Are only white ethnic Europeans
Can whites form an ethnic community?
Why we concern ourselves with being white ...
If you're white, have you ever thought about being white? Because it is considered “normal” to be white in our society, whites often do not perceive their “being white”. In contrast, those who are “not-white” stand out. We are blind to the color white, but black is conspicuous. Because of this “color blindness”, the privileges associated with white skin are almost never the subject of an argument. How is it that we know the word “Black Africans” but not “White Africans” or “White Europeans”?
We have many ideas about where to expect white people, e.g. B. in boardrooms and where we meet black people, z. B. as a maid, musician or plantation worker. What skin color do I imagine characters in a novel? Am I surprised to be sitting across from a white boss for an interview? Does the other person on the phone have a skin color? Will my competence be questioned because of the color of my skin?
The colonies in the mind
“The black” is a public figure for whites. Everyone knows what black people are and what makes them special. White people have pictures in their heads for this. Even if these associations do not apply to the individual identified as black, this is how he is seen and treated. When blacks and whites meet, some become observers, others observed. This includes feeling shadowed and playing yourself as a judge. This removes the immunity of the masses for blacks. For whites, “the black” is characterized by special properties: he is considered dangerous and needs help in certain situations; he is marginalized and has a special body. He is considered “special” without telling anything special himself. He meets bias. He bears marks that he must account for as a Featured when moving in public. The colonial associations linked to skin color put pressure on both sides in what they expect from each other: you are the one who is seen in this way - you are the one who observes this way. The black sees himself being watched as a black; the white man feels compelled to pretend that the other person is “completely normal” or that he is helpful and so on. Typing creates bias in direct contact. The associations not only highlight blacks, but also negate their individuality. They bring an imaginary group affiliation to the fore. Anyone who is publicly identified and observed as a representative of the group of “blacks” may be addressed “foreign”, asked typical questions (since when have you been here?); cared for; eyed suspiciously; avoided. The special thing about running the gauntlet emerges when the person addressed is born here and possibly even German. The usual contact behavior is then immediately embarrassing: for example, addressing in foreign and answering in the Swabian dialect (cf. Scheffer 1997).
The role distribution that has been learned and assumed to be normal has consequences for those who do not belong to the white majority as well as for those who “belong to it”. If not belonging means being stared at and discriminated against, then belonging is associated with the relative privilege of not being stared at or discriminated against. In order to change this imbalance, whites must be ready to perceive their everyday involvement in an often contradicting web of privilege and subordination with the aim of change. The question is whether we perceive that relations between whites and blacks are characterized by power.
“Black is beautiful”, postulated the American Black Panther Movement. The activists self-confidently asserted their own dignity against the disrespect of whites with self-attributions such as “blacks” or “colored people”. In addition to its meaning as a self-definition for Black Germans, the word Afro-German is also an objection to the assumed self-evident way with which Germany continues to present itself as a white nation. Black movements speak of “blackness” as a political reality that not only means skin color, but also the social status that blacks have compared to whites. These and other black movements call for racism to be analyzed under the title “Whiteness” not only as a mechanism of oppression, but also as a privilege mechanism and to perceive and change the effects of the suppressed colonial history.
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