What is 'Whiteness' - Does it even exist?

GJG

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What is Whiteness? Some proponents use it to cover everything from ‘all white people (and some others)’ to ‘white supremacists’, but have a hard time to define it. Is this a real concept, or just an amorphous term to cover for bad arguments? I ask (who else?) – a professor of social science.

 


Dearghoul

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I insist on my white right to be the first to mention sunbeds as evidence of deep shame at the condition of 'whiteness'.

Other contributors may have more to say on the substantiative matter.
 

Dame_Enda

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Light skinned people do exist. Otherwise what are Black activists in places like the USA on about when they talk of "people of colour".
 

Dearghoul

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I'm assured that light skinned people do exist Enda.

I for one know a great many of them.

Even went to school with some, so there.
 

owedtojoy

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What is Whiteness? Some proponents use it to cover everything from ‘all white people (and some others)’ to ‘white supremacists’, but have a hard time to define it. Is this a real concept, or just an amorphous term to cover for bad arguments? I ask (who else?) – a professor of social science.

Pantone identify 100 or more shades of skin tone, so (as I have often said) I agree that skin colour is just an amorphous term for bad arguments.


You will find the racists usually shift ground to vague "cultural" characteristics at this stage. But culture is even more variegated than skin tone.

So there is no scientific definition for "whiteness" or otherwise. It is just a social (or cultural) designation, shorthand for "us" and "the other".

We should just admit it is arbitrary e.g. Hispanic people have been "black" or "white" at different times, depending on how you wanted to count them. Admit the arbitrariness, unpick that, and move on.
 

Golah veNekhar

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"White Nationalists" consider Greeks to be "White" but Turks. They consider Ashkenazi and Yiddish Jews not be "White" who are often very pale skinned but yet they consider Bulgarians to be so. The way "White Nationalists" use the term is pretty daft. Ethnicity which is probably much more in the psyche than in biology proper is something very real that we ignore at our peril though.
 

owedtojoy

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Light skinned people do exist. Otherwise what are Black activists in places like the USA on about when they talk of "people of colour".
Straight people exist, too. It just depends arbitrarily on who you like to have sex with.
 

The OD

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Vitamin D deficiency, innit?
 

Lumpy Talbot

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I'm having great fun these days with the new terminology. For example if I ask for clarification on something in a meeting I usually explain I need to know so I can mansplain it to someone later.

There's no law or regulation against using this stuff with a serious face on.
 

Dame_Enda

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"White Nationalists" consider Greeks to be "White" but Turks. They consider Ashkenazi and Yiddish Jews not be "White" who are often very pale skinned but yet they consider Bulgarians to be so. The way "White Nationalists" use the term is pretty daft. Ethnicity which is probably much more in the psyche than in biology proper is something very real that we ignore at our peril though.
A lot of Western Jews if you saw them on a street one would consider them White. Polls in the US show almost all of them self identify as White. As for why this is: there are also some light skinned people in the Middle East alongside dark skinned people. Intermarriage and conversions are also likely to have been a factor in this. Of course some Jews have stereotypical semitic nasal features too but many do not.
 

Golah veNekhar

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A lot of Western Jews if you saw them on a street one would consider them White. Polls in the US show almost all of them self identify as White. As for why this is: there are also some light skinned people in the Middle East alongside dark skinned people. Intermarriage and conversions are also likely to have been a factor in this. Of course some Jews have stereotypical semitic nasal features too but many do not.
A significant amount of Syriacs (Lebanonese, Palestinians and Syrians) are "White" however in terms of psychology, culture, etc they have more in common with their darker skinned fellow Syriacs than they would it equally pale skinned Western Europeans. Similarly in many ways because the Russians were formed by Byzantine as opposed to Latin Christianity their significant psychological and cultural differences between us and them (which is not necessarily a bad thing at all- sometimes things just are rather than being either good or bad) even though we both belong to the "White Race". Ashkenazi proper Jews originate from the European Mediterranean world (which would explain the stereotype of the big nose) in part and from Germanay in part (there were Jewish convert communities in Germany before there were German Christians)- 10 per cent or so of the Roman Empire in 4 BC was Jewish- it is literally impossible that they all came from Palestine.
 

Enoch Root

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"Whiteness" is just a ploy to get around the embarrassing fact that most of those espousing "superiority", "supremacy" and "defence against cultural dilution" etc. would not actually make the cut by traditional metrics of judging someone to be "white" - if you're not WASP, white anglo-saxon protestant, you can't be properly white. This applies to traditional American politics just as much as it did to the Nazi regime.

It's a terrible realisation for the lunatics over on PIsh.con, and also for the herd-right movements in Hungary, Poland and Czechia - but if you're Irish/Celtic/Gaelic, you're not really "white", you're a subspecies. The same goes if you're Slavic or Uralic, or from any predominantly Catholic culture.

The nebulousness of "whiteness", a constant exercise in his lost switching, cones from exactly that; the sneaking suspicion that those who advocate it are not "pure" enough to be counted amongst its numbers.

Which I find hilarious, to be honest.
 

owedtojoy

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This man's name was Walter Francis White (1893 - 1955), He was an American black man. Both his parents were born into slavery, until freed by the 14th Amendment in 1864.

white.jpg

He was a writer and leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

White could have "passed" as white, and no one would have been wiser if he was used rest rooms or cafeterias reserved for whites in the segregated South. Tens of thousands of blacks passed as white, and no one knows the extent of African ancestry in the United States today.

 

GJG

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"White Nationalists" consider Greeks to be "White" but Turks. They consider Ashkenazi and Yiddish Jews not be "White" who are often very pale skinned but yet they consider Bulgarians to be so. The way "White Nationalists" use the term is pretty daft. Ethnicity which is probably much more in the psyche than in biology proper is something very real that we ignore at our peril though.
I agree the 'logic' of the 'white nationalists' is, to say the very least daft, but I find the self-flagalating of the social studies crowd pretty objectional too. In particular, dividing the whole world into 'white' and 'not white'. They might not intend this, but it is grossly racist. East-Asians and Black Africans (to take just one example) regard themselves as vastly different, and that difference is no less than the difference between themselves and White Europeans. It's mighty arrogant to announce that your social studies degree authorises you to lump them all into one category.
 

Golah veNekhar

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I agree the 'logic' of the 'white nationalists' is, to say the very least daft, but I find the self-flagalating of the social studies crowd pretty objectional too. In particular, dividing the whole world into 'white' and 'not white'. They might not intend this, but it is grossly racist. East-Asians and Black Africans (to take just one example) regard themselves as vastly different, and that difference is no less than the difference between themselves and White Europeans. It's mighty arrogant to announce that your social studies degree authorises you to lump them all into one category.
That is a fair point.

In many ways the people who refer to there are mirror images of each other.

Also I would add that there can be very significant differences between different Black African ethnicities.
 

parentheses

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That is a fair point.

In many ways the people who refer to there are mirror images of each other.

Also I would add that there can be very significant differences between different Black African ethnicities.
The old anthropologists such as Carleton Coon believed there were several different races in Africa.
 


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