Stuff White People Say

November 18, 2008

“What is our culture”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 4:24 pm

just thoughts
Eurocentrism is a culture of othering, competition and capitalism. European culture exists against an imagined ‘Black other’ and defines itself of what it is not. I think the uniqueness of Eurocentrism is that words and values excluse each other and that illusions are stronger than reality.
Within whiteness white people are looking for their “niche” and separate themselves in different “castes” by labeling and stereotyping certain white groups: White trash, middle class, atheists, homeless and many more. Eurocentrism is looking for markers with which individuals believe they know ‘the other’. With the assumption that they know ‘the other’ they define themselves and also disconnect themselves from other whites.
Christianity and Eurocentrism are inseparable from each other.
Christianity became a religion of power with times where the Bible was the only accepted truth. Christianity became a tool to make ordinary people suspicious of each other (“witches” for example) and working against each other. With the justification of “God’s will” Europeans were able to disconnect themselves from their actions because the result was seen to be in the interest of “God”. The “civilizing” of the “pagan savage” was an act of mercy to safe “lost souls”.

The individual and also the individual survival is more important than the survival of a group. Losing (human) contact to each other also includes that an individual feels no responsibility towards a group. Success [in terms of Eurocentrism] is seen as a success of the individual who sees himself in some sort of vacuum – independend of the influence from outside. Nonetheless whites feel ‘race-solidarity’, which is some sort of abstract feeling of belonging together, not based on values but based on the mere fact of sharing the same skin-color [which is positively stereotyped].

The Eurocentric mindset sees himself as the individual against the imagined monolithic other, which also created the myth of white individual saviors who work alone against all odds of the world. ‘Superman’ for example, the ordinary white male with superpowers who can save the world, is indicative for the individualism and also individualistic competitive mind-set towards megalomania. The individual is strong or superstrong which makes him ‘better’ than the rest of humans.
The superidealized white male who displays the values which are ‘white ideals’ [white stereotypes], the white male who acts as a loner but ironically nonetheless demonstrates what the white collective thinks about itself and the importance of whiteness.

While white privilege can actually be invisible to white people – those white people who live isolated from reality – whiteness itself is visible to them. Take a white person who claims to be “colorblind” and put him into a Black community for example. That whiteness is the norm and that whites don’t have to call this norm ‘white’ does not mean that they don’t know which group they feel a belonging.
This feeling of belonging is probably most visible when it comes to Sundown Towns or the smaller child of it – white suburbs. Whites feel automatically safe within a white surrounding and feel quite often not safe in a non-white surrounding. White fenced communities also make this very visible. Other whites aren’t considered a threat, even if the history of white massmurders is a quite white one and according to statistics as a white you are quite likely to be killed by your white partner. Perception and reality are two different things.

The perception that there is no white culture is based on the assumption that there would be monolithic other cultures and is also based on stereotyping other cultures as well as reducing them to some “exotic” artifacts. A European mind-set which reduces for example “African culture” to drumming, colorful clothing and ritual dancing – reinforced with multicultural events – ignores the fact that Africa is a continent with many different cultures, languages, politcal systems etc.

The European mind-set also believes that members of a certain group also identify with a supposed culture or parts of it. In the European mind-set it comes “naturally” to somebody who is Black to listen and to love Rap, because this is “Black culture” while at the same time a European mind-set has problems with realizing the fact that some or many Black people like Mozart and Bach and not always Rap. Skin-color again defines the ‘other’ together with assumed culture or preferances and dislikes.

Because a European mind-set can’t see the complexity of other cultures those whites also can’t see their own culture because it doesn’t have markers of whiteness. Surrounded by his own culture he is looking for the same simplified markers as he perceives non-white cultures.

These markers work when it comes to non-American cultures or reverse, white American culture from outside. The American can reduce German culture to food, some dances and clothing the same way a German can reduce white American culture to food, some dances and music. But within ones own culture this is not possible because living within a culture also means to realize the complexity.

1 Comment »

  1. You sound like a freshman getting his mind blown by Intro to Sociology.

    Comment by Alonso — December 15, 2008 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

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