Stuff White People Say

August 3, 2008

“I grew up in an all-white area”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 4:39 pm
Tags: ,

There is nothing wrong with where somebody grew up, parents make such choices, not children.
But when adult people come along, saying that they are ‘just learning’ about racism etc., I do wonder.
I wonder how that works to live within an illusional soap bubble. And I also wonder about the approach many white people seem to choose when it comes to the alleged new enlightment that race, also their own, does indeed exist in a system where race is a social construct. ‘Studying’ racism which is so ‘complicated’ that it takes years to get it? White people who say, that racism is something they can’t feel, because they are not affected, a statement which is somehow a declaration of bankrupt of one’s own humanity. Do such whites never cry when they learn about a racist incident for example? Is Sean Bell so far away from them, because they are white and he was Black?

How long does it take to read McIntosh’s article about white privilege? 10 minutes? And therefore it should also only take 10 minutes to realize and acknowledge white privilege. But for many whites white privilege comes like a shock and awe, weird feelings of personal guilt and a phase of denial. Some or many prefer to remain in an everlasting state of denial.
Talks about race become ‘tricky’, difficult and some make the choice to intellectualize the topic until it becomes so abstract that it becomes somewhat surreal.

And this because growing up in an all-white area as some white people claim.
To continue this way of thinking it would need non-white people who expose themselves to whites, so that whites can get ‘used’ to people who don’t look like them.
But no, it isn’t a lack of being exposed to PoC, it is this unconsious feeling of superiority on the one hand and a severe lack in many white people’s brain to see beyond race to see the human being.
It is common sense and social competence I think what white people should learn, as well as empathy. This would also make white-white relationships much more honest and enriching.
Respecting somebody else’s experiences and feelings would be the first step to understand issues about race.

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31 Comments »

  1. Is this about me? I can’t help but notice some similarities between this post and things written on my blog.

    Comment by LLB — August 3, 2008 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

  2. no, it’s not only about you, but I realized that the last couple of days some whites said this “I grew up in a white area” etc and this made me thinking.

    Comment by jwbe — August 3, 2008 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  3. So, if it isn’t only about me, then is it fair to say that it includes me?

    Comment by LLB — August 4, 2008 @ 3:06 am | Reply

  4. It includes you where you feel addressed.
    You are not the only one saying ‘I grew up in a white area, so I don’t no’ (paraphrasing).

    Comment by jwbe — August 4, 2008 @ 5:01 am | Reply

  5. It includes you where you feel addressed

    OK, I’m fine with that.

    Comment by LLB — August 4, 2008 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  6. jwbe,

    Did you grow up in an all-white area?

    Honestly, I haven’t met many white people who grew up in all-white areas who I felt comfortable with, that I know of, offline. However, I’ve met relatively few of these kinds of white people…

    I do/did suspect that growing up in all-white areas makes white people act racist, because the atmosphere is completely different for me when I’m in an area with many people of colour versus in an area where everyone else but me is white.

    I’m asking you this, because I assumed you grew up in an area with many people of colour…

    Comment by Restructure! — August 4, 2008 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  7. Many people of color is exaggerated I think. The district I live there are about 24 % non-Germans and that’s also the district I grew up. It’s working class and politically more left-leaning.

    Comment by jwbe — August 4, 2008 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  8. Many people of color is exaggerated I think. The district I live there are about 24 % non-Germans and that’s also the district I grew up. It’s working class and politically more left-leaning.

    By “non-Germans”, do you mean non-whites? Is there some kind of racial requirement for being a German citizen?

    Comment by Restructure! — August 5, 2008 @ 1:50 am | Reply

  9. non-Germans are citizens without German nationality. We don’t have statistics based on race, only German / non-German. About 50% of non-Germans are Turkish.
    People from other EU-countries benefit from certain rules within the EU, so it’s easier for members of EU-contries to move and live within another EU-country, regardless race.
    There is also the term ‘Drittstaater’, I don’t know how to translate this, it means non-Germans coming from non-EU countries, ‘third countries’. These are people living in Germany and refers also to the children of immigrants who don’t have the German nationality but are already born in Germany.

    The one school I was in when I was 10 – 12 years old had a high percentage of Turkish students and the school started to establish some bilingual classes, Turkish and German.

    Is there some kind of racial requirement for being a German citizen?

    One great problem in Germany is that many or most white Germans are unable to realize non-white Germans as German. Regardless of how many generations non-white people live in Germany and have the German nationality. This is also a problem when it comes to most ‘anti-racist’ groups here. They either call anti-fascism or fighting for immigrant’s right anti-racism. They don’t realize that there are many non-white Germans and therefore also they promote the picture of the white German and the non-white non-German.

    Comment by jwbe — August 5, 2008 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  10. jwbe:

    Are Turks white people n Germany?

    Comment by Michael Fisher — August 21, 2008 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

  11. Are Turks white people in Germany?

    Comment by Michael Fisher — August 21, 2008 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  12. you already know the answer to your question

    Comment by jwbe — August 22, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  13. I’m just waiting for the punchline.

    Comment by LLB — August 23, 2008 @ 5:27 am | Reply

  14. The punchline?

    Comment by jwbe — August 23, 2008 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  15. Obviously, Michael’s question is more than just uncertainty over whether Turks are considered white in Germany. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop and see what the real aims of the question are.

    Comment by LLB — August 23, 2008 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  16. jwbe are you quednau?

    As to my question. I’ve asked quite a few Turks in Germany about this, and they all insisted that they are white people.

    Thus my question to you. according to German white people are Turks in Germany white people?

    Comment by Michael Fisher — August 29, 2008 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

  17. Yes, I am and I already answered this question on WACAN.

    Comment by jwbe — August 29, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  18. I forgot the answer. Gonna have to look it up. Hi there, by the way.

    Comment by Michael Fisher — August 29, 2008 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

  19. Ok, found your answer:

    >What about the “Scheiss-Tuerken”? Are they white?

    quednau/jwbw: No, they are non-white and the most hated minority in Germany because of the stereotypes about Islam and the war-propaganda of the “war on terror”.

    Germans of Turkish descent aren’t accepted as Germans
    The stereotypical job associated with Turkish people is trash collector
    The stereotypical belief is that Turkish people don’t speak german, eat only Dönar, Turkish men suppress women, commit honory killings, are prone to violence.
    According to stereotypes all members of Islam are terrorists, is seen as the greatest threat to Europe. Turkish people are automatically associated with Islam. There are talks about Islamisierung von Deutschland and Sharia undermining German law.

    ____________________

    Ok. So, how come the Turks think they are white?

    Comment by Michael Fisher — August 29, 2008 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  20. let me answer to your question Michael fisher. I am a turk, I think im white, because i have light brown hair, green eyes and I look more western european, even whiter than any estern european (greek, bulgarian, serbian etc.) my family r al light haired and coloured eyes, my ansestors r turkish and my leader attaturk (father of the turks) has blonde hair and blue eyes. Yes we are mix races but recent study has shown 88% of turks are white, thats also not to forget the large amount of kurds living in turkey, kurds are decended of iranian people, they are the arab looking race.

    Your question might be, if turks think they r white, than why does germans n other western europeans think turks r non-white? You might know turks have migrated to western europe for job opportunities, these workers that traveled overseas were almost all from the eastern part of turkey, as u know turkey is mix race, eastern parts are darker and more religious parts of turkey, with poorer economy and harder to live. The darker turks and kurds whom live in bottom eastern side of turkey traveled, brought their strong muslim religion, their arabic looks and backward village culture with them.

    As for western turks that takes up most of the turkish population, we are the mix white race, some of us look greek, some look italian, some look russian and some look english or german. Western turks are critisized by arabic countries for not being religious, living a free life. Our music and culture is almost identical to the eastern european countries. Turks are generaly Kemalists, which means we live life and look up to our leader, the founder of turkey ataturk, live more athiest life and believe in democracy.

    You might ask if turkey is not religious like the arab countries and they r democratic, why are they 99.8% muslim, the question to that is, who ever u are, what ever religion u have, when ur born in turkey, ur default religion recorded in turkish passport is muslim, unles u bother to go pay money and change it, it remains that way. The remaining western turks that are muslim live a moderate muslim life, just like christians do.

    Alot of turks may have dark features, but so does greek people, and no one accuses them of being coloured, i recently met a greek guy that looked darker than a middle eastern.

    Comment by Turan — November 2, 2008 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

  21. http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=o87n0fhHIiM

    Above I have sent you a youtube link of a turkish series. Its a short part of it but it shows u a highschool guy thats moving houses to his friends place. Than you see al his friends arriving, take a look at what the friends look like, out of al his friends only one of them looks like an arab, and his a kurdish guy, since kurdish people are the largest minorities they are in turkish series aswel and usualy play the funny characters who speak turkish language from their throat (just like the arabic language) and who is generaly extreme religious.

    If u want more examples let me no, i wil send u more

    Comment by Turan — November 2, 2008 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  22. Hi Turan,

    Do you think that it’s better to be light-skinned than dark-skinned?

    Comment by Restructure! — November 3, 2008 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  23. Hey, ofcouse i dont. I dont care what my people are I’ll be proud wether we r middle easterns, asians or whites, what I dont understand is that i accept myself as white because if (light brown haired, green eyes and white skin man) was to tell people im coloured ill simply get laughed at, but by telling people on the internet that my race is white, u guys seem to think turks r trying to be white because they are ashamed of their skin colour, am i right??

    Comment by Turan — November 3, 2008 @ 5:07 am | Reply

  24. Well no, if you identify as white, then you’re white. But these quotes make it seem like you think darker Turks are associated with backwardness:

    The darker turks and kurds whom live in bottom eastern side of turkey traveled, brought their strong muslim religion, their arabic looks and backward village culture with them.

    and

    only one of them looks like an arab, and his a kurdish guy, since kurdish people are the largest minorities they are in turkish series aswel and usualy play the funny characters who speak turkish language from their throat (just like the arabic language) and who is generaly extreme religious.

    Also, when you said, “no one accuses them of being coloured,” it seems like you are saying that being “coloured” is something bad.

    Comment by Restructure! — November 3, 2008 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  25. Well for your question, bottom eastern turkey is mostly of kurdish decent, that is why turks there are darker aswel because of years of mating i guess, also because its close to iran and other middle east countries they got people from there from back in ottoman period and where arabs have turkified, these people are not to be looked lower, but unfortunately their extreme religiousness do cause them to be less civilised, also because eastern turkey is more village lifestyle where as western turkey is more city life. Western turkey sends teachers to teach in small village schools to teach eastern turkeys children in villages, unfortunately the period of time when alot of eastern turks n kurds flee to western europe, most villages back than did not have education so alot of the older people in western europe cant even write or read.

    As for me pointing out that kurds r the coloured people in turkey, the reason for that is millions of kurds migrated to western europe with turkish passport, turkish passport does not recognise eithnicity and germans do not have kurds n turks, they r all under one name “Turks”, this may be the reason why germans think we are coloured, because half the “turks” in germany r the kurds.

    I talked about greeks having brown people and no one calling them coloured is because i see turks as very similar race with greeks, and greeks label us as arabs (which isnt the fact that its offensive of being an arab but its something we are not) and most of europe see us as arab. When you are middle eastern/brown its another story, but being a white person and hearing your race being called a something else is quiet annoying trust me. And believe me its got nothing to do with seeing brown people lower,

    I can also ask u the same reason, if u are white, than wuld u like being called an arab, or if ur arab wuld u like being called asian? if ur asian wuld u like being called caucasian? if u are offended it cause u see them lower or is it cause ur not the race they accuse u to be, or if u prefer being called another race type than u must really not be proud of ur race, as for me i love being turkish and im very proud of it.

    A 2007 study suggests that, genetically Anatolians are more closely related with the Balkan populations than to the Central Asian populations
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_origins_of_the_Turkish_people

    We arent pretending to be white or looking down on coloured people, we just dont like people thinking that we are something we are not and I think we have right to tel everyone without people thinking we are being racist.

    Comment by Turan — November 3, 2008 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  26. “Less civilized”????

    sigh…

    “Civilization” is overrated, and is capable of both natural disaster (plagues, cities being wiped out by a single storm) and artificial brutality (war, slave classes) that you do not usually see in smaller societies. Yes, many tribal societies do have war, and some keep their women as slaves, but the scale of the brutality is magnified vastly in civilizations.

    The peoples of the great liberal cities simply bring those brutalities elsewhere, using globalism to create and brutally oppress a slave class overseas – mostly in China these days.

    Comment by space — November 3, 2008 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  27. And they also brutalize local underclasses – in the US, often Blacks and Hispanic immigrants.

    Comment by space — November 3, 2008 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  28. there is a link “The power of an illusion”, http://www.pbs.org/race/002_SortingPeople/002_00-home.htm where you can ‘sort races’ to see, how difficult it is in reality and how much of it is perception.

    Turks in Germany, I don’t think that it is just ‘race’ alone, but two sometimes very different cultures meeting each other. After WWII, when Germany needed workers, the term “guest-worker” was meant that way, working for two years in Germany and then going back. Many stayed and their families also came to Germany. The younger Turkish generation lives in between the worlds – Turkey and Turkish traditions/values and Germany and German traditions/values.

    Comment by jwbe — November 3, 2008 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  29. jwbe u made a real good point, good on you! 😀

    Comment by KK — November 3, 2008 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  30. […] they are just perpetuating European cultural memes that originated during the 1700s or earlier. When a white person assumes that non-Western cultures are less civilized, perhaps it is a reflection of her own cultural […]

    Pingback by White people assume that non-Western cultures are less civilized. « Restructure! — November 4, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  31. I didn’t know racism was still a big problem until I was 14. I grew up in Fairfax, VA (near Washington DC) in the 80’s and our neighborhood consisted of people from a lot of different ethnic/racial backgrounds. I would imagine that the similar economic circumstances allowed many of us to avoid being around those that blamed other groups of people for their economic circumstances. To me the Huxtables (The Cosby Show) were representative of the families I knew (black, white, hispanic, asian…) – I didn’t know it was groundbreaking – to me it was just a funny show about a family no different from mine. I feel very lucky to have grown up in that time and place – I just can’t comprehend the rationalizations people use to defend their bigotry.

    When I moved to South Eastern Virginia after being medically retired from the Army I was shocked at the pervasive racism – and how freely people used certain words without a second thought. For this reason I consciously chose a neighborhood that was more similar to the one I grew up in – where you can’t really put a label on what kind of neighborhood it is because so many ethnicities are represented. My son won’t have a chance to buy into stereotypes – when someone makes a nasty comment or stupid generalization, my son will know it’s not true because he has grown up with Mr. Reggie, Mr. Calvin, Mr. G (Guiterrez), and Mr Quinonez – not races but people. I wish more children could be protected from growing up to be racists this way.

    Comment by Stephanie M — December 16, 2008 @ 10:27 pm | Reply


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