Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm white & nerdy

Is it any coincidence that in a week peppered with race relations rhetoric, the boy comes home from school singing the chorus to Weird Al's I'm White and Nerdy. Well he is and I am, heck our whole family's white and nerdy. What's wrong with that? On the surface, nothing, but if we let the labels limit us and get us stuck then I think the possibility of problems are endless. So this week as I've viewed Jeremiah Wright's most controversial comments, I haven't felt offended, I've felt convicted. As I listened to Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech, I felt my support for him solidify.

Clearly I also claim the labels of liberal, anti-racist and activist, but I'm finding there's a problem with those labels as well. Here's the crux of it, if I am so liberal and anti-racist and feel strongly about pursuing social justice, how come I can only count on one hand my peer to peer interaction with non-white people in any given week. I heard Robert Jensen, author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, talking about race on NPR and something he said really struck me.
"We are the most affluent country in the history of the world, we're the most powerful country in the history of the world, if we wanted to erase racialized gaps in wealth and well-being that exist, we could do it, but we simply choose not to. I think it's fair to call the United States a white supremacist society."

Did part of my cultural upbringing contain subliminal racism training? What choices have I made and continue to make that shore up white supremacy instead of bridging the racial gap? Like Weird Al's parody, am I desperate for meaningful interaction with non-whites, but fail because I'm surrounded by my white stuff? What racial stereotypes am I still buying into?

"At 11am on Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults." - Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

White & Nerdy by Weird Al" Yankovic

Ridin' by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone

1 comment:

Dr.John said...

I am a conservative. But I still liked what Obama had to say about coming together. I did not find his pastor's remarks offensive though I guess I'm sup[posed to. Hee stated the way things were as he looked at them. Obama offered us a possible way to change.
I hate labels.