Friday, April 04, 2008

race in your face

I just finished reading a Seattle Times article about how a "Colorblind" generation struggles with race, in response to the recent speech given by Obama about race.

It was a fairly tame article overall, but what struck me was a quote by a 30 year-old white woman named Amy Olsen who said, "I'm all for programs that help people who've been disadvantaged. But race doesn't make you disadvantaged. Poverty makes you disadvantaged." She also talked about going to college and how suddenly she felt left out, "...all of sudden, I felt like a really boring white person. I didn't have anything cool about me, I was just plain Jane."

I'm sure it was difficult for her to go from being part of the dominant culture where she felt comfortable that everyone she interacted with would be racially/socially similar to her (she's from Kirkland), but for her to say that being disadvantaged is an economic issue only, is pretty naive.

I grew up thinking I was white and it was a big shock to me when I started to realize in middle school that people could tell I wasn't entirely white. I mean, I knew I was part Native American, but the physical image I had of myself in my head didn't match my actual physical self. I've never experienced any overt racism, but I would definitely say that there is intense pressure to live up to a Euro-American physical ideal that is everywhere in the media. It has affected me, and a lot of my non-white friends. Why is being "all-American" only identified with being white?

To Amy Olson, I have one thing to say, "Amy, you might be a boring white person, but there are a lot of advantages that come with being a boring white person. Own it."

1 comment:

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Or shut the fuck up, Jesus H. Christ! What I like is that she took race and related it to poverty in a really white way. *sputters* And Kirkland? Don't make me laugh.