circa 1900 or so
This blog has reached the 100-post mark, and it's great to see that the anti-racism effort I started here three months ago is steadily gaining a wider audience (the page-view counter at the bottom should reach 50,000 today). The readership here is clearly diverse, and in ways beyond race, as evinced by the lively Comments sections.
And as the sampling below from other blogs indicates, the word about "stuff white people do" is spreading--in a good way.
All of which makes me want to pause for a moment of celebration. In fact, it makes me . . . want to . . . dance! (Stop me when I'm starting to sound too much like Ellen.)
For instructions on how to dance along, see the video at the bottom of this post.
Regular programming of the serious sort will resume momentarily. . .
Changeseeker @ Why Am I Not Surprised:
[L]ast night, thanks to a comment by Professor Zero, I discovered a new blog called Stuff White People Do. The author is smart, right on the target, introspective and clever. He reads all the same books as I do, watches all the same movies, and shares many of the same opinions. And he's written almost as much in the past ninety days as I wrote all last year.
I was tired when I reached SWPD last night and after about an hour on the site, I decided that I'm no longer necessary to the blogosphere, after all . . . Then, I remembered what I had learned the night before (see this post), so I shook off the feeling and just celebrated the blog. . . . if you haven't read Macon D. over at Stuff White People Do yet, then let me send you on over there post haste.
Just recognize that you're probably gonna be there for a while.
- Kelsey Atherton @ Plastic Manzikert:
- Stuff White People Do: This is fantastic, and part of that is how the blog is still struggling to understand what it is about. I've written about the blog before, and rather recently. I've been reading it for much longer, when I saw it buried in a comment thread at Stuff White People Like. The blog then was rough, and a little glib. Now it's matured into something that is still rough, but does an excellent job of showcasing the uncomfortable discussions of race and privilege. The unspoken last part of the title is "Stuff White People Do (with privilege that enables them to ignore race and to affirm white identity while paying lip service to racial equality)". That's a lot of subtext, and the blog bears it in a properly uncomfortable way. And it does that in a really good way. It's hard to recommend something that sounds so unpleasant, but the experience is worth it, and it isn't as bad as it first seems. It's the learning kind of uncomfortable, not the terror kind.
Shaina Monfils @ The Feminist Writer:
Learning about race and sociology at the University completely changed how I view the world. Obviously, I still participate in the benefits of white privilege, because all white people get those whether they want them or not (which, by the way, is an important thing for all whites to recognize, lest we run around with the attitude of "I'm not racist, so therefore solving racism is about changing those other racist people"). But the thing that really gets under my skin is when people assume that racism is a dormant problem that is either already solved, or an issue that we can't do anything to change. The blog Stuff White People Do looks at the effects of white privilege from the point of view of a white dude named Macon D, in order to help people understand the ways in which they're participating in the continuation of racism. . . .
I also found it interesting that Macon D states that his goal in producing the blog is to write explicitly about whiteness. He says that
I’ve noticed, for instance, that when I ask white individuals to talk about whiteness, about what their being white means for them, they usually have very little to say, and they eventually end up talking about non-white people instead. White Americans are usually unaccustomed to talking directly about their own whiteness, and when asked to do so, they often shift to discussing it in relation to other races, and then end up talking almost exclusively about those other people instead. ("sit quietly in movie theaters - part two")Personally, I think the reason that the reason white scholars try to stay away from examinations of whiteness is because they don't want to appear to be reducing the discussion to a white viewpoint. As in, "even though minorities have endured centuries of enslavement and abuse, racism is really all about white people in the end." But if white people are racist, and especially if they are unknowingly so, doesn't the solution to the problem lie in getting them to recognize their behavior as racist, and then encouraging them to change it? It seems to me that instead of white people "learning" to "accept" minorities, racism should be dealt with by demonstrating to whites that they are the ones that are flawed, because they buy into the idea that minorities are "different" in the first place.
Blogs such as Stuff White People Do are so instrumental in drawing attention to the blatant privilege present in our society today. It's good to see that readers are getting all riled up in the Comments section of the posts, because it gives me hope that perhaps there are still some individuals out there who are engaged in an ongoing discussion about racism and classism, and are committed to making a change.
Thank you, Changeseeker, Shaina, and Kelsey, and thanks also to others who have mentioned this blog on theirs.
As I said above, all of this is cause for a pause, a celebratory pause. And as regular SWPD readers know, I think white people should dance more often--so here we go.
And for my totally serious readers, there is a lesson here, especially for white parents: "Get them started young!"
To a Child Dancing in the Wind
DANCE there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind?
Has no one said those daring
Kind eyes should be more learn’d?
Or warned you how despairing
The moths are when they are burned,
I could have warned you, but you are young,
So we speak a different tongue.
O you will take whatever’s offered
And dream that all the world’s a friend,
Suffer as your mother suffered,
Be as broken in the end.
But I am old and you are young,
And I speak a barbarous tongue.
William Butler Yeats (Responsibilities and Other Poems, 1916)