White

by jexmas on January 20, 2016

So strange the concept of whiteness in people. As if any of us are white really. How about the person? Who is the person beneath the skin and how does their skin color affect their personality, their choices, their experience of living in this world. Can we have some compassion for the person beneath the skin?

I am white, but I reject the term. Being “white” is such a complex position to hold. My background is so varied, with so many influences over so many generations, it does not do any of us justice to try and avoid the humanity of the person standing in front of us by attributing characteristics to being of “a color.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am utterly the product of white privilege and am ashamed of and disgusted by my Australian forebears whose blindness prevented them from appreciating one of the most spiritually meaningful cultures the planet has produced. I feel similarly

towards my fellow human beings in the United States who currently hold racist values, like many politicians I cannot be bothered to name. Surely the world has got bigger than this by now. Surely we can see people as they are and not keep trying to attribute characteristics we do not like about ourselves onto “the other.”

I find it dismaying that human beings can reduce other human beings to things so easily. If we treat each other like things rather than people, we end up having no compunction about killing each other. There is so much of that around the world right now and all the real issues become buried under the madness of power and control.

I have been treated as a thing too often myself in my life, mostly to do with being a woman. I could go on, but it just makes me angry. All of it. So I just try to live by what I believe and will not treat anyone like a thing. The fact of my whiteness is an accident of history. I am saddled with it and, at the same time, the less I see it in myself, the more I can allow for the glorious diversity of human existence that cannot be reduced to skin color as a stand-in for the refusal to celebrate difference.

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