Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Declare Today a "Be White for a Day" Holiday

Speed is freedom.

Do you ever just want to "be?" To not have to worry about being a responsible citizen? Not worrying about race and justice? Being able to free oneself of their Blue's sensibility and the unique relationship black folk have to patriotism and the American project? Or not having to think about your racial identity and personhood and how it may or may not relate to your politics--be they personal, micro, or macro?

To make real these ends, I once a month declare myself a White person. I walk about Chicago not thinking about race. I go to a romantic comedy. I eat at Chipotle. I then go feed the seagulls at Navy Pier while eating some candy from Fox and Obel and reading a few comic books.

I don't do this to turn the logic of the one drop, hypo-descent rule on its ear in a moment of lived post modernism. Nor is this day a commentary on George Schuyler's Black No More. No, I take this holiday for my own peace of mind and mental health (as experts in psychology and public health know, racism is indeed a killer).

Sure, I could be writing about how a history teacher asked her students to dress up like KKK members and reenact a lynching. Alternatively, I could muse about the militarization of police departments, "killology," and how these two variables are directly connected to the tragic shooting death of Aiyana Jones. Maybe I could comment on Rand Paul and the White soul? Hell, if I were feeling really bold, I would fire a broad side about the newly released data about the seemingly never to be closed black/white wealth gap.

Not today. On Wednesday, May 26, 2010 I am taking a "Be White for a Day" holiday. Because the ultimate power of white privilege is the ability to determine when and how one will be uncomfortable, Whiteness is also the freedom to be blissfully ignorant, as well as to benefit from the "natural" order of things without having to take any responsibility for injustice. Such a grand and relaxing state of being, one that as a mere respectable negro I can't possibly imagine...but for one day a month I am free to drink from those ambrosia laced springs.

Utter joy.

Perhaps this holiday (now celebrated by only one person) will spread across the blogosphere (and yes, white people can also participate in this White holiday). Who knows? Maybe the Be White for a Day Holiday will gain national recognition. In post-racial America maybe our children, especially those black and brown kids who know not of a world where Obama is not President, will one day know the privilege and joy of being White for a day.

A brother can dream can't he? So tell me friends, how will you spend your Be White for a Day holiday? Have you ever dreamed of something so wondrous?


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I've been sitting here five minutes trying to think of what it would be like for me, and I'm drawing blanks.

All I can think of is the best thing about this holiday would be, if the bigoted whites were color blind that day, is that non-whites could get 24 hours of relief from their fear, suspicion, exploitation, and/or hate.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

You are so practical. You need to indulge yourself!


macon d said...

Well hey cd, that's . . . mighty white of you!


I hope it was a good day.

Cobb said...

i used to dream militant
dreams of taking
over america to show
these white folks how it should be
i used to dream radical dreams
of blowing everyone away with my perceptive powers
of correct analysis
i even used to think i'd be the one
to stop the riot and negotiate the peace
then i awoke and dug
that if i dreamed natural
dreams of being a natural
woman doing what a woman
does when she's natural
i would have a revolution

I guess it's time I read Schuyler. People have been telling me for years...

RiPPa said...

I've been contemplating doing something like this. Actually, and to be quite honest, I had/have plans of becoming a Black Republican for a week.

Yes an experiment for a week - just a week; no more, no less. I just wanted to take some time and live inside the mind of Black Republican.

Beyond that, I've even thought of blogging for an entire week as a Black Republican. I mean the being white for a day thing sounds great. But I'm afraid that should I venture into such an undertaking, I might like it enough to not ever want to come back.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

^ Rippa, That's funny.

@ Chauncey, I can't. I really LOVE the range of complexions and hairtypes of African Americans, and the bodies we have... OMG. Our music, rhythm, humor, ability to have fun, our nuturing, easy to forgive and move on temperaments, generosity, I think most of us are just fabulous. And yeah, we have our scrubs, so do all races.

I don't want to be white. I just don't want to be hated or cheated by them because I'm not.

Anonymous said...

I propose May 27th to be National "Just Get Over It" day!

We'll kick this celebration off with a tour of our nation's finest trailer parks. (to remind black people that white folks struggle too)

Then it's off to the local cinema where my fellow Caucasians and I will be screening Election Night 2008 coverage. (yes I'm serious)

At the conclusion of the archival news footage, you will remain seated for a lecture entitled: "The History of America vs. The Idea of America." We will discuss the failures of every single generation of Americans starting with the founding fathers. We will decide once and for all if the Bill of Rights and Constitution is null and void just because the guys who wrote it couldn't personally abide by it's revolutionary ideals.

For the grand finale, we (white America) will allow you (the respectable negroes) to vote which president's face should be blasted off the face of Mt. Rushmore. But you only get one.

Then on May 28th, it's back to usual. Back to my old ways of beating young, disadvantaged black children upside the head with my high school diploma. (because I'm "the man") I'll return to my $10.00 an hour symbol-of-my-white-privilege job. I'll pretend to care when I hear someone bitch about how hard it is living in the 'hood even though rent is almost the same in the 'burbs. The philosophies and ideas from the past will continue to be a hindrance to the future. You know.... business as usual.....

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

@Anonymous. I like that holiday, especially the part about blasting Mt. Rushmore. But seriously, notice the difference between white and "White." It is a huge one. You were in the former category but you started with "get over it" and rapidly veered off course to the latter.

This isn't about white people it is about Whiteness. There are some great sites on this difference starting with Macon D's Stuff White People Do (he is on our blogroll).

Sadly though, this is what kills the hope for cross racial alliances based on common class interests. As a ten dollar an hour wage slave you shouldn't get over it either, and the document modeled by the framers didn't include you. So how about working with your fellow brothers and sisters in the 'hood and elsewhere who are stuck in crappy jobs to make a change in our common interest?

That is how change comes about. Resist your Whiteness brother/sister and come into your full humanity.


Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean by 'W'hite and 'w'hite. There's a huge difference between the two groups.

I suspect that this 'Macon D' guy is White with a big ass capital dubya. That's why the the blog is so dead on- he's writing about himself.

He's so self conscious and self aware... can you imagine what it would be like hanging out with this guy? He would nervously laugh way too hard at your jokes, he'd say sorry every 5 seconds for no reason.

Try having a conversation with him and he'd constantly do that White person thing where he looks you in the eye, tilts his head like a puppy dog, and nods oh-so-thoughtfully.

He's probably one of those guys, that if asked him if he liked hip-hop music, you'd immediately sense that his asshole is clenching up trying to think of an artist to name that would impress you.

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

Oh dear. If I woke up white tomorrow, I would immediately jump off the Golden Gate bridge. Any other color/etnhnicity, really. I would not trade being Black In America™ for all the tea in India.