The Identity Politics Two-Step

White supremacy is for losers. 

Let’s say you have a lot going for you. I mean this in the broadest sense possible. You could have a great job and stellar education. Or you have a wonderful family and some truly great friends. Or maybe you’re just a valued member of your community, however you define community. You’re funny. Or a great athlete. Or the best poker player, skateboarder, dancer, golfer, painter, writer, cook, mom, dad, or dog breeder, in your slice of the world. In other words, you have things—accomplishments, abilities, hobbies, whatever—in your column to be rightly proud of or that simply give you real satisfaction or joy. 

If any of these things or a combination of them applies to you to any meaningful extent, you don’t need to brag about being white. After all, you didn’t do anything to be white. White isn’t an accomplishment, it’s an adjective and a problematic adjective at that. 

It’s problematic in part because to be frank, “white culture” really isn’t a thing—or much of one. German American culture? Sure. Irish American or Italian American culture? Absolutely. But even here, there’s a lot of diversity (Italian Americans in New Orleans are going to be a bit different than Italian Americans in Philadelphia or Los Angeles).  But what most people mean by “white” culture—both its defenders and its detractors—is either a kind of Hollywood or Madison Avenue composite or just some kind of subculture. The “white culture” of, say, Mississippi is just very different from the “white culture” of Vermont. It’s a bit like talking about Bulgarians and Spaniards as “Europeans.” The description captures something, but not very much. And “European” is a lot more meaningful as a concept than “white.”

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