List-making

About that “Whiteness” chart again…

One thing to note is that it was compiled by Judith Katz in 1990, and it’s copyrighted by a “consulting group.”

JudithH.Katz © 1990. The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The thing that’s so bizarre and stupid about it is that it’s not about “whiteness” at all, it’s just about a grab bag of tastes, habits, practices, beliefs, ideas, ideologies, fashions and the like, few if any of which are genuinely specific and exclusive to white people. It mixes up class, hierarchy, status, consumerism, and some just plain randomness.

For instance –

Rugged Individualism

Self-reliance

Individual is primary unit

Independence and autonomy highly valued and rewarded

Individuals assumed to be in control of their environment – “You get what you deserve”

But that’s not a racial list. It’s a mix of philosophical and political and sociological, but not racial. And pretty much the whole list is like that – a giant category error, or string of category errors.

The idea seems to be that majoritarian habits and ways of thinking=white habits and ways of thinking…which in a majority-white country is sort of tautological, and not interesting.

Some items on the list are conservative shibboleths, and some are just “you don’t say.” Under religion, “Christianity is the norm” – in other words Christianity is the majority religion in the US. You don’t say! That doesn’t make it white. Also hello? There’s quite a deep tradition of African-American Christianity; do we have to call that part of “whiteness”?

In short it’s just so damn silly, along with all its other faults, that I wonder why anybody ever paid any attention to it.

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