Is there an annual award out there for "white people at their whitest"? For those moments when white people perform and exemplify common white tendencies especially well?
If there were such an award, would it be offensive to call it a Honky? (Probably not, since white people usually brush off and laugh at anti-white slurs.)
Who do you remember from the past year who deserves such an award, for somehow acting especially white?
I often think at such times of the artist and philosopher Adrian Piper. Her works include the following, a simple card that constitutes a work of art, entitled "Calling Card." In addition to displaying this work in art galleries and museums, Piper, who identifies as black but is sometimes mistaken for white, has also passed it out during social events. This card almost seems like an award of sorts--a "white award."
So who else deserved a "calling card" this year, a Honky Trophy, as it were?
Joe Biden was caught enacting more than one common white tendency, back when he complimented Barack Obama for being "articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." So was William Bennett when he claimed, like many other oblivious pundits and more ordinary white folks, that because Obama won, racism is over. I acted especially white when I failed to take action more quickly against the racist death penalty. Some friends of mine acted in a common white way when they associated non-white people with pollution.
Who do you remember in an especially white moment? It could be someone famous, or it could be someone you know or encountered in your daily life. The white tendency they enacted could have taken one of many forms.
Maybe it was a co-worker who reached out to a black colleague and started playing with her hair.
Maybe it was a teacher who paid better attention to the white kids than the non-white kids.
Maybe it was a family member who complimented a black person for being "articulate," instead of listening to what he or she had to say.
Maybe it was a classmate asking another, Asian American classmate where she's from (and then asking where she's really from).
Maybe it was one of your parents, claiming that interracial marriages prove that racism has been solved.
Maybe it was your white friend, using "ghetto" as an adjective again.
Maybe it was a white person you overheard mentioning the race of a non-white person for no good reason at all.
Maybe it was your neighbor, complaining about the supposedly racist things that Obama's wife and pastor supposedly said, but not about the actually racist things that John McCain and other Republicans actually said.
Maybe it was your boss, forgetting or mixing up the names of non-white people that you work or do business with.
Maybe it was you, holding your tongue instead of calling out someone on another racist joke.
If someone's recent "white" behavior comes to mind, please memorialize it in a comment here.
Although white supremacy and the racism it inspires are nowhere near "over," identifying and describing their virtually innumerable manifestations in such moments is one step toward their eradication. And also, if you yourself are white, towards being resolved, as another New Year arrives, to do such things less often.