"Multi-racial whiteness"

There’s no such thing as “white culture”. There’s a bunch of different cultures, many of whom happen to be comprised mostly of white people (in a country where that’s most of the actual inhabitants)

No one ‘became white’. It’s like @Wesley_Clark said; some number of years ago, being white wasn’t enough to qualify for in-group membership. But as various groups assimilated, the in-group expanded to include all white Americans. And Asians aren’t going to become white, but it’s possible the in-group could change to include them. I don’t believe it has happened yet, though.

Yeah, I’m not sure I understand that part of BigT’s post. Obviously there is no such thing as a ‘white culture’ that all white people share. There are shared influences and one culture can influence another, but that’s not limited by race. So how does race play into it exactly? [quote=“Aspidistra, post:26, topic:930901”]
Apparently it’s easier for some people to bend the word “white” into unrecognisability, rather than admit that they can’t do a simple single-value analysis of Trumpian support
[/quote]

I agree with this.

In Australia, the term ‘Anglo-Celtic’ started coming into use at around the time Italian/Greek migration was high, as a kind of signifier that those non-U Irish Catholic types, who used to be very much “them”, were now “us”, compared to this new weird mob.

I’m expecting the next expansion of the dominant in-group to be “Eurasian” … unless by that stage we’re all so mixed that nobody can really tell any more.

Maybe so. But is it a good thing? Expansion of the in-group ought to be good, but it implies there’s still an out-group.

And what’s non-U?

English upper-class slang. “Not one of us” - Nancy Mitford. My mother uses it all the time (in irony) so I always think it’s more well-known than it is

Given that race isn’t a biologically immutable quality but rather a set of social categories, it seems perfectly reasonable to refer to changing criteria about who belongs in a particular category in terms of “becoming white”.

For instance, Benjamin Franklin, along with many of his contemporaries, famously had a much narrower definition of “whiteness” than is current nowadays:

Here’s a 1916 industrial relations report illustrating the distinction that many employers of the time took for granted between “white men” and “Italians”:

This article discusses similar evolution of racial classifications of various groups of Europeans, illustrated by the contemporary quote in the article’s title, “A Slav can live in dirt that would kill a white man”.

Nobody is claiming that the physical skin color of people of, say, Swedish or Italian or Slavic ethnicity significantly changed between then and now. But it is absolutely true that their perceived qualification to be included in the category of “white people”, according to commonly understood definitions of that category, did change.

We see a similar evolution going on now, for example, in the inclusion of Hispanic/Latinx people in the category “white”. It’s commonly held nowadays that Hispanic and Latinx aren’t racial categories, and may describe people who are either white or nonwhite. But in this 1983 article entitled “Differences among black, Hispanic, and white people in knowledge about long-term care services”, for example, it was taken as a given that “Hispanic” signified a racial category that was neither white nor black.

As @Kimstu notes, the definition of who is white has changed over time (and in the present it’s different in different places).

There is, though, in the same sense there is a black culture or a Latino culture or an LGBT culture. Sure, these cultures all contain other smaller cultures, but there’s still an overlapping culture they share.

And this is a great example of white people objecting to being analyzed as a race. It’s okay to talk about “black culture,” but we must always subdivide white culture. We also wind up with people treating the default culture at the white one: when people talk about American culture, they’re most often talking about white American culture, treating African-American culture as different.

There was another thread about someone talking about the values of whiteness–values shared by white people. The fact that such a grouping can be made–that we can guess a whole set of values based on someone’s white skin-- shows that there is an underlying culture there. That’s all a culture is, really: shared beliefs in a group of people.

And that culture is 100% what Trump tried to appeal to. He was addressing the grievances of white people who are having to exist in a multicultural world. no longer being on the top. That was his message. And it was those brown people coming up from Mexico or those brown people who were Muslim who were the threat. He made no attempt at all to appeal to black people, and even actively fought against black people daring to protest their mistreatment by cops.

No, he didn’t appeal to all white people. But nearly everything he ever pushed was in the language of white grievances, even when he would also appeal to straight, cisgender, and male grievances.

Is it the only lens through which to view his support? Of course not. But it is a valid one. There is a reason people talk of Trump’s message being white identity politics. It’s hard to think of any other race he even tried to appeal to.

That’s not “white culture”. There is a distinct black culture in the US, much more so than a “white culture”, because for most of our history black people were forced to only rely on each other and not anyone else, nor any institutions, for safety and necessities. That created a coherent black culture. There were never such forces in place to create a coherent white culture in America. There’s probably an Irish American culture, and Italian American, and Jewish American, etc. Similarly there’s an Appalachian culture, a Southern culture (or cultures), etc. But white culture? No such thing. At least nothing nearly as coherent as black culture or those others I mentioned.

There may be a sort of “white grievance” culture that’s surprisingly big, and that’s who Trump appealed to (aside from the normal red voters - conservatives on economic and social issues). But that’s not “white culture” - just a big slice.

All IMO of course.

I concur. There is no such thing as “white culture”. A New England WASP has little in common with a Nebraskan trailer trash.

Class is what it’s all about.

Huh? Yes, there is. And it’s the only reason that “whiteness” as a concept makes any sense. There are shared values among white people that form a coherent culture, and that culture can be studied, rather than treated as some sort of null culture that other aspects are placed on top of.

There is no reason that oppression is needed to create a common culture. You can talk about Republican culture, gamer culture, business culture, and so on. All that is needed are shared values that develop over time due to separation of some sort. Sure, white people created that separation ourselves, but it still happened. We assimilated several other cultures–it’s how “becoming white” makes sense, too.

Now, sure, it’s true that there are racists who think they define what white culture is. Those are the ones who tend to say that “white culture is under attack,” when no such thing is true. The KKK is not white culture, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a shared culture.

Now maybe we’re quibbling over semantics, and you have a different word for what I’m describing. But it’s the term I used throughout my explanation of whiteness, which you did not disagree with. So I don’t see how it makes sense to rip out the foundation of that explanation without replacing it with something else.

I actually would have expected this response from those who do not think whiteness exists.

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: CoconutPete trolling posts

The KKK is not white culture, but that doesn’t mean it’s not shared culture.

Please expand on that.

Whiteness is a term to sum up the systems, policies, and practices that help reinforce white supremacy and protect the wealthy and powerful, using racial division as a tool. That’s not a culture.

Cultures have common foods, music, rituals, dialect, etc. That just doesn’t fit for white Americans as a group. We were never forced together, separate from other groups, in the way that Black Americans were, or Jews were, or Asian Americans were, etc. It doesn’t necessarily require oppression, but it does require something that pushes the group together, and separate from other groups. That never happened for white people in America. A white New Yorker probably has a lot more in common, culturally, with a Black New Yorker than a white Texan. On the other hand, a Black New Yorker probably shares a lot of food, dialect, ritual, etc., with a Black Texan, because of those forces in our history.

That never happened for white people in America.

Please expand on that

I think this is an important point. In my opinion, class provides a far clearer lens through which to view social division than race. A poor black man in any part of the country has more in common with a poor white man in any other part of the country than with a rich black man in the same state, perhaps even the same county. Obviously, this wasn’t always true, but I think that today it’s the most accurate paradigm, one which is overlooked by those who rely on racial distinctions to analyze social division.

If we use Japan as an example, a lot of Japanese culture overlaps with what is being referred to as ‘whiteness:’ - xenophobia towards foreigners, aversion to dark-skinned people, focus on academics and professional success, a low crime rate, etc. But it would be nonsensical to say Japanese people are being “white” in doing so. They are just doing what Japanese culture has been for a long time.

Was Hermain Cain being “white” by supporting Trump and the GOP? Is Bernie Sanders being “non-white” by supporting democratic socialism and race equality?

Swarthy Swedes and Germans? Had he met any?! You could put a bunch of all those people in a room and good luck telling the difference until they spoke.

I think though, that even though there was prejudice against people from various European countries, they were still treated very differently to eg Chinese immigrants, and it wasn’t legal to enslave them, so there must have been some idea that they were more similar, even though not considered ‘one of us’?

Isn’t Hispanic often used to mean Mestizo, in the same way Americans often used African American to mean black? (And BigT now seems to using black as synonymous with African American.)

Are you talking about within America or not? You’re being really unclear. There’s no one ‘black culture’ in the world, Africa is a huge continent containing hundreds of different groups who live very differently, follow different religions etc. It’s got even more variety than Europe. Do you think a black immigrant to America would feel they have more in common with the majority white US culture, African American culture, or neither?

Again, are you talking about values shared by white Americans, or all white people everywhere? The latter set is going to be a whole lot smaller and may not be particularly distinctive.

That sounds like you are only talking about America. But how is it different to saying Trump appealed to racism and fear of the ‘other’?

As I recall, in his first campaign he claimed reducing illegal immigration would mean more jobs and higher pay for black Americans, and he promised more police to reduce crime. Don’t think it got him too many votes though.

Do Asian Americans or Hispanic Americans have any more in common than white Americans? I don’t see why they would. African American culture is different because it’s native to the US and based on shared experience.