There Is No Such Thing as White People

Typically when we speak of American nationalities represented in America, there is a breakdown that goes something like this: White, African American, Hispanic, Asian, etc…

The only problem is that “White” is not a nationality; it is a color.

What I’ve been learning is the term “white” is a historically nuanced term. When America was beginning to boom, a big part of that boom was the availability of a strong labor force. That impressive labor force was unfortunately comprised of slaves ruthlessly imported from other counties. The importers were, of course, people who immigrated here from Europe. At some point, the people in power had to come up with a way of differentiating themselves from all the African slaves (who were considered to be second-class humans) that were coming and reproducing in their land. The result was the conglomeration of the European nationalities into a single vague term called “White”. 

White, as I said earlier, is not a nationality, but a color. And it is not a real thing; it’s a social construct that has had immense implications for living in the United States.

While a lot of things have been done to reverse extreme racism e.g. stop the lynching, let African Americans vote, etc.. one of the most important ones that have remained today, occurring ever so subtly yet very powerfully is the reality of white privilege. It is the reality that “white” people have a privileged living over those who aren’t “white”. As a result, people who are in the United States today who fall into the same qualifications as those when they coined the term, undoubtedly get the upper hand living in the United States.

It’s a strange phenomenon isn’t it?

Germans, French, English, Italians, Polish, Australians, Kiwi’s, and any other nation with fair-skinned, imperial blood in them, when they immigrate here to America today in the 21st century, automatically get a leg up living in America versus those that don’t. The social mold that formed back in the day still exists today, and people who immigrate here will fit perfectly in it.

This diagram demonstrates perfectly what I’m talking about:

 

It is true that we are a nation of immigrants, but the rules are different for each immigrant. It’s quite strange to me that people with pink skin immigrating today will have a leg up over people who have been here for generations yet don’t have pink skin. It’s quite strange to me when people of pink skin lament about the persecution their fathers and mothers faced when coming here when any such persecution for them trickles off in light of the new social rules in America while those who don’t have fair skin still receive unfair treatment.

And it’s even stranger to me (hence why I am writing this) that the reality of the present-day unfairness is under looked by “white” Americans who (sometimes not their fault) live under the illusion that racism is not real and affecting the lives of their friends around them.

If you’re reading this and you’re “white”, please be mindful while you may not be racist, the systems of this nation are still bent towards favoring your people and disenfranchising others.

I can only speak on my experience of being Chinese-American, but I don’t know if you know the feeling of being treated like a second-class citizen. I don’t know if you know the feeling of recognizing that you’re primary language is an inferior language (like omg, you don’t speak English?). I don’t know if you know the feeling of worrying about being pulled over by the police, or being followed around in the store, or wondering if you’re homeless, of if you’re dangerous and will mug people, or being designated to certain neighborhoods, like my black friends experience.

I don’t know if you know what it’s like to walk into a restaurant and receive second-hand service. I don’t know if you know what it’s like to have your cultural foods identified as “ethnic” and American food as “normal”. I don’t know if you know what it’s like to have people look at you and wonder if you’re a terrorist. I don’t know if you know what it’s like to suppress your cultural heritage like many of my Asian friends do, because in order to succeed in this country, you have to conform to the people in power (read: pretend like you’re white). And I don’t know if you know what it’s like to be hushed or ridiculed when we celebrate an athlete, politician, or professional who actually succeeded (Jeremy Lin, Barack Obama) because we knew their chances were very slim for succeeding in a “white”-dominated society.

I don’t know and I don’t think you ever will have those experiences.

And so I don’t think there’s such thing as “white” people because I know there isn’t–it’s a social construct which allows for people of fair skin to have a sizable advantage in this country. And without a reversal of the construct of “white”, our country will never see the fairness we envision it should have.

I know I’m writing as a Chinese-American, but I am also writing as a Christian. And here’s my thought on that, just to conclude this article:

In the kingdom of heaven, we’re all equal, and that’s an amazing feeling. But I want to write to draw our attention to the fact that sometimes living in America, even amongst Christian brothers and sisters, it doesn’t feel like heaven, it feels like hell.

 

Posted by Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing in the Black Box for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

14 comments

  1. aretha

    wow great and insightful article phil, especially the truth about the system of inequality and racism that most assuredly still exists!

    aretha

  2. Dan Smith

    I meant to write about this when it posted and didn't. As someone who has traveled the world, I have felt the feelings of being second class, etc. It sucks. I'm afraid you're right in your assessment of our system. We should be different and I don't think we really are.

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  4. Lindsey Kinnsch Michael

    As a “white girl” myself, I just wanted to let you know the feelings you feel are felt by everybody.

    I do know what it’s like to get poor service in a restaurant, because the server was having a bad night or forgot about us.

    I do know the feeling of having fear of being pulled over by the police, because I couldn’t afford to get my car fixed to pass smog and get my registration.

    I do know what it’s like to get mistaken for not being homeless, but a prostitute, because I am attractive.

    I know what it’s like being treated like a 2nd class citizen, for being young.

    I know what it’s like feeling out of place in a neighborhood with everyone eying me becuse I’m white and they’re everything else.

    I do know what it’s like to have to be suspicious of everyone around me in case I get jumped, and to always have men staring me down like a piece of meat wherever I go because I’m shaped like Jessica Rabbit.

    But I also know what it’s like to get haters coming up against me because I post Bible verses on Facebook, or endure the judgmental comments by worldly folks about “myths” of my God when they don’t care who notices. And I also endure the retribution from fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, who think I’m dabbling with demons because I believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit and believe miracles are totally normal and happen every minute of the day.

    My point is, everybody on earth feels what your feeling, just for different reasons. We don’t need to make it about race, when it’s really about being human.

  5. Casey

    I have been considered a "WHITE" all my life.

    I suppose(and have always known) I am treated with more dignity than others in this fallible country of ours. I try not to abuse this invisible system of oppression, and try to live my life the best as I can, in as humble a manner as I may. I do not value another's RACE higher than any one else's.

    In my life thus far, I have tried to give everyone a fair shake. No one is bellow me at face value. Only after I have learned their Inner Beliefs, Moral Code, and negative Behaviors do I JUDGE.

    I have experienced the presence of many CULTURES of every RACE under the sun. All CULTURES have value and are just as vibrant, interesting and, important as any other. I do not change myself when around one type of RACE or another. I am proud to have friends of every skin color.

    This system we-(every RACE in America)- have created is reprehensible… It steals the very soul and essence of our individual HISTORY and CULTURE away… (Whether I experienced life in the same manner as my ancestors have or not- I still at my core represent my past generations through blood; as do you.)

    Who is to say RACE represents? Does this nugget of discernment aid you in any way? It is better to know a person than it is to know his category. Even if these terms still remain in the future, they should not personify a CULTURE or individual. These terms are no better than the HighSchool system of Type Casting… -(all just another way to negatively judge your fellow man -(before attempting to meet them as an individual)-.

    I'm disgusted with the world around me… The abundant beauty that exists(CULTURE, Nature, and Relationships-(of all kinds)-) is mired in the face of ignorance and hatred by the people who permeate with my view. All these false connotations regarding Race cause is more strife; a barrier to the inner SOUL of the person you counsel with.

    As A "WHITE" man I want my CULTURE back.
    As a Human, I hope WE of every Race, Creed, or Skin Color representing "The American CULTURE" can be friends one day.

    I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
    -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Signed your friendly,
    Irish American from Texas.

    Peace be with you, with a gun in your hand 😉

  6. Anna Ramos

    I am a white American woman from the Deep South. I am poor, working class, and have had the priviege of attending inner city, black schools as well as private white Christian school. I have discriminated against and judged others as well as been discriminated against and judged. In my world, most of us, as the "white class" often don't mean any harm or even realize we are being prejudiced or judgemental, since we hardly know any different. Most of us have black friends and coworkers whom we care for dearly and would never intentionally hurt. However, when we get hurt by someone who is black or of any other race, it is very easy to find something to separate them from us. It happens not just with race, but social standing, class or even religious denomination. We all tend to prefer those who are like us. Often with southerners, we find we have more in common with those of different skintone who are from the south than we do with Yankees! But don't let anyone around here hear us say that. There is more in fear of what we don't know in racism than actual hatred. I really appreciate hearing your side of the story. I honestly had no idea that Chinese Americans felt that way. Thank you for expressing how you feel.

  7. "One Sent"

    I’m in agreement that “white & black” are superficial terms used as an attempt to control economic power; better known as:”common wealth”. The very term (race) implies human ambition. As Christians, we are called out of this kind of society, and to establish God’s kingdom dominion throughout all the earth. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Amen)… As followers of Truth, we have to view life way beyond the flesh. But for simple application sake, culture- (especially in America) is definition of (choice), not ethnicity… One’s (ethic/ moral integrity) makeup who you really are!… The Truth of the whole matter is: God Almighty, and only God, holds the sovereign rights to define who one is, and or will become… And once God defines you, then by no means relinquish your divine validity to ‘any other power’. “By no means” meaning also that you, belonging to Christ Jesus, always stand on the side of (Truth), and not just merely in idle ‘indifference’. true Christians should live out their lives in a (completely) different fashion: ie: (form and function) than the world; ie: (nature of the beast)… (Not) ‘actively’ living out and by our *Christ-values before a diabolical world, is equal to being in agreement or friends with the world; (guilt by association). A life reborn in Christ Jesus means to reform from the old way of life, to establish while in it, a new and better *Way, and this Way includes reformation in our way of thinking, speaking, and being; to establish kingdom dominion; “higher ground”. *Selah. So I conclude with this charge to you my beloved in The Lord♥, all over the US and the world:
    “Come out of her My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”*[Revelations18:4,5]~”Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”*[Luke 12:31].

    *Shalom♥.

  8. Kaido Ojamaa

    True the Author is The so called “White” is Not a Race. This was created to marginalize peoples in England and America. What is Factual is that there are Multiable Races Of Fair Skinned Peoples.

    In America the labeling Fair Skinned People as “White”, has caused Marginalization and Discrimination.

    Haven’t we in America all herd, “If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them?
    Let’s all claim Minority Status. After all, is not Equality, meant for all and not for some? Please listen to my message and Learn from it. Here’s the ticket; Stop saying claiming your Race as “White or Caucasian”. The proper correct term for White people is;” Fair Skinned Races”. Meaning Multiable Fair Skinned Races. For instance, the Irish, Scots, Welsh Northern French are of the; “Celtic Race”. The Germans, English, Dutch, Danes, most Swedish, Norwegians are of the; “Germanic Race”. Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanians, Southern French, Greeks are of the; “Latin- Roman Race”. Estonians, Finns, Laplanders, Hungarians, Veps, Komi, Latvians, Lithuanians are of the;” Finno Ugric Turanian” Race. Russians, Polish,Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Serbians, Croatians, Slovenians, Sorbians , are of the; “Slavic Race”. Albanians are of the; “Illyrian Race”. The term White Race was artificially created in the 16th Century to marginalize. Knowledgeable genologists know this, about the Multiable Fair Skinned Races. Including the US State Department ( who I once worked for)
    By referring to Fair Skinned Race peoples as “White” that takes away from the Real Recognition and Diversity of who Fair Skinned Race peoples really are. The Soviet Union did similar; By referring to the peoples of the evil empire as; “One Soviet People ,One Soviet Man”. This enraged many. Also Caucasian Race only applies to the various peoples of the Caucasus Mountains; like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Chechnya etc. As a Government Whistle Blower, I did this and I proved it in a Court Of Law. The US Government strongly Opposed it because it can potentially unravel the ” Gravy Train “, and give a way for all peoples to have more equality in America.

  9. Cee

    I would just like to add in the genocide committed by the “white people” towards the Aboriginal peoples of North America. Also, another example of racism in the Church on this is how Asian-American Churches must self-identify, but white people’s Churches are “community Churches”–and yet, within their walls there may be distinct European cultures that flavour that congregation. lol, What if we made white Churches label their Churches like Asian-Americans have to? Would we call them “American White People Church”? lol

    1. Franken.Tuck

      What exactly forces churches to self-identify as being anything other than a church?

      They do so because they have a target audience. Korean Baptist Churches speak Korean and advertise that fact by putting that label on their sign out front. In a way, they purposefully seek to exclude anyone besides Koreans from attending their churches. Churches that do not list a nationality or affiliation of any kind, besides their denomination, are all inclusive.

  10. Debra J.

    The graph implies all Europeans alike “became white” or were treated as “white”. That’s false, the Poles, Italians, Germans, Irish, Spaniards, Russians etc. weren’t considered “white” at some point on US history. “White” is not a race but a socioeconomic ruler, a standard perpetuated by the propaganda machine & every idiot fell for it XD

  11. Franken.Tuck

    I recognize the social injustices that some minority groups suffer in this nation at the hands of ridiculous policing policies and laws, and purposefully poor education systems to keep targeted groups uneducated.

    I am fully aware that policies exist that are specifically designed to target certain areas of this country that are predominantly occupied by certain ethnic groups. We have always had laws in place designed to keep targeted groups under constant threat of arrest and in a steady state of dependence on the government for welfare and housing assistance. The question to be asked here is what group controls the areas, and why do they maintain these oppressive laws and policies.

    With that said, I am sincerely interested in seeing the policies referred to in this post that are written and intended to benefit “white” people more so than any other group. I am also interested in how these nameless laws and policies provide ‘privilege’ to the countless poor “white” people of areas in America, like the Appalachian mountain states that suffer from massive unemployment and poverty.

    If the mentioned privilege exists, then “white” people are overwhelmingly the most wealthy, successful, and employed people in this nation. Logically, this would be accurate and make any denial of “white privilege” simply disingenuous.

    In contrast, if white people make up the majority of the poor, dependent, and uneducated in this nation, then the benefits of this accused ‘privilege’ are not reflecting the reality of living as a “white” person in America.

    First, let’s look at those people would most often identify as successful.

    The Bureau of Labor and Statistics;
    —————————————————-
    Management and Executive Jobs:

    “White” people hold 17.4 percent.

    “Asian” people hold 16.9 percent.

    Black/AA make up 9.7 percent.

    Hispanic makes up 7.7 percent.
    ——————————————————
    Professional jobs, like lawyers and doctors:

    Asians make up 32.3 percent of these positions.

    White people make up 17.6 percent.

    Black people make up 13.8 percent.

    Hispanic people make up 7.9 percent.
    ——————————————————-
    Household yearly income averages:

    Asian- $74,108

    White- $57,355

    Pacific Islander- $52,815

    Native American- $37,227

    Black- $35,481
    —————————————————
    Asian Americans and White Americans are very comparable in regards to the percentage of management jobs they hold. White Americans have 1/2 of a percentage point more management level jobs than Asian Americans do. No “white privilege” is shown here.

    Asian Americans hold a very commanding lead in the number of professional jobs held. 14.7 percent more than White Americans.

    In terms of income, Asian Americans are far more successful than any other racial group. In regards to the securement of the most desireable jobs, Asian Americans dominate.

    1. Franken.Tuck

      Unemployed people:

      Asian- 4.2 percent

      White- 4.4 percent

      Hispanic- 5.6 percent

      Black- 8.1 percent
      ———————————
      Percentage of all people with SNAP/Food Stamp dependency:

      Asian- 2.1 percent

      Hispanic- 10.3 percent

      Black- 25.7 percent

      White- 40.2 percent
      ———————————-

      If “white” people have access to this privilege, where are the statistics that support that claim?

      The statistics concerning the number of people securing the most desirable jobs, making the most money, and avoiding the need for welfare and unemployment benefits suggests that Asian Americans are just as, if not more, ‘privileged’ as White Americans.

      I find it interesting that these facts are left out so that a comparison between White American success and Black American success can be used to slander the success of white people and to victimize black people.

      White privileged is used to make white people the enemy of minority groups, so that minority people can be manipulated into uniting against white people, and united as a voting block for the political party that pushes this false narrative of “white privilege.”

      It is very peculiar that an Asian American wrote this article, and dismissed data that shows that his own racial group leads everyone in the race to success in the USA.

  12. Smokey Keita

    The claim is supported not just in your own statistics but also in the article that Europeans come from European said countries and when they get to the United States they’re no longer Europeans they become White which is a false category and the point of this article. You can try to deflect the author that there’s no WHITE PEOPLE that White is a social construction of colonizing people which is insidious and antiquated in the world today. Europeans need to stop being liars by not identifying their ethnicities and calling themselves WHITE PEOPLE how uneducated is this?

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