You Don’t Have a Culture and That Culture is Evil

Consider that it is through my own identity in Whiteness as a White Person that I have felt immediate empathy for Muslims and Queer people alike, among others.

Being Muslim means constantly feeling the pressure to not be perceived as an extremist terrorist who wants to dominate others, despite the sad reality that there are some Muslims who do this and have power. To be Muslim under hostile eyes, even the eyes of those rightly angry because they have suffered from Islamic extremism, nevertheless means belonging to a group that is guilty until proven innocent. If a caring Muslim person wants to speak out against Islamist extremism, they risk opening themselves to other peoples’s false perceptions of permission to attack and demean all Muslim identity, despite deeply honorable efforts among many Muslims to actively decrease extremist ideologies in their communities.

So it is with being White, seriously contending against literal White Supremacists while constantly being demeaned as the racially guilty enemy in my own land just for being White and not apologizing for that.

To be Queer (transgender, genderqueer, etc) means always trying to educate others while caring for yourself and your own life experience without constant self-conscious worry, once you express your heart’s aligninment with this identity explicitly and without apology. It means looking for counselors who understand your social situation enough so that you can spend that time being cared for instead of putting precious emotional energy into educating the one who should be therapeutically comforting you.

Where my Whiteness differs from these parallels drawn with Muslim and Queer identities is that to be White means being everywhere and nowhere, being assumed “the blank slate” norm while also being denied explicit pride in one’s heritage amongst a rapidly diversifying cultural landscape. It means having almost every space available to you but nowhere specifically for you, by threat of being charged with White Supremacy. Your presence is requested for its assumed “power and privilege”, because you owe it and you should show your support, but demonized and resented when you show up; you are told that your existence is a burden to other people’s special “spaces”. If you try to shed your ethnic identity and become another, you will be humiliatingly mocked, at best, or viscously attacked for committing “cultural appropriation”, at worst- but you are allowed no explicit culture of your own, remember. Being White means You Don’t Have a Culture and That Culture is Evil.

Being White now means being taught to have no ethnic self-awareness while fearing that if you develop your ethnic White self-awareness you will be constantly, CONSTANTLY told that there is nothing good that can be attributed to your ethnic identity. You are to unquestioningly adore everyone else’s culture but have no normal, healthy, proud ancestral Self. You, White People [the voice of seething resentment] are allowed no ethnic kinship with others who look like you, though you see yourself everywhere. You are “represented” in image everywhere and in spirit nowhere. You are alone, and you must teeter in hesitancy before the possibility of even broaching the topic with another like you, On Pain of Accusation. They might Turn You In. You cannot trust Your Own because you are policed by Your Own and, in case you forgot, you don’t deserve a normal sense of Your Own, and if you try you will be suspect and viciously, publicly hated. You are told you have No Ethnic Awareness, and you wish they were right. How much easier their lie would be, if it were true. Because those who hate you the most are others like you. You are the hated Racial Blank Slate, forced to be everyone but allowed to be no one.

Wisdom From The Mind of the World

One of the difficulties in learning to be present with a calm mind, and more important in learning to listen deeply to others, is the fear that we will loose track of our own valuable thoughts if we step out of our own minds long enough to listen to other minds, or have respite from the human mind at all. There is an underlying pressure we feel, when striving for mindfulness, to devalue our thoughts as if they were not the rare jewels that are precious sparks of insight. If we think we must believe our own thoughts are unworthy of attention in order to practice deep listening, we run the risk of not wanting to listen deeply because we feel we must choose between basic self-respect and respite from our own minds. Instead, we can maintain and grow our self-respect by trusting that whatever thoughts we discover within us that are worthy of chronicling will return to us again after our attention leaves our own our minds to venture out into the mind of another or the mind of The World: wisdom comes through us, not from us. Thoughts worthy of keeping are of the wisdom which comes from The Mind of the World.

They Were Transgender, Until They Weren’t

“I didn’t really feel like I could talk to my counselors about [gender-]detransitioning in the way that I wanted,” she said, “because they have specific political views, and I felt like if I said I had these criticisms of the whole concept of transitioning, they would have thought I was being brainwashed by transphobic bigots or whatever.”

From The Stranger
(a leftist Seattle newspaper)
article: “The Detransitioners: They Were Transgender, Until They Weren’t”
June 28th 2017
author Katie Herzog

 

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash