There is an image of whiteness here but you can’t see it because it just fades into the background.
White, adj. 2. belonging to or denoting a human group having light-colored skin (chiefly used of peoples of European extraction).
Synonyms: colorless, unpigmented, bleached, natural
“Do white people have the advantage of being race- less?” Someone typed this question into a search engine and landed on my blog. I often review the search queries that brought persons to my work so be careful what you type (Insert evil laugh here.). I’m only kidding. I am just interested in how persons happened upon my writings.
But, to the question for the anonymous searcher who represents so many more, there are benefits to being race-less and we all can take advantage of them. If we accept race, we can also reject it. We have a choice. However, I suspect that their question speaks to my title.
Often persons refer to themselves or others as “people of color.” It gets on my nerve and it sounds so weird, so non- human. It suggests that beige, black, brown, red and yellow are colors but that white is not. Since when? When did it receive this exemption and why wasn’t I made aware?
White is a color just like all the others. I don’t know where or how it came to mean “clear” or “invisible” but white is white. There are white beards, white shirts and pretty white napkins. It can be seen just like the ghosts that dawn white sheets. And though there are no physically colored white people (just as there are no physically colored beige/ black/ brown/red/ yellow people), if we are going to live according to a color wheel, then every one gets to take a spin and live according to race’s dizzying identity that leaves us all unstable.
White is a color too and while there is much focus on the privileges of whiteness, there is also a powerlessness because they, too, don’t get to choose to be white, to not be viewed as the oppressor, the “Man” or the “Woman,” the source of evil and the reason for all the injustices of the world. What if they don’t want to be white? Would we even give them the option to not be identified by the social coloring of their skin?
What if they didn’t want to be prejudged or stereotyped? Or, is this only possible for people of color? They are not all born with a silver spoon in their mouths (This would be another example of stereotyping.) but with a list of things to apologize for, to make up for, to explain, to fix because it’s all their fault and only their problem, right? Wrong.
Because they are white, it is assumed that they are pure, righteous, perfect, untouchable. Wrong again. All of us are touched by sin and likewise by race. There is no exemption there whether you identify as white or a person of color.
Race gives us all a color and thereby shades our understanding of ourselves and each other. The only solution is to deny race the right, the role to define us and to redefine us as people of the Creator and not people of color because white should only be a color.