Why my “whiteness” is so shameful to me

Contributed by Carol Benedict.

Six students at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee — a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona — took a picture proudly wearing shirts spelling out a racial slur that swept through social media this Friday. Image via Facebook.

Six students at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee — a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona — took a picture proudly wearing shirts spelling out a racial slur that swept through social media this Friday. Image via Facebook.

(Opinion) So America wants to claim that we are a post-racial Christian nation. Yet, on our social media platform, we see everyday images like these that bombard our nation with the underlying message of being white – it is better than all other races and deserves its own privilege.

The above photo was taken in Arizona.  The expressions on the faces of these teens says it all. They are proud to make fun of a race they have been taught to view as inferior to them. They see this act as a way of making a statement on “senior picture day” at the school. The school’s Black Student Union defiantly responded by tweeting a picture with a group of white and black students smiling together under the banner #thunderstrong.

Facebook meme demonstrating the baseless arguments of "whiteness" in the US. Image via Facebook.

Facebook meme demonstrating the baseless arguments of “whiteness” in the US. Image via Facebook.

I saw the above post on the page of a family member – one who is thought of by most everyone in the family to be a “Christian.” I wanted to ask what verse in her Christian Bible could she point to that encourages this attitude toward other children of God. What example from Christ’s life is there that would demonstrate to Christians that intolerance of other races or faith is bettering the kingdom of God? Do her prayers include a plea for white supremacy in her society?

Armed white terrorists take over a federal building in Oregon. Official response is to "monitor the situation." Pleas for the siege to stop from local residents of the nearby community go ignored. Image screenshot via USA Today.

Armed white terrorists take over a federal building in Oregon. Official response is to “monitor the situation.” Pleas for the siege to stop from local residents of the nearby community go ignored. Image screenshot via USA Today.

In the case of the Oregon standoff, the disconnect is exceptional. The land these ranchers are demanding be turned over to them for the grazing of their cattle was originally sacred burial and ceremonial ground of the Paiute Indians. By using the “tyranny” they accuse the government of, they are trying to force non-whites to allow cemeteries to be grazed by livestock. How many WHITE CHRISTIAN cemeteries would allow this? How many white people would be outraged if non-whites brought their livestock to graze on the cemetery lawns next to their churches?

And yes, I have comments about the Native Americans as well. The treatment of indigenous peoples in the United States has become the nation’s oldest ongoing crime, with no significant indication that it will change anytime soon. From Wounded Knee to the man-camps in North Dakota Indian country surrounding the oil business there, the human rights violations against this entire group of people is enough to bring about international intervention.

The examples of the reprehensible behavior and rhetoric goes on and on. There is no shortage of hate in America.

Photo via Facebook

This is how law enforcement responds to protestors that want to exercise their right to freedom of expression in what has been considered “public space” since malls have become privately owned enterprises welcoming the public on a daily basis. Image via Facebook

And then there is the Black Lives Matter movement. I completely understand and appreciate what this movement is about. The racial policing of communities across America has proven, without question, that law enforcement overall views black Americans differently than white Americans.

My white friends will comment about how they are “inconvenienced” by stopped traffic, marches and protests at shopping malls. Not one of these white people ever want to discuss how the black community is “inconvenienced” by racial profiling, income and employment inequalities, discrimination from creditors, substandard education compared to their white peers, reductions in budgets designed to assist these communities, and speeches by politicians saying we need to stop these blacks from disrupting our daily lives.

When Donald Trump said that he thought all Muslims in America should be required to register, and that all Muslims trying to enter the United States need to be stopped at the borders, many white Americans cheered. It shows how quickly a nation that calls itself “Christian” will abandon those values taught in the Bible they cling to in order to protect the “whiteness” of their country.

If we all see other faiths, ethnicity and races as “those” people, how will we ever find a path toward peace, tolerance and understanding? How can we expect the guns of war to fall silent if we can’t hear that silence through the noise of our prejudices?

I am sick of the intolerance, double standards and privilege my race affords me. I no longer want to be identified with people that can hate like this.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an independent researcher studying Kurdish history, culture and politics. She is also a human rights activist and advocate.

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One thought on “Why my “whiteness” is so shameful to me

  1. Neil Fagerhaugh

    The people depicted make me feel shameful too. But people like you make me feel proud. And there’s lots more like you than like them.

    Reply

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