'Whiteness' Chart at the Smithsoniam Museum

Got it in one, my friend!

Or “black people time” or worse.

Minorities even use it to make fun of themselves—“Indian Standard Time”—which to some extent is a buy-in to white supremacy.

While the poster isn’t completely inoffensive offensive, the point about punctuality is so ridiculous as someone calling you “honkey” and expecting you to be offended. Maybe it would be more appropriate in the context of a “Germanic/Norse values” poster since, while everyone is different even within a culture, it seems that it’s mainly a subset of Northern European cultures and those cultures that are influenced by them that focus so much on punctuality that a meaningful difference may be drawn (again, while keeping in mind that there are exceptions to everything.)

Plus, I’m not really offended by the poster per se because this was posted here in a context of recreational outrage, and there is too much real outrage these days to look for things to get offended at.

LMFAOOO I take it you’ve never been to Japan! :joy::joy:

Edit: Or China, for that matter.

Edit2: Or South Korea.

No. Its saying “Here is a list of things white people think are objectively “correct” but in reality they culturally bound”.

Look at post 18. White culture thinks raising your kids to be independent and self-reliant is the goal of “good parenting”. Other places see the way we raise kids as lazy and selfish. Doesn’t mean that we are, and it doesn’t mean they want their kids to be dependent. But they prioritize “successful and family-oriented” ahead of the qualities white America most celebrates. That doesn’t make us better than them.

It’s very obviously a list of things that “white culture” thinks is virtuous. I can’t see anything it attributes to us that is remotely offensive. The list is of things we tend to value. So it should read as a list of good things to us white people.

It’s not as if other races aren’t studied the same way. You may not get a museum piece, but I’ve seen the articles. African Americans get discussed as a culture all the time. Same with Hispanic or Asian people.

The OP doesn’t even make sense to me. He’s asking if I as a liberal think that white people value those things. Yes, I do. Tell me which of those things you don’t value, OP. Same for anyone else who is upset: name something in there that white people do not value.

The only way I could see this as racist was if it was put up to praise white people by some racist group. It very clearly cannot have been put up to denigrate us.

I think these are the points of confusion:

The chart is saying “Here is a list of traits, mostly positive, that white culture tends to prioritize”.

It’s not saying that their is anything inherent to white people that make them value these things.
It’s not saying that other cultures don’t value these things but that

  1. Some cultures may prioritize them less than other, also positive traits, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value them (in the same way that “family” isn’t listed up there, but white culture certainly values family–but it often puts “independence and self-reliance” ahead of that.
  2. Some cultures may also value these things as much as White American culture does (Like, as has been mentioned) the Japanese also value punctuality–more than White American culture, even.
  3. There is a tendency to look at the particular bundle of positive traits prioritized by White Americans as being “normal” and everything else as a variation, and this is a misreading. Cultures that put family before independence, or flexibility in front of punctuality, are not inferior.

If you read the chart as “Things that white people are just biologically better at than other races”, it’s horrible. But I don’t think the people constructing the chart even saw that interpretation as one they needed to anticipate, because it is so ludicrous.

Archive one:


Archive two:


I think we can all agree that, contrary to what the chart says, the last few months have proven that white Americans don’t really care that much about the Scientific Method.

Or “cause and effect”: “I went to the beach for the Fourth of July, and I didn’t wear no sissy mask. Now I’ve done gone and got the ‘Kung Flu’. Dang! How did that happen?”

Agreed. This seems to divide along liberal / conservative lines, with conservatives no longer valuing the scientific method. It just so happens that in the US conservatives are predominantly white.

I don’t know 'bout that. Notice, it is in the chart under “aesthetics” – not under critical thought. The metaphor is meat and potatoes and a distaste for exotic or spicy ingredients ( * ) , but the way I see it can also refer more broadly about a distaste for flamboyance or flash ( * * ) or generally for anything that sticks out as different from the usual.

( * which in 2020 I don’t think even works as a metaphor for white tastes anymore. It’s white peoplee who are into arugula and kombucha and ghost peppers and “elder grains” these days :thinking: )
( * * which could also be considered a trait of heteronormative culture, come to think of it)

Puerto Rican who can’t stand “Island Time”

It is just possible that I’m reading in too much to that line. Just a little too much, just this once.

ETA: That is, not everything necessarily on there is used as a justification for oppression, just that certain things on there are taken for granted as “normal” when they are really just cultural norms established by… white folk… that may not necessarily have an inherent superiority to alternatives.

You’d think that Conservatives are White in America, but if you use Old-Time Religion* as a component of being conservative, it isn’t that simple. For example, 83% of Blacks say they’re absolutely certain God exists, whereas only 61% of Whites say that. You can look at the page to get more of a bead on this as a whole, but it’s pretty clear that Blacks are more religious than Whites overall.

* As opposed to New-Age Heathenry, don’t you know. :wink:

So there’s some serious Old-Fashioned Conservatism among the PoCs, but they’re considered Liberal or at least Liberal-leaning in most discourse (or vBulletin, etc.) because the current party which has staked out the Conservative position in American politics is the GOP, which is a White Nationalist organization in everything except explicit party platform. (Unless they’ve had an outbreak of honesty.) Frankly, I prefer the Red/Blue/Gray breakdown, which is less political and more explicitly tribal:

  • Red: You know this song. G-O-P! N-R-A! T-R-U-M-P! Fucking nuts! Fucking nuts! Their party’s absolutely nuts! Guns, God, and Griefers, as in doing stuff to Own The Libs.
  • Blue: The big tent, but stereotypically irreligious, at least somewhat progressive, less interested in guns, and more interested in progressive causes. Again, less cohesive than the Red Tribe, because the Red Tribe purity-tests the absolute Hell out of (or into) its partisans.
  • Gray: (Or Grey.) Pretty White, Libertarian-ish, less interested in “causes” and more interested in live-and-let-live, the progressivism of not caring what anyone else is and not wanting the government to care, either. Vote Blue because they see the Reds as utterly fucking insane, but not interested in the more ambitious Blue social programs.

People don’t expressly think or espouse those things very much, because whiteness is set up as the norm. But, as an example of what the point is, white = objective is about this: When have you ever heard of a party to a case suggesting that a white judge should recuse themselves because one of the parties is also white? Or saying, when a person of color says they were treated badly, oh, you’re seeing something that’s a not there. (White person as “objective” arbiter) And, where’s your evidence that they don’t treat everyone that way? (Prioritizing “scientific proof” over recognizing their experience, or prioritizing empathy and connection with another human being.

Is there a comparable chart for people of the various colors?

Would it be helpful for white folks if each point was discussed as to why non-whites don’t value these factors as much?

I think “prioritize other things more” is a better way to think about it: flexibility over punctuality, for example. I made a long post above about how South Asian cultures often value family welfare over individuality, and that can create a situation where they percieve white American culture as shockingly callous toward children.

As to the why, that’s really complicated and often not work speculating on. IME, qyickly leads to a lot of just-so stories that can’t be proven one way or the other and which really gloss over how intensely complicated all this is.

( * which in 2020 I don’t think even works as a metaphor for white tastes anymore. It’s white peoplee who are into arugula and kombucha and ghost peppers and “elder grains” these days :thinking: )

I think it’s meant to be literal, not just metaphorical – there are lots of white people who actually do prefer bland, familiar foods, while liking arugula and ghost peppers is a class marker for highly educated professionals (not all of whom are white, but the majority of whom are). The real problem is that the chart is conflating multiple subcultures that don’t have all that much in common. The white people who place a ton of emphasis on the scientific method and objective thinking are mostly not the same as the ones who have no tolerance for deviation from the single god concept, for example, nor are the ones who highly value independence and autonomy the same as the ones who value respect for authority! In both cases, the first set of preferences is more common among those who are college-educated and high-income, while the second set is more likely to be associated with the white working class.

(Possibly this is part of the point rather than an error – “see how it feels to be lumped in with a bunch of people with whom you don’t really have anything in common but skin color?” but if it is, it’s probably too subtle for most people to get it.)

It’s not about individual people. It’s about a culture. White people like to pretend that white culture isn’t a thing, because we are constructed as the “default.” As a culture, we deny “whiteness.” But, yes, individual people who strongly revere independence and individualism can be the same as ones who value obedience of authority. Look at people who won’t wear masks because it “infringes on their individual rights,” but want everyone to obey their religion and whatever Trump says. And that’s just an example – we all have contextual and/or contradictory beliefs.

But, again, it’s wrong (and an example of that value placed on individualism) to look at it on an individual level. It’s an example of privilege to get to insist on being viewed as an individual, even when we are talking about something as collective as race/culture.

I don’t agree with the interpretation of the chart generally being put forward in this thread. I don’t think “whiteness” is being put forward as a constructed self-image, based on my previous experience with the woke, I believe it is being put forward as a by-word for cultural normality. The majority attitudes. Hence the idea that it has been internalised by minority groups. Some may see that as semantics, but I don’t agree. For this reason I do believe the the attitudes listed on the chart are being derided.

I think some of those points are well founded. The idea of self-reliance and hard work, as generally conceived, implies a level playing field and that hard work will advance a person’s position. These underpinnings for the belief in hard graft are not correct.

Of course, I don’t approve of the denunciation of rationality, but it isn’t the first time I’ve come across such a thing in the woke community. Many years ago, back when the word “woke” was just a verb, I encountered the phrase “Woman’s Way of Knowing”, which was used by a group of academic feminists who opposed the empirical model of epistemology. You may have seen a clip from an African university where science was denounced. I recently read about a politician, I believe she was in Peru, who was campaigning against literacy on the grounds that it was part of European colonialism and was harming the minds of the native people.

This is the African university video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9SiRNibD14

So it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that this is just a blanket denunciation of rationality and objective truth.