On my quick morning read-around before hunkering down to work, it dawned on me that every face I encountered on my screen was white. The Yahoo home page had an image from dancing with the stars (skinny white couple), an ad for the film Eagle Eye with white actors, a promo for online college (white woman in grad cap), and, the most ironic of all, an “Escape to Mexico” ad with two tanned white people in white beach attire (yes, cuz it’s fine for whities to ‘escape’ south, but please, brown people, don’t come north!).
Even when logging on to my campus internet portal, I noted the smiling white student at her laptop that decorates the page.
And, as my daughter grabbed a 5 minute cartoon fix before heading off to school, guess what, ALL the characters were white.
Then, as I walked daughter and dog to school, I saw various white people out and about in the neighborhood. Once we began walking through the park, I saw a white caretaker, a white lifeguard prepping the community pool for water aerobics (which consists of all white elderly students), a white woman unlocking the community services office, and, endless white people driving by in big honking SUV’s. When we arrived at school, it was finally apparent that the whole damn world is not white (my daughter goes to a dual immersion school that has the biggest percentages of Latino and White students).
My neighborhood is not all white, my town is not all white, the frickin’ world is not all white, so why is whiteness so damn ubiquitous and omnipresent? Why might, for example, it be more common for me to see white faces as I walk my daughter to school even though we live in a neighborhood with many Latino residents? Because it’s safer to be on the streets if you are white! I am not going to be harassed with “go back to where you came from” comments when I walk my kids to school. I am unlikely to be accosted if jogging in the park by racial slurs. I would, if I chose to, be able to swim at the community pool or go to the community service office without anyone questioning my citizenship or my ‘right’ to be there.
Even in my quick peruse of blogs this morning, most images were white because, if you want to cover big news or the MSM, most images still are white. I saw Katie Couric interviewing Sarah Palin (this clip, by the way really made me question all the claims that Palin is ‘super smart’), I saw Clay Aiken coming out of the closet on the cover of People, I saw John McCain and his white makeup artist (who knew he had one? and, at the tune of $5,583?), a picture of big white hands holding an image of a tiny white family to advertise the PBS documentary The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class (yeah, cuz only white people are middle class).
I saw white actresses, models, politicians, white rockers…
When looking up some links for this post, I saw images of blogger bios at MSNBC.com (10 out of 11 were white), Lance Armstrong advertising some new energy concoction, and images of Versace, Daniel Radcliffe, and a whole bunch of other white people. I did not see ONE, not one, image of someone Latino, Indian, Native American, Middle Eastern, etc (I did see a few images of Obama and one of an Asian male reporter). If I had seen more non-white images in the MSM and MSI (mainstream internet), they would have surely been linked to issues such as terrorism, crime, and other social ills all those non-whities cause. Gag.
What if this omnipresence of whiteness vanished? Here, I do not mean white people need to vanish (although there are quite a few I wouldn’t mind having evaporate into nothingness). I mean whiteness as normative, as expected, as desirable… I mean the notion that whiteness is supreme, better, above examination.
What if, as the movie A Day without a Mexican ponders in regards to the Latino population of California, we woke up one morning and whiteness had vanished?
Well, there would be an uproar of course. It would be unfair to have all those non-white faces representing everything from government to toothpaste. Can you imagine the loud outcry from most whites? Yet, somehow, the near invisibility of other-than-whiteness in our world is a-ok, no problem there. It’s enough to make you scream.
And please, WPD’s (white privilege deniers), don’t go sending in comments about how ‘it’s only a reflection that white people represent the majority of the population.’ If you are ignorant enough to believe that, well, you probably think Palin’s rambling non-answers in the Couric interview were ‘really smart’…