||[Sep. 29th, 2016|07:28 am]
The California Friend GM complains again regarding the word "whiteness." It make me want to poke my eyes out with forks. "I mean the word," he says, "you misunderstand me."
I feel as if we are talking past each other. I’m sorry if my words were not well chosen. In my email I intended to talk about words only, not social institutions. In particular about the choice of the word w-h-i-t-e-n-e-s-s, and only that word.
I don't know that i've seen "I'm just talking about words not the social institutions" on derailment bingo.
I'm also cranky because i was awakened TWICE by my phone blaring out the world is going to end noise to wake me up and alert me to flash flood warnings. We're on high land and have no concerns from flash floods while safe at home. Ah, i can turn off severe alerts and leave on extreme alerts (i did like getting an alert for the tornado warning a few months ago). I wish the emergency warnings came with a time range choice.
This reminds me of watching MSNBC yesterday (my family is addicted, and the room in the house I can be in is the room with the TV--other rooms I can get into include the kitchen, living room, and downstairs bathroom,, but in none of those spaces can I elevate the post-surgical ankle).
A female Trump surrogate was being asked about Trump's misogynistic and racist comments to Alicia Machado and she commented that she's (I'm paraphrasing) "less concerned with Donald Trump's words than Hillary Clinton's actions."
I exploded. "HARASSMENT IS AN ACTION!" I yelled at the TV.
(There was some anti-racist white writer I read in the 1990's who wrote about "whiteliness," which involved expectations and attitudes that correlated with skin color privilege, in a way I think folks who don't want their skin color to be seen as determinative might accept more easily. I don't think it was Peggy McIntosh, but maybe?)
Also, thanks for your email earlier this week. Most of the emails I got on Monday got lost in the shuffle and I've had so many that I'm trying to address when I'm not totally stoned on oxycodone (which I kind of am right now, tbh; please excuse typos/incoherence).
I think of whiteness to point more to the culture than just the privilege. It *is* hard to disambiguate from class, but it's beginning to understand that white American culture isn't "normal" (in the sense that it is the norm by which everything else is then defined by deviation). It's our privilege that we get to ignore white culture.
To be excruciatingly fair, I can see "whiteness" being used to point to negativity as a bothersome thing. There's a decent chance of innocent derailment.
NB: innocent derailment is still derailment. I'm not saying it's okay. But innocent derailers may be more amenable to teaching and learning than deliberate ones.
I'm pretty sure it's innocent derailment. If i recall correctly, whiteness was being used to describe the culture of California Friends Meetings. the correspondent is, i think, trying to learn, but this encounter with discomfort has provoked him into complaining and defensiveness. I feel his "it's about the word" is s defense of his complaint when several white folks spoke up about the importance of the label and the discomfort.