Stuff White People Say

July 23, 2008

“It is good what you are doing”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 11:44 am
Tags: , , , ,

European culture is rooted in competion, othering and superficial values.
Othering is not only imposed to people who look different, so different races/nationalities, but also to other whites.

A white life is defined by what an individual white shouldn’t be. For example, a white should not be like poor white people who are labeled as “white trash”. White people who are not successful or who don’t meet the criterions of a positively stereotyped “white” [successful, decent, polite etc.] are used as a bad example how not to be.

Because whiteness is fluent throughout history, “white values” change. When it was once socially valued among southern whites to be plantation owners and to be therefore white supremacists, today the term “white supremacist” and the association with it changed: White supremacists are the “real racists”, who are bad, and nobody wants to be like them.

With that liberal whites find their new socially accepted niche:
argument 1: I am not a white supremacist, I am not a blatant racist, therefore I am not racist.
argument 2: I care, therefore I am anti-racist.

I think also because of othering and identifying and defining one own self with what a white is not liberal whites want to do “something”, what is socially valued in a Eurocentric worldview – social work.
Somebody who does social work is within a competitive society automatically “better” than other whites who do nothing.
And like missionaries in the past, who probably honestly believed to do “good work” to other people by forcing them to become Christians, liberal whites feel enlightend and start to educate others. This mindset creates paternalists as well as “teachers”, who don’t longer reflect on their own actions.
You can find this attitude whereever you go and therefore unfortunately also among so-called white anti-racists.

Whites learn to “be good” and at the same time they learn not to challenge the status quo. In the middle of it you can find the liberal white.
It is more important how they label what they are doing than what they actually do or what they are.
Doing “anti-racist” work is regarded as positive because blatant racism is no longer valued. Therefore, somebody who is “concerned” but doesn’t confront other whites, is considered as good, “it is good what you are doing”, because these “anti-racists” help them to disconnect from one’s own racism. “Anti-racism” becomes a comfort zone to feel better than “other whites”. Because they don’t expect that their own problematic attitudes are being challenged. Labels become like a protective shield – don’t challenge me because I am already there. Like often in a Eurocentric mind-set, it is more important to be socially accepted and praised for “good work”, because honestly challenging racism makes interactions with other whites sometimes difficult. Serious white anti-racists don’t longer do “good work”, but are considered as some sort of traitors only a few whites want to be associated with.


  1. This post is funny to me. It has a bit of SWPL style.

    I initially wrote “This is great,” referring to the post, but then it reminded me of “It is good what you are doing.”

    Christian Lander of SWPL knows he’s not exempt from the white people he is making fun of, but Macon D is talking about “those other white people.”

    You are white and also talking about those other white people, so I have to think about what that means.

    Comment by Restructure! — July 23, 2008 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  2. You are white and also talking about those other white people, so I have to think about what that means.

    yes I know that I do this. I know that I am white in a socially constructed system which divides people into black and white. I know that because of this I am a part of the white collective the same way I am a part of the German collective.
    The other is identity, my own identity. With that I mean, with what can I truly identify when it comes to European culture or the average white mind-set. And what makes me feel like the unwelcomed stranger.

    So for me it is difficult to refer to ‘us whites’ in many situations when I can’t relate to them but only share the same skin-color and when they/these whites exclose me for what I am.

    Thompson is talking about an “anti-racist culture”, describing a culture lived by whites who know, that they are mentally not a part of white culture and who also know that they aren’t a part of any non-white culture. Living between “two worlds”.

    Comment by jwbe — July 23, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  3. Ah, interesting. This is new to me.

    Comment by Restructure! — July 24, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  4. yes, this is a topic I would like to see other white anti-racists or so talking more about. How they actually deal with all the knowledge etc and how this translates into their lifes.

    Comment by jwbe — July 24, 2008 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  5. […] Stuff White People Say Share and […]

    Pingback by “It is Good What You Are Doing” | illvox: anarchist people of color, race, anarchy, revolution — August 13, 2008 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

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