Margaret Cho: "I Would Love to Be White"

I don’t have anything to say about this, really, except that I thought it was interesting. From Margaret Cho’s blog:

But sometimes, I just really get sick of fighting all the time. I am doing battle when I am sleeping. I have to slay the dragons of the myth of heterosexual European male society in my dreams, then get up in the morning and be an activist. I have to watch movies and news about the people that I am not, then I have to translate all of my difficulties and observations in order to make my struggle palatable to those who don’t have to march, but are sympathetic to my voice. This is a major part of my audience, an easy ear to bend – yet I still myself must bend it.

What if I didn’t have to bend anything? What if there really was a level playing field? I would love to see how far I could actually go. What if all I had to show off was my mad skills? Wouldn’t I really be able to fly then?

I have posed this question to other minority artists, and get stumped by answers like “No, not ever have I ever wanted to be white.” And I just don’t buy it. Why would you not want things to be easier? What if you were just secular, and everything you did were taken at face value, without having to factor in any minority sliding scale or affirmative action?

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31 Responses to Margaret Cho: "I Would Love to Be White"

  1. 1
    alsis38 says:

    I wonder if this first popped into her head when she noticed the difference in the way her potty mouth was treated by the heavy hitters in her political party– vs. the way Eminem’s potty mouth was treated. Or if it at least popped into her head more loudly than usual. Of course, I wondered the same thing about Whoopie Goldberg last year. Hmmm… couldn’t be racism that explains the difference between how Eminem was received vs. how Cho was received, could it ? Nah. :p

  2. 2
    Joan says:

    The only time I have flirted with that wish was during the period that people were giving me the most grief about how I wore my hair. I knew that if I were white I wouldn’t have to deal with the issue.

    In general, though, I have grown to really love being a black woman. I know that if I’d been born a white guy I would love myself as a white guy, but after 40 years of loving myself like this, I can’t imagine changing.

    And if I were a white guy, life would not be perfect. I would have other issues specific to my situation, like white liberal guilt, wondering how much my accomplishments were really the result of my abilities or whether white privilege played a factor.

    Also, if I were white and working-class, I would still face some oppression and barriers. A person would really have to wish to be a wealthy, white, male, able-bodied, weight-proportional-to-height, height-appropriate, lifestyle-appropriate, religiously appropriate, etc., etc., etc., etc.

    I read a quote where someone was asked who they would want to be if they could be anyone in history. The guy said he would want to be a member of the wealthy ruling class of France in the era just before the French Revolution. All I could think was, “what a pig!” Looking back with the perspective of history, knowing what life was like for the rest of the population, he still wanted to be the elite oppressor. Hideous.

    Take heart, Margaret. When you start to feel the pressure, do a meditation where you put yourself in the place of an Iraqi woman who has no livelihood and fears for her life every day. Feel where she is. And then make a wish to be Margaret Cho. And then continue the fight.

  3. 3
    acm says:

    great comment, Joan!
    thanks.

  4. 4
    Shannon says:

    You know Joan, whites DON’T HAVE TO think about white privlege or feel guilty. They can just ignore it and plus, if they have problems, they can just blame it on minorities. They are even allowed to cry about how we hate white people if we don’t pretend that pale skin confers sainthood. While I like being black too, I am really jealous of how white people get to be loud and ignorant like right in front of you as if you’re not even there. I’d really love to be given human respect for doing nothing, and also, I’d love being able to be ‘qualified’ even if I couldn’t do my job and my grades sucked. I’d love to be thought of as someone deserving a spot instead of someone who might get a spot after all the whites have been served.

    I’d love being considered the center of everything and not having to cringe at the images on TV, I’d love being able to pretend I am a victim based on made up stuff, and not be called on it while people with real problems are being told it’s not a big deal. I’d love not hearing people act like out of millions of black girls, not one is attractive. (except maybe halle berry) I’d love being able to just be without thinking about anything at all. Of course, this is all normed on Southern whites, who are rich, as that’s most of the whites I know. Although Northern whites have done the loud and ignorant thing.

  5. 5
    blue lily says:

    Wanting to be respected and wanting to be someone else so you can be respected are two different things to me.

  6. 6
    jp says:

    (Disclaimer: White Male Ahead)

    Well, there’s “easier” and there’s “easier,” so to speak. It’s easier being white in all sorts of ways, and I’m sure nobody could back up a claim that white liberal guilt is ‘as bad’ as being subjected to racism, etc.–but still, I can imagine that it might actually be easier (in some senses) to live an honest, if hugely difficult, life, filled with these sorts of struggles than to live a dishonest, ‘easy’ life as a white male who ignores his own white male priveledge.

    But that’s just bein’ all Platonic and stuff. Maybe honest is just white-man code for ‘sucker!’

    Still, I wonder about the ‘choice’ that white people have to not pay attention to their own priveledge. I certainly don’t feel like it’s a choice, though I acknowledge that it’s ‘not a choice’ in a different way than it’s ‘not a choice’ for somebody who is subject to racism personally. I suffer from racism, but certainly not in the same way, for instance.

    So I suppose I would want to say that *individual* white people can ignore it, but really–white people as a group aren’t allowed to ignore it, and we certainly won’t be allowed to ignore it long-term (just check out California’s population breakdown by race, AND the increasing political power of non-whites in CA).

  7. 7
    Kyria says:

    Last time I checked, everyone was still allowed to be loud and ignorant. Though some of us just have a gift.

  8. 8
    Antigone says:

    I’m a white female, and as such I’ve been subjected to sexism AND racism (be the only white girl in a Mexican school and see how fun it is. Then add on be agnostic in a predominately Catholic place. Then add on be smart when you’re supposed to be accomadating. You get the gist.) Anyone, getting to the point: I do not want homogeny. I like the fact that there are different types of people, different stories to be told, different beauty to the world. I think the problem becomes when one rises above another. I wish “different” wasn’t equated to “better or worse”. Did I ever wish to be exactly like everyone else? Of course I did. Have I ever felt like because I was white (when I’ve lived in predominately white areas) I should feel guilty because white people used to (and still do) oppress people? Yes. But instead of wishing that I was like everyone else, or wishing that I could get rid of “liberal guilt” I wish that I am where I am because of what I have done and my skills, instead of being buffered by cultural forces pulling me one way and the other. I wish there was more mutal respect and empathy, instead of claiming one’s “right” and the others not.

  9. 9
    Smash TV says:

    So her basic problem is she is living in a white majority nation. She would like to live in a ‘diverse’ nation any nation that is not majority white. So she makes up some complete crap about sexism, racism, intollerance and bigotry to guilt trip whites about how they are perhaps hated by a brown skinned jesus, and their only chance for heaven is racial suicide.
    So Margaret Cho is your basic George-Bushian-neochristian whiner. (Bush, in Christ, is the most anti white president ever, he completely dwarfs Clinton)
    I shrug off your crys of sexism, racism, and intollerance, so the only thing you can do is kill me, perhaps Ghengis Khan first tried to guilt trip whites, maybe he was a victim of “white racial intollerance”

  10. 10
    Amanda says:

    I would remind people who wish to criticize Cho for not being proud of being Korean that she said no such thing. She is a artist–her job is to look at the same old issues in new and startling ways to get others to think. This isn’t a statement of eternal truth but an attempt to shake us out of our typical ways of thinking. I thought it was well-done.

  11. 11
    radfem says:

    Yeah…Blue Lily.

    Joan, I really like the advice you gave Margaret. Thanks. Thank you for your post, Shannon.

    “You know Joan, whites DON’T HAVE TO think about white privlege or feel guilty. They can just ignore it and plus, if they have problems, they can just blame it on minorities. ”

    Exactly! And we do. We hide behind a false meritocracy, to feel less guilty, or to avoid admitting that our privilage in this society is more responsible for what we “earn” than our merits. All these same arguments have been heard a lot in California when they banned A.A. in the U.C. system and then later were used by the proponants of 209(maintain white boy network for public schools and governmental contracting), to get it passed. The White women(the main beneficiaries of both forms of AA) bailed out of their gender, and voted with the men in their race. So much for our interest in fairness.

    As a White woman, you face sexism(and other oppressions, depending on class, ablebodism, sexual orientation), but I’d still be a woman b/c I’ve been one all my life. Sometimes I envy things that White men have, but I wouldn’t want to be one, like I said on the “changing genders” thread.

    Even the sexism isn’t so bad when I think of what so many other women in this world, in my country, in my city have to go through each day. Racism isn’t an oppression I have to face, either. I’m doing okay financially and I’m straight, so I gain the privilage that go with each. And after working at my job for the past five years, it’s put my oppression into its proper perspective. Not that it’s not there, but for me, it’s relative. Doesn’t mean you don’t fight, but you do so keeping in mind that you are not hurting other people in the battle for your own liberation.

    I’m never, ever going to complain about how rough my life is, because I’ve seen worse in terms of what other people face, heard worse and often times, the group that constitutes my race and/or gender is on the oppressor end, not the oppressed end. So why I do still feel oppressed on a gender level, it’s not as bad as what other women face. Not that I won’t stick up for myself if I experience sexism and I’m fortunate to be able to do this, because most women can’t.

    I sat at a council meeting this week and watched my council man *prove* he was not racist by asking the only Black management employee in City Hall(asst. city manager) to come down and stand in front of the audience of people(and viewers on television) while this councilman, who’s white talked about how if he had been a racist, how could this employee(on display) have advanced to such a high position? This guy is in a better position than a lot of men, particularly a lot of African-American men in my city, in terms of being #2 in the city management office, six-figure salary, but he still gets treated like crap when his employers, the city council, can pull a humilating stunt like this. Is this what you work hard for, to be used as a tool to validate your employer’s “tolerance” for people of color?

    Do white men get treated like this? No. Do White women? Perhaps. But compared to a Black man, Black woman, or in California, particularly, Latino man or woman(the more your numbers and political clout grow, the more white resistance you face), who all have to deal with thicker glass ceilings not really.

    My boss had written an editorial about some earlier racist behavior by this councilman and another white male councilman towards the city’s only Black councilman. My boss took him to task and perusual, didn’t mince words. So, councilman was making an indirect insinuative snide remark about being called a racist, while at the same time taking funding for community youth center’s projects in my old neighborhood where the majority of people there are Black or Latino and using the funding instead to create a job for the wife of the police chief, who was supposed to be the “new” youth coordinator yet was too scared to go into some of the neighborhoods including this one without a police escort.

    I know the guy fairly well in the past few years as he worked his way up, and we ran into each other at city hall, and he made some joke about being really “popular”.

    “(just check out California’s population breakdown by race, AND the increasing political power of non-whites in CA). ”

    And the more that power increases(though it’s not unified power by any means, at this point), the more voters will get stuck with those racist voter initiatives. Remember Pete Wilson, and his ilk?

  12. 12
    Andy says:

    It’s a given that life in American is easier if you’re white, but I don’t know that Margaret Cho has had it so bad. She’s successful at what she does, she makes a nice living, I’m sure there’s plenty of men who would love to date her.

    Again, her life might have been easier were she white, but she’s also based her whole comedy routine on the fact that she’s not. It seems a little reactionary of her, that’s all. I’m hispanic and have done pretty well for myself–I don’t think I’ve once pondered the question. There are people who are in far worse situations, like the disabled.

    I don’t know. I can’t help but thinking that she’s just whining.

  13. 13
    Antigone says:

    I don’t see her as whining. She’s not saying that people should help her because she’s this poor Korean girl, she’s not saying that she’s going to STOP fighting, she’s just saying that sometimes she wishes she didn’t have to fight. It’s like when you remark that it’s hard to raise kids: you’re not saying someone should fix that, or that you’re going to stop raising kids: it’s simply stating an oppinion (that I think happens to be true). To say that she’s just whining completely ignores the fact that she HAS had to fight to get where she’s at and continues to do so to stay there

  14. 14
    Shannon says:

    The thing is it’s NOT WHINING if you’re white. Whites can make things up out of whole cloth, and it’s ok for them to complain. (like reverse discrimination. There are problems that actually exist in the world. Like homophobia. ). But people of color are supposed to suck it up, even through whites don’t have to. Like when people say stuff like we should be grateful for slavery or that because a few black students got a scholorship this magically means that all black kids get a full ride to college even though they can’t read, or that somehow whites can’t get scholorships, or even when they assume that a whole school (black and hispanic) has learning disabilities- for the most part, I suck it up.

    I am from the South, so I am endlessly bitter. Whites even wear flags that show they condone the murder of my people- and equate it to fucking FUBU! (due to cultural diferences, lying about how it’s for ‘heritage’ makes you seem untrustworthy. ) Those sorts of comments are what I mean by loud and ignorant. It’s not like one dude saying you’re a ‘cracker’- it’s the whole society. I have sucked so much up that even thinking about white people fills me with rage. It’s important to note this. Your hurtful comments, your dumbass assumptions, your blaring of how you don’t think I exist, how you think I am so simple that the most transparent lie will do, it is noted and marked. They hurt people. And no, sitting on your ass enjoying the privleges of past and even present (although indirect) murder doesn’t get you off the hook. I don’t go crying if someone notes that my use of many consumer products exploits the third world. I suck it up- it’s my OWN fault that I do stuff like that.

    I like having class privlege and all, but I remain very aware that I’ll never get the same amount of respect that white people get just for living. It’s a consequence of intergration I think- if you see something right in front of you, you are constantly reminded of what you don’t have. Even other things like third world oppression by the first world(not sure what to call it) is also grounded in racism, as homophobia is grounded in sexism. I am not willing to be like “Oh, well, people in the third world have it worse. We’ll wait til everyone on earth is free to talk about how we need to be free”. I think that by yelling out that we need to be free, we help others to be free.

    If women don’t try to be free, black people(who include women) can’t be free on that front. If gays (some of whom are poor) don’t try to help poor people, then gays can’t truly be free. If whites don’t try to fight against exploitation in the third world, they will remain blind to the rest of the humanity. You can’t say “Oh well, black babies are dying, who cares about people disallowing gays to be married?” Any actual oppression that exists is important.

  15. 15
    radfem says:

    If women don’t try to be free, black people(who include women) can’t be free on that front. If gays (some of whom are poor) don’t try to help poor people, then gays can’t truly be free. If whites don’t try to fight against exploitation in the third world, they will remain blind to the rest of the humanity. You can’t say “Oh well, black babies are dying, who cares about people disallowing gays to be married?”? Any actual oppression that exists is important.”

    Yeah….I think people need to work together to liberate everyone, because oppressions intertwine so much. Too often, we cut each others’ throats, or do things that might help us, sometimes only in the short term, at others’ expense. Adversaries count on that quality being there.

    Yeah, to everything you’ve said, too. I’m not sure how to respond because I agree with you, mostly through what I’ve been doing lately in my life than any experience of it myself which is a totally different thing. It doesn’t really matter what I think anyway, because your life experiences are yours and I hope they are respected and listened to, and thank you for sharing them. And I know what it’s like a little bit to be invisible. A little bit.

    The integration thing too. My boss was recently telling me about how integration impacted the Black press and other businesses, and integration never really happened.

    Sitting on our asses most definitely does not get us off the hook, because everyone can do something. It’s everyone’s work to make this society fairer, and more just for everyone. Maybe we should do that ourselves, especially before telling other countries what to do. But then invading and occupying countries to help make them more free never made any sense. *shrug*

    I work mostly in the criminal (in)justice system, which is one of the most injust systems in this “free” country. For anyone who’s never been inside of one, you should go sit in a courtroom or outside the courtroom. You’ll find out how just this country really is. That’s and law enforcement are my main focuses. (I wish “feminist” movements were more involved here)

    (though I’m glad the Supremes at least banned SOME executions)

    I’m sorry about the confederate flag and the for us, by us BS(which it is). We have some of that out here too, in the West, although not as much. Some friends of mine and other people I’ve met said they left the South to get away from that crap, but found it here too.

  16. 16
    radfem says:

    And Margaret Cho’s “success” doesn’t mean she doesn’t still feel things and want to express them to other people, as shared experiences. If white people have that right and take it for granted, why can’t she have it as well?

  17. 17
    Amanda says:

    On top of it all, as one of the few Korean-Americans who has a platform, Cho has to deal with what few people have to deal with, and no white people have to deal with–being pressured to be the spokesperson for her race instead of just for herself. Not that her race isn’t a part of herself, but that’s just it–a part, not the whole.

    Even suggesting that her serio-comedic rant here has or should have larger implications is an example of this. If I, as a white person, did a serio-comedic rant about wishing to be another race, the audience would read that as a statement on the minority race, not on my race. But she does a rant on wishing to be white and we take it as a statement on her own race.

  18. 18
    Shannon says:

    I am not qualified to make this statement, but my general thought is that Asians have a bigger problem with visibilty in the media sphere than blacks do. So there’s a heavier burden- especially when you take into account that lumping them all into one group is even stranger than it is for blacks(way stranger). But of course what do I know?

    Also, Audre Lorde has some really great things to say about interlocking oppressions in Sister Outsider. I’ve never been inside a court room, except when I was interning at the mental hosptial, they had the people for some reason tell the judge why they wanted to get out and there would be a very tired public defendant. But of course no one got out unless the psychologist already said it was ok. Due to my lack of talent, I am unable to understand the point of that.

  19. 19
    Josh Jasper says:

    Without a history ectomy, if MArgaret Cho suddenly became white, she’d still understand what it’s like to grow up as an Aisian American. Me, if I could change race at will, I probably would, but I’m still not going to understand what it’s like to be a [fill in the blank racial group] from childhood.

  20. 20
    jp says:

    Just to be clear about one thing: Anybody who has seen/listened to M.Cho knows that it is NOT the case that “her whole routine” is based on her ethnicity…

  21. 21
    Diane says:

    Reading one brief essay by Margaret Cho without being familiar (which seems to be the case with some commenters) with her history, her outrageous take on life, her take-no-prisoners wit, her keen intellect, and her comedic gift would be like picking up the bible, reading one page, and determining it was a book about how to make bread.

  22. 22
    Joan says:

    I sat at a council meeting this week and watched my council man *prove* he was not racist by asking the only Black management employee in City Hall(asst. city manager) to come down and stand in front of the audience of people(and viewers on television) while this councilman, who’s white talked about how if he had been a racist, how could this employee(on display) have advanced to such a high position?

    Some friends of mine had that experience at a church they attended in the Midwest many years ago. When visitors would come to the church, the pastor would have my friends stand up so he could introduce “our little Negro couple.” (I don’t know why they continued to go there; it must have been the ONLY Pentecostal church anywhere around.)

    BTW, everybody check out: Black people love us! It’s a hoot.

  23. 23
    piny says:

    …Or stoning adultresses.

    Margaret Cho–as she herself has pointed out several times–is Korean-American. And she lives in a society incredibly concerned with race. So if she, like every other standup comedian who has ever lived, uses her own life and her own experiences as material for her act, she’ll be spending at least some time talking about what it’s like to be Korean-American.

    But like I said, this is true of every comedian. And critics don’t act as though George Carlin has made _his_ show all about being a white guy, even though every one of his pithy observations was made by someone moving through the world as a white guy. But whenever a comedian who isn’t white (or male or straight) starts talking, suddenly their experience can’t be universalized. Because we can all relate to morning wood (Hi, Tim Allen! Thanks so much for the imagery!), but not to tampons. And we can all relate to Mom, but not to Cho’s Mom.

    I suspect that for some people, if a Korean-American woman is up onstage talking about anything, the only salient fact of the performance is her race.

  24. 24
    radfem says:

    “Also, Audre Lorde has some really great things to say about interlocking oppressions in Sister Outsider. I’ve never been inside a court room, except when I was interning at the mental hosptial, they had the people for some reason tell the judge why they wanted to get out and there would be a very tired public defendant. But of course no one got out unless the psychologist already said it was ok. Due to my lack of talent, I am unable to understand the point of that. ”

    Me neither Shannon. It seems like there’s a lot of catch-22 in mental health and the criminal court system. I met the family of one man who was declared incompetent in court and put in a mental institution, based on the testimony of two doctors who each spent ONE hour with him, probably between other appointments to do the same function for other people. His own doctors who treated him for years were not allowed to provide any imput, at any time. Actually, he was re-declared competent again a few days ago, somehow(I’m not sure of the details), so he’ll go back to county jail and be denied his medication, of course, which was what had happened before. It’s been like a cycle going on for two years now.

    He was charged with ADW of a woman, who wouldn’t cooperate with the DA b/c she didn’t agree with them that’s what happened, and she was there, and now, she’s paying for his lawyer. Since she wouldn’t be a *good* victim, they added charges of ADW involving two LE officers who hit the guy with over 36 pepper balls, from 15 feet away which they hadn’t filed on originally. The police criminalized a mentally ill man who was Black(and their enjoyment at doing so was depicted very clearly on one of their audio recordings of the incident) and then the DA launched a teflon offense, throwing everything at it to see what would stick. My stepbrother, who’s white, even if he were a potential threat was always treated with kid gloves by the cops.

    An activist in mental health from L.A. told me that the biggest mental health facility in the country was Twin Towers jail in L.A. and that most of those who were mentally ill who were incarcerated were Black or Latino. They are not the ones getting medical care outside or inside that system. I’m glad that there are men and women out there working hard to change this, because until I talked with them, I didn’t have a clue, except maybe some suspicions b/c it’s not like the mainstream media covers anything like this that’s going to cast people who are incarcerated in anything less than a demonic way(unless, of course, you are Martha Stewart). Even in a state where the state prisons are going to be put under federal conservatorship soon and the women’s prisons study stated that far too many women were incarcerated in prisons set up for men. Very little news out on these events.

    “Reading one brief essay by Margaret Cho without being familiar (which seems to be the case with some commenters) with her history, her outrageous take on life, her take-no-prisoners wit, her keen intellect, and her comedic gift would be like picking up the bible, reading one page, and determining it was a book about how to make bread. ”

    Yeah, good analogy Diane.

  25. 25
    Radfem says:

    Joan, thanks for the link. I read the letters section, wow.

    “On top of it all, as one of the few Korean-Americans who has a platform, Cho has to deal with what few people have to deal with, and no white people have to deal with”“being pressured to be the spokesperson for her race instead of just for herself. Not that her race isn’t a part of herself, but that’s just it”“a part, not the whole. ”

    Yeah…that’s different than how Carlin would be treated. He’s a white male individual, who’s a comedian and people will take that for granted. That’s white privilage to be an individual of your race and/or gender, to be able speak as an individual, no questions asked. Cho’s race and her motives or meanings for what she says, will be scrutinized much more than Carlin’s which probably won’t be scrutinized at all.

  26. 26
    Morphienne says:

    “Take heart, Margaret. When you start to feel the pressure, do a meditation where you put yourself in the place of an Iraqi woman who has no livelihood and fears for her life every day. Feel where she is. And then make a wish to be Margaret Cho.”

    Ah, the old “your suffering is not as bad as someone else’s, so you should be happy about your own” argument. My grandmother pulled this shoddy piece of “logic” out of her hat every time I didn’t want brussels sprouts, and you know what? Those brussels sprouts still tasted just as bad.

    How dare you. How dare you inform someone that she should wish all of the bad things in her life on herself because she could be someone in a worse situation. How dare you imply that a betrayal of skin color is equal IN HER EYES to a betrayal of identity, when you are not her. How dare you tell someone how they should feel about their own life, their life, which is not yours, and the bad things in it, which did not happen to you.

  27. 27
    Radfem says:

    With all due fairness, you did forgot a very important sentence at the end, which without, it’s not complete.

    “And then continue the fight. ”

    That’s a crucial part in my opinion. Acknowleging that you face things in life that need to be fought against to make things better. It’s not about well, I shouldn’t complain or do anything because others’ have it worse. Or else that componant would not be there.

    It means different things to different people. I consider myself more privilaged than oppressed in society because I’m white, able-bodied and straight and not struggling as much economically as I have been. My main oppression faced is gender. So yeah, when I struggle with issues facing gender, I realize that even within my gender, I’ve benefitted more from what society has dictated than many other women. An Iraqi woman faces far more oppression than I do. A Black woman or Latina faces more oppression than I do. Margaret Cho faces worse than I do in her life. And I’m in a group of women who contributes to what they face, even if my only intent was to do, what I thought would liberate women.

    I sat in court and watched an American Indian man get sentenced to 66 years for discharging a firearm in the air after county deputies came on the reservation without any legal authority(the contract for legal authority was signed two days after the incident). No previous record, and no intent to harm anyone. When I met up with his family and friends afterwards and learned from them about the way things were on the reservation and the problems with the county agency overstepping its bounds, for me that’s worse than anything I face. It gives me perspective, because I’m more privilaged than they are and I can’t say honestly that I have it worse than they do…not in the United States of America. It doesn’t mean I stop working on sexism(which can’t even be fought successively by itself) but it might broaden perspective there and people can learn from each other and take that knowlege back with them to their fights as well.

    The second sentencing was an African-American guy who was stopped by cops, profiled as a drug user and after the cops found nothing in his system or his car that was illegal, they charged him with battery and resisting officers. He represented himself at trial, was acquitted on battery and convicted on the resisting charge. He opted for six months in jail b/c he knew if he took probation, the cops would “violate” him on the negative contact w/ LE prohibition within a month, so he’d do jail time anyway. I don’t face racially profiling. If I had fallen asleep in the park in my car, I’d have been asked if I was okay, didn’t I know I was in a “bad” neighborhood. This guy faced criminal charges because cops made an assumption about him based on race and acted on it, were wrong and then did what most cops do in this situation, dug themselves a deeper hole at his expense. Of course, we had a Black woman unconscious in a car and the cops who were sent out on a 911 call to help her, shot her dead within 3 minutes. A white woman holding a gun in her car broken down in a “bad” neighborhood is treated as someone protecting herself, whereas a Black woman in that situation is of course, seen as up to no good.

    When I get frustrated with the issues I face as a white woman, I think about lying inside a car in medical distress and having your head blown off by a group of trigger-happy cops who even though they are the ones armed with guns, you’re the dangerous one.

    For me, that is the only realistic way to deal with sexism, for example. I think if you don’t think of what other women besides yourself are facing in society than during your own process of liberation, you may wind up oppressing them further.

    But this is just my perspective on this issue from where I am. Other women and men might have those that are different.

  28. 28
    Radfem says:

    oooops, tornado warning…gotta go.

    So much for being the “golden” state, lol…

  29. 29
    Chris Adams says:

    Here’s an exhibition I sadly missed.

    It was one of a handful of attempts recently in the “art” world to define “whiteness”.

    The main point being: No, whites don’t feel they have to identify or explain themselves. I imagine Ms. Cho just wants a piece o’ that.

    I suspect this attitude is widely true, even when whites are overseas among other countries’ natives, since Western powers have asserted authority everywhere for the last 300-500 years.

    Wouldn’t it be neat if all minorities in America suddenly and simulataneously declared themselves “white” and just started going around acting offended if anyone suggested they were otherwise? And all women declaring themselves “men”. I’ve watched a few of each do this, for limited times, and the results are shocking and exhilarating.

  30. 30
    Radfem says:

    “”In mainstream American society and culture, whiteness remains an ever-present and unexamined state of mind and body, a powerful norm so pervasive that it is rarely acknowledged or even named,”? says guest curator Maurice Berger. “By refusing to mark whiteness…to assign it meaning…we are also refusing to see a vital part of the interpersonal and social relations of race. In the end, any discussion of race that does not include an analysis of whiteness will be, at best, incomplete.”?–exhibition link

    The analysis: Usually if it starts among whites but doesn’t get very far once our comfort levels(and comfort is something we’ve come to expect, as our birthright) are disturbed. We’ve grown so accustomed to being fed all that is “good”(even when the good wasn’t good at all) and really tend to avoid the negative, so honest analysis doesn’t go far.

    Whiteness has been acknowleged and celebrated throughout history, literature, science and other forms of instruction from the time you’re born. It’s only invisible in the sense that white people don’t have to think about it, unless they choose to and it’s something we don’t. People of color probably understand whiteness better than most whites do b/c we just accept it and we don’t connect the benefits and privilage that come with it, as connected to it. We attribute those things to qualities outside race.

    I don’t want to be a man. I want to be a woman with a man’s rights.

  31. 31
    Radfem says:

    The “power norm”, is white supremacy, and no, most whites don’t want to talk about that, any more than we want to do any honest analysis. And it’s not named b/c that would be just too uncomfortable to think about, because after all, we push the idea of an equalitarian society. Priviliage doesn’t exist, neither does institutionalized oppressions; everything is earned through “merit” and that’s how everything and everyone gets set up.

    I think defining what is white, in terms of the different ethnicities among whites can be a learning experience, but all of them have in common, privilege. Although they faced generational oppression upon immigrating(i.e. Irish, Italian), they were able to assimilate and still hold onto traditions without being treated like they were trying to invade or consquer this country(unfortunately, a big belief system against Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans in the Southwest and probably elsewhere with other Latino populations). Jewish populations still face prejudice and antisemitism. I grew up in a neighborhood mostly populated by Orthodox Jewish people and there was a lot of antisemitism in the neighborhood. There were violent hate crimes as well, including a child-care center.

    The hostility towards Mexicans in California has been long-standing, multi-generational and in these parts, violent(i.e. Minutemen militias). Lots of laws pushed to discriminate against them, as their population base increases.