The Smithsonian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) wanted to foster a discussion of race, equality and inclusion. So, they published a chart to summarize the “Aspects and Assumptions” of Whiteness & White Culture. The chart detailed ways in which “white people and their traditions, attitudes and ways of life have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practice in the U.S.” The premise of the NMAAHC is that the “white culture” is dominant in this country and this dominance forces other cultures \values to be seen as inferior. Hence, the root of “white privilege”. I didn’t know there was a “white culture”, so let’s explore a sample of it together.
Rugged Individualism: “Self-reliance and independence and autonomy highly valued”. I was brought up on the notion that when you become an adult, you should be able to take care of yourself. Do non-white people believe being self-reliance is a bad thing? I know plenty of non-white people who are self-sufficient and independent and I don’t think they are a rarity. Maybe this is more of an “American value”, rather than solely a white attitude.
Family Structure: “The nuclear family of father, mother and children is ideal”. Being a single parent is difficult. The born out of wedlock rates are >70% for blacks, so is the NMAAHC wanting us to believe that it isn’t a problem? Of course it is a problem. Every study shows that a child’s chances for a successful and happy life are higher with both a father and mother in the home. It is not a guarantee, but it’s simple common sense. Of course children of single parents can live productive and happy lives, but which scenario gives you a better chance? You know the answer and the NMAAHC is doing a disservice to people of all races for sweeping the issue under the rug.
Protestant Work Ethic: “Hard work is the key to success and if you didn’t succeed, you didn’t work hard enough”. Has someone ever told you, Life is Hard? Guess what, it is! Hard work and cultivating your natural talents will lead to success 99% of the time, even if you aren’t Protestant! Don’t blame the “system” and don’t view yourself as a victim. Corporate America is so “woke”, that they are bending over backwards to help minorities succeed. How about being self-reliant and create your own good luck? I bet it will work.
Status, Power and Authority: “Respect Authority” This is a “white culture” tradition? Respect your parents, teachers and the police? Shame on you and your white privilege for perpetuating this tradition! Wait, many of the rioters were white and weren’t showing any respect for authority, so it sounds like this one isn’t really part of the white culture. The NMAAHC should be happy about that.
Future Orientation: “Plan for the future and delay gratification”. Sounds like good advice to me that has no association with a skin color.
Justice: “Based on English Common Law and intent counts”. Historically and legally that’s true, but I can’t figure out how this is a “white culture”.
Communication: “The King’s English rules”. Is it too much to ask to have a common language and common grammar for the U.S.? Doesn’t a common language assist in melting the pot? Is the NMAAHC suggesting that we should have different languages and minorities shouldn’t learn proper English? This will help minorities to succeed, how exactly? This will help race relations, how exactly?
I’m sure you are pleased with your tax dollars at work. Apparently this didn’t get the discussion it was looking for, and the chart was removed from the website, but there is plenty of talk about White Fragility, so there’s always that to read up on.
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