It’s been awhile since I posted, and I realized I was on the verge of a rant on Facebook which would likely receive a better audience on my blog. I’ll follow this up with another, more personal post in a moment.
I came across this today, and I admit, at first, it really irked me.
But then I got to wondering, what IS culture? The author doesn’t really define it except as some form of shared experience common to a group of people, and if that’s all, then how can white people NOT have some form of culture?
Also, have Italians, Germans, Danish, Irish and Scottish people stopped being white (again), because I’m pretty sure they have a lot of culture and their skin tone tends toward the ivory. Is it that once they get into a position of privilege or emigrate to the United States, their culture stops being specific enough to describe as being part of “white” culture?
If we’re just talking about white US citizens who haven’t emigrated within a few generations, then it’s going to be harder to define the particular experiences shared by those people and no others because the past several generations have been explicitly taught that white culture is a melting pot* wherein sharing intercultural experiences is part of their culture. If white people in the US don’t have many isolated cultural experiences, it’s because the United States has, despite the efforts of white supremacists, never been particularly good at avoiding intermingling with other cultures.
On the flip side of the coin, US white people are among the most prolific in the world at exporting their cultural ideals (sometimes by force) to other countries. Whether it’s English or democracy or industry or Christmas or Leave it to Beaver, they’ve got it and think you should have it too! Yes, it’s very arrogant and rude behavior when pushed upon people who aren’t interested in integrating those interjections into their culture, but it seems to fit with the tendency to grab up intercultural experiences and make them their own.
“Hey, Europeans! Have you ever had a burrito before?”
“Taco Bell for everybody!”
“White culture” is perhaps a misnomer because, contrary to the disdainful racism purported by a number of its members, a lot of people in the United States are all about other people’s cultures. They’re like a Ned Flanders version of the Borg**, minus Flanders’ overall lackadaisical neighborliness.
“WE ARE THE AMERICANS. YOUR CULTURE WILL BECOME OUR CULTURE. OUR CULTURE WILL THEN BECOME HIGHLY CAPITALIZED ASPECTS OF YOUR CULTURE. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.”
Maybe that is white culture. Not remarking on whether it’s a good or bad thing.
* A concept that has been known and written of since at least the 1780s, I am surprised to learn. I thought it would be more recent than that. This means that it has been a concept associated with the United States since the very beginning.
** I searched Google and was shocked to find that no one has ever drawn this. I found Borg Homer and Borg Queen Lisa, but no Borg Flanders. Internet, I am disappointed in you.