the white people guilt

The Caucasians in north america speak about cultural competencies and multiculturalism with such guilt. They always preface “Well, I’m from the dominant culture, so I’m only really guessing…”

This is a really good etiquette that shows respect for the minorities go through. And, at the same time, I wonder if it is giving the people of the dominant culture an inappropriate sense of completion and satisfaction.

If you’re aware that you’re from the dominant culture but want to speak about multiculturalism and about being a minority in an academic context, sure, go ahead. But if you are aware, and if you want to speculate on the experience of a minority, this is not good enough.

The experience of being a minority, by which I really mean the “discriminated groups,” is available to anyone. Tell everyone you’re gay and wear a rainbow pin. If you’re already attached, tell people you are bisexual or transgender. Take it back a month or year later once you feel satisfied with your exposure to that experience. If you live in the area where being gay is a threat to your safety, try wearing outfits that are drastically different than others, like dress like a homeless person or the Finnish curling team. Or shave your head. Or wear a uniform of an occupation that is not generally treated well in your areas.

How did it feel in your body when you thought of doing this?

Did you feel motivated to do it? Did you feel anxious? Did you feel like you’d be stooping to some “low” level by doing it?

That reflects exactly how you feel about your belonging to the dominant culture and if that includes a feeling of superiority. I think many of you shocked yourself.

That’s ok. Belonging to the dominant culture gives you a sense of safety that others don’t have, which in itself should give you a bit of superiority feelings. That’s nothing you have to feel guilty about. Now, where would you go with that newly acquired piece of information?


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