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Whiteness

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Whiteness

When discussing the issue of race, everyone has a differing opinion on the subject of racism. Some people have accepted people of other backgrounds and ethnicities into their own lifestyle and others have simply held grudges from past grievances that may or may not be justified depending on whose opinion is being viewed. Racism can be held on both accounts as a group of African Americans can be as racist to a white kid as a group of Irish-Americans can be to a black kid. Ignatiev’s article deals primarily with the latter and the club that he believes whites are born into which gives them privileges simply for having a more fair complexion. Everyone should compromise their own opinion on race and should promote integration among the races and experience the culture that another race has to offer. Whiteness is a club, but to dispute with Ignatiev, it is also a culture that is not based on skin color or social position.

Whiteness is a club and certain people are enrolled into it at birth and given certain advantages and privileges that they may never even realize that they have been given throughout their lifetime (Ignatiev 4). Whiteness is a club that Ignatiev says is based on one mere common trait. “All white people must defer prejudices to others and that all people who look white are, and all those people must be loyal to that commonality” (Ignatiev 4). This statement is shallow minded in that it categorizes a group of white people, presumably middle to upper class, into a group that does not want to fall below its given status. Ignatiev fails to mention that people of other races can get into this “white club” and become a full fledged member and of course these members would not solely advocate being white. The “white club” that Ignatiev is describing is the luxury of being born into a life in which certain benefits are given to a person based on his or her predecessors. This is not solely based on skin color as Ignatiev would have you believe. The life that Ignatiev is describing is what he should be calling white culture.

Culture is defined as the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. “White culture”, as Ignatiev describes but apparently refuses to believe in, seems to be his biggest complaint. Ignatiev states “Whiteness is not a culture…. Whiteness has nothing to do with culture but everything to do with social position” (Ignatiev 1). He seems to have a problem with white people being given benefits for the mere fact of appearing to be white. Ignatiev fails to mention the fact that anyone from any race can be born into a culture that gives them higher position. Social Status does not equate to being white. Ignatiev states that “so-called whites should cease to exist and commit suicide to realize themselves as something else” (Ignatiev 2). He is referring to people taking down their given social status and becoming equal with all those who were not given the social status at birth. This is illogical as people live their lives to pass on their own wealth and riches to their loved ones as they want them to be able to do well in their own life. A person’s authenticity is defined partially through their background and through their heritage as authenticity is displaying the most true form of oneself. If a white person were to completely deny their roots and accept that of other cultures, then I believe the white person would be denying his/her own culture and thus his/her own authenticity.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion when concerning race, but Ignatiev does bring about a good argument that as a white culture, we should not use our

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