Attempting to see beyond the white curtain


My objective in writing this paper was to come to an understanding of where my place is in the discussion of race, the reason being that I have a great passion for the subject.  While brainstorming I was hesitant to carry on with this idea because of the controversy of the topic.  Yet I concluded that my best writing would be produced from a topic I was most passionate about.  Along the way I got lost in finding the larger idea for there are so many areas to explore within the topic of race.  In the end I came to a conclusion about what I wanted my message to be.  I am proud that I carried through with my primary idea instead of backing down in fear of the controversy that the topic may hold. As I continue to write I would like to analyze sources to a greater extent.

Final Draft

Ever since I was a child my mom would exclaim over how delicate and fair my skin is.  Not until I grew older did I comprehend what being white truly meant. Those who are born with white skin are gifted with privilege.  Because of this some of us live in a world of ignorant bliss, a “white bubble”.  In the Jose Antonio Vargas documentary White People these statistics are mentioned in relation to the “white bubble”, “the typical white American lives in a town that is more than ¾ white (77%, as described in the documentary) and the average white person’s group of friends is more than ninety percent white (91% to be exact). “White bubble” or not, as a race we have not been forced to come to grips with how the color of our skin impacts us as people of color have.  Yet when discussing race, it is unavoidable and people get uncomfortable very quickly.  As a fellow white person, I am very passionate about the issue of race and though I have never experienced racism and do not have the ability to do so, race is something that deeply impacts me. When attempting to discuss race I myself feel a pressure as if I will cross a boundary and violate everyone in the conversation.  These feelings of discomfort raise the question of what it is that gives our race such discomfort on the topic. One man in A Conversation With White People on Race, a video By Blair Foster and Michele Stephenson provided courtesy of The New York Times, touched on a plausible answer, “I think in part it comes from a sense of shame and guilt about what racism has done and kind of how racism was built by white people.”

In the book Learning to be White: Money, Race, and God in America educator Henry Giroux is quoted stating this, Race increasingly matters as a defining principle of identity and culture as much for white students in the 1990's as for youth of color in the 1970's and 1980's. Race significantly frames how white youth experience themselves and their relationships to a variety of public spaces marked by the presence of people of color.Though this book was published in 1999, this quote is still relevant today. This statement is not an invitation to praise white people as a race, but to raise awareness in their minds as to how being white effects themselves as well as others in a public setting.  Some white people would like to describe themselves as “color blind”.  According to the documentary White People “¾ young, white Americans say that society would be better off if we never acknowledged race.” While some white Americans think this is a solution to racism, they are further burying their heads in the sand. Though it is nice to entertain the idea that everyone is equal in a society, the truth is we aren’t. There is racial profiling that occurs every day and white civilians reap the benefits because of their skin color regardless of their opinion on the matter.  Pretending that there is no issue will not bring us closer to solving the problem of racism at hand.

In A Conversation With White People on Race one white woman reflects that “I really did not know that I had a racial identity. I knew I was white. I had no idea what that meant, how that had shaped my outlook on life, how that had shaped my sense of optimism, sense of belonging, sense of safety, sense of feeling entitled to go help children that I thought were part of a community that couldn’t figure out how to help themselves.”  As white people in the 21st century it is imperative that we realize that each of us has a racial identity. Considering racial identity, as well as the “white bubble” and “color blindness” the white community seems to be invited into the conversation of race.  However these are conclusion which are coming from a white female in today's society based off of her own research, so take this as you will.  There is still much gray area to be covered.