” — took on an insidious inflection, a way of fighting this battle passively rather than explicitly. We were made into weapons directed at black people.


Re: Whiteness
April 26, 2012, 09:58:03 AM


This is the kind of person that needs to be drowned very slowly.  If you hate your own race, kill yourself.

Re: Whiteness
April 26, 2012, 11:15:33 PM
With some things, a standard for its quality or accuracy isn't subjective. What we like to deny are any legitimate points of reference from which such standards can be derived.

The more difficult it is to bridge the gap between a point of reference like a proven evolutionary strategy or mathematics and that which is measured, the simpler it is to dismiss a set of standards as subjective preferences.

I would also add that what many people would prefer to label subjective views are in fact views of those who are closest to accurate contrasted against those who are less accurate to various degrees. It isn't the views but the referential integrity against which their qualities are gauged that determine the legitimacy of a given prejudice.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793