If you have about 500 bucks, a few days off this spring, and live in Washington DC, New York City, or Oakland, then you can participate in Everyday Feminism’s training, titled, “Healing from Internalized Whiteness.” According to its website, this training will help you, “stop arguing with white people about racism and discover how to invite them into racial justice work for their own healing and liberation.”
The natural conservative reaction to this kind of thing is to roll their eyes and mock it. Maybe it should be mocked, but it must also be engaged with — not so much so that conservatives can defend their own ideas, but so they can interrogate progressive ideas, asking questions that progressives won’t ask themselves.
So what does “healing internalized whiteness” mean? According to the website, internalized whiteness is “…the trauma of people of European descent being turned into white people by white supremacy – and then being taught that whiteness is good, but it doesn’t exist.” There’s a lot of unpack here.
The concept of being turned into white people stems from a theory that whiteness, or being white, was a concept invented as recently as 400 or 500 years ago, and that it was invented by those in power to maintain their power. If the rich white Brits told the poor white Irish they were better than blacks, then the two fair-skinned groups would work in concert to oppress blacks. This did in fact happen.
However, in classic postmodernist Marxist fashion, this definition of whiteness reduces the entire concept to a capitalist, patriarchal power struggle. It essentially ignores the myriad cultural influences on what being white means contributed by art, books, philosophy, religion, pseudoscience, actual science, and a thousand other elements of daily life. Some invisible hand of white supremacy, apparently, has guided these other elements.
Read the rest at: Whiteness