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Do white people lack culture and confidence?


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#1 OneThreeThreeSeven   Banned   -  Reputation: -52

Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:36 PM

For my sociology class, I plan to study white people.

A huge problem for white people is lack of intellectual and cultural confidence. Hsu quotes Christian (Stuff White People Like) Lander saying, "I get it: as a straight white male, I'm the worst thing on Earth." A professor comments that for his students "to be white is to be culturally broke. The classic thing white students say when you ask them to talk about who they are is, `I don't have a culture.' They might be privileged, they might be loaded socioeconomically, but they feel bankrupt when it comes to culture They feel disadvantaged, and they feel marginalized."

This lack of cultural confidence is no accident. For nearly 100 years whites have been subjected to a culture of critique emanating from the most prestigious academic and media institutions. And, as Hsu points out, the most vibrant and influential aspect of American popular culture is hip-hop-a product of the African American urban culture.


Who agrees w/ this quote? I plan to write a research paper on the subject because I find it extremely interesting. I am trying to find if anything can be defined as "white culture"? If anyone has any opinions on the matter, please speak because I would like some input and perspective from white individuals.

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#2 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:06 PM

Interesting follow-up to your previous thread.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that white is a very large and diverse group, especially with regard to culture. For example, people from Nebraska, London, Sweden, and the Netherlands might all be the same shade of white, but have very different cultures. I personally do not feel any connection to or solidarity with white individuals any more so than anyone else. I am much more likely to identify with someone in my department at my workplace, regardless of their skin color. In Minnesota, where I live, there are cultural distinctions between immigrants from African nations and black citizens with generations of history in the country despite having the same skin color.

For a white person to say that they don't have a culture sounds odd to me. Maybe it's an issue of being surrounded by their culture and not often removed from it, or perhaps a lack of critical reflection? This might especially be the case in the United States, where white is the plurality color and has been for quite some time, with institutions that not only fostered white opportunity but often limited opportunity to them. It's also possible that they don't feel their culture is very rich, and therefore not satisfying.

As for feeling marginalized or disadvantaged, it's an argument I've heard white people make before. And I don't think that that attitude is well supported. Another person's feelings aren't something that I can really argue, but I don't know of many situations where a white person has been even potentially disadvantaged or discounted because of their race alone. There are studies that suggest that being white in fact grants a certain degree of privelege in many situations. It's true that I don't see many explicit messages saying that white people can succeed as compared with other groups, but that reflects a lack of barriers and obstacles that a white person needs to overcome to succeed in the US more than cultural disdain or lack of confidence.

So I'd say that I don't agree with the quote. As for the potential to define a "white culture", my opinion is that you probably can't define one, and even if you can it would probably be very oblique and not very practical. Not because white people are culture-less, but because they are too widespread in areas where there are other factors determining culture that dramaticlaly overshadow being white. There aren't situations which mark specific, forced cultural division for white people as a group from others in the same way that other races have experienced. It's often been seen it within white populations, like ethnic discrimination against immigrants (Irish need not apply, and so on), but nothing that typifies a "white experience".

#3 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4678

Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:31 PM

One this is not the United States of Native America. This is the United States of America. White people run this place. Whether it's the white people we elect or the white people who are CEOs, Presidents, or on the Board of Directors, they run this place. Your culture and values has lapped the world 10 times over. You are the status quo.

How the hell do white people not feel lack of culture and confidence??? Did you get snatched up on ship and had your history wiped away in an instant??????

I disgress. Sorry.
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#4 OneThreeThreeSeven   Banned   -  Reputation: -52

Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:40 PM

One this is not the United States of Native America. This is the United States of America. White people run this place. Whether it's the white people we elect or the white people who are CEOs, Presidents, or on the Board of Directors, they run this place. Your culture and values has lapped the world 10 times over. You are the status quo.

How the hell do white people not feel lack of culture and confidence??? Did you get snatched up on ship and had your history wiped away in an instant??????

I disgress. Sorry.


WHOA. Hey man, there's no reason to insult native Americans or black people. And also, it seems like you're saying that whites have a culture of destroying culture and communities not like theirs...

I will not put that in my research paper. You are incredibly racist sir.

#5 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:43 PM

For my sociology class, I plan to study white people.

"..."

Who agrees w/ this quote? I plan to write a research paper on the subject because I find it extremely interesting. I am trying to find if anything can be defined as "white culture"? If anyone has any opinions on the matter, please speak because I would like some input and perspective from white individuals.


An interesting question. Do "white" people have a culture? Do they feel confident about it? I think the answer is no to be honest. In my experience we tend to identify and feel confident with our nation's/state's culture more than any other.

EDIT: For example European "whites" have quite different cultures within each nation. And these in turn are all very different from American "white" cultures.

#6 owl   Banned   -  Reputation: 364

Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:01 PM

I subscribe 100% to Khaiy's opinion. You can't say there is a "white" culture that all white people around the world share. Such statement simply denotes a shocking lack of understanding on what the concept of culture means.
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#7 zero interest   Members   -  Reputation: 112

Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:25 PM

There's a difference between "popular culture" and ancestral. Which are you referring to? I think you also need to define "white."

As Khaiy pointed out, it's a very broad label, and I'd say it's a safe assumption that whites that originate from the source Eurasian countries feel a part of their own culture. Are you referring just to the North American "white" population though? Part of that may be the melting pot metaphor, where origin and race is not seen as a deciding factor of one's national identity, and part of it from the relatively young age of their countries. Breaking ties with the European powers no doubt resulted in a partial or total rejection of the "mother culture" for some people, and the establishment of a new identity. While I've had conversations with Europeans where they believed America doesn't have a culture because it doesn't have a "real" history yet, I disagree. It may be shorter, but it's still there.

Part of it may also be the perception when parts of a nation might romanticize other cultures, but that's not an outright rejection of their core culture nor is it exclusive to whites. North Americans might seem easily infatuated with Eastern-themed pop culture, such as India and Africa starting in the 60s and 70s, and the Asian cultures since, but parts of Asia and the Middle East have a similar appetite for the novelty of American-themed pop culture and you could probably find more. It probably has to do with the dissatisfied finding pieces of other cultures that seem fresh and exotic, and contain ideas relevant to the time. During the era of antiwar protest, themes of Indian spirituality and nonviolence flourished in American youth culture. The Civil Rights movement relayed the message of African culture to educate, rally and inspire. Buddhism has an exotic appeal for young adults that are having trouble satisfying their spirituality by the observances of the conventional religeons of their upbringing.

I'll speculate that Canadians have a culture. It may not be prominent and they're quiet about it, but there is something to be said about a lot of what makes Canadians feel like Canadians, and that too pays little attention to race as a qualifier. French Canadians in particular, feel a lot closer with their own culture, probably because of upbringing and the community ties brought by their language.

Maybe that's the missing factor you could explore? Is the presence of such a dominant yet homogenized language, English, the reason your "whites" are perceived as having less culture, because they seem at first glance to be so easily interchangeable? That to an outsider, there isn't a visible difference between an English speaker of Germanic origin with one of Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon descent?

#8 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 431

Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:44 PM

Two statements, semantically equal:

"I love my black heritage and ancestry. I love being a black person. I love black culture."

"I love my white heritage and ancestry. I love being a white person. I love white culture."

One statement is encouraged socially, the other gets you in front of a microphone apologizing.

Most white people won't be open about their "cultural" pride because we've been trained through years of media that doing so is insensitive and inherently wrong.

I am personally ok with whatever direction the world's media wants to go, I just don't like the double standard. You hear that "we're all equal, skin color means nothing." And then on the other hand those same people come up with things like BET. We're all equal, skin color means nothing, but black people need their own television channel?

#9 zero interest   Members   -  Reputation: 112

Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:58 PM

Two statements, semantically equal:

"I love my black heritage and ancestry. I love being a black person. I love black culture."

"I love my white heritage and ancestry. I love being a white person. I love white culture."

One statement is encouraged socially, the other gets you in front of a microphone apologizing.

Most white people won't be open about their "cultural" pride because we've been trained through years of media that doing so is insensitive and inherently wrong.

I am personally ok with whatever direction the world's media wants to go, I just don't like the double standard. You hear that "we're all equal, skin color means nothing." And then on the other hand those same people come up with things like BET. We're all equal, skin color means nothing, but black people need their own television channel?


That's not the case, because "white" isn't a nationality.

What you do hear is

"I love my Irish heritage and ancestry. I love being an Irish person. I love Irish culture"

"I love my Scottish heritage and ancestry. I love being a Scottish person. I love Scottish culture"

"I love my Norweigan heritage and ancestry. I love being a Norweigan person. I love Norweigan culture"

Yes, you even hear "I love my American heritage and ancestry. I love being an American person. I love American culture." And that's not necessarily politically incorrect either.

FYI? My local television carries an Eastern Indian channel as well as an Italian one. Are you saying that television stations aren't allowed to create special interest channels to cater to a cultural demographic? I sincerely doubt it was, as you said, "those same people." I don't recall Dr. King having anything to do with the creation of BET, and you also realize that not "all black people" rose up to create and endorse it either?

I missed the part where we have to sanitize or democratically elect the content that's carried over cable.

Nobody better tell this guy about the existence of Al-Jazeera or the British Broadcasting Corporation....

#10 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4678

Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:08 PM

That's not the case, because "white" isn't a nationality.

When did black become a nationality?
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#11 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4678

Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:10 PM


One this is not the United States of Native America. This is the United States of America. White people run this place. Whether it's the white people we elect or the white people who are CEOs, Presidents, or on the Board of Directors, they run this place. Your culture and values has lapped the world 10 times over. You are the status quo.

How the hell do white people not feel lack of culture and confidence??? Did you get snatched up on ship and had your history wiped away in an instant??????

I disgress. Sorry.


WHOA. Hey man, there's no reason to insult native Americans or black people.

I insulted neither one.

And also, it seems like you're saying that whites have a culture of destroying culture and communities not like theirs...

I never said any such thing.

I will not put that in my research paper. You are incredibly racist sir.

Thank you for not misconstruing my position and telling lies about me. WTF.
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#12 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4678

Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:13 PM


For my sociology class, I plan to study white people.

"..."

Who agrees w/ this quote? I plan to write a research paper on the subject because I find it extremely interesting. I am trying to find if anything can be defined as "white culture"? If anyone has any opinions on the matter, please speak because I would like some input and perspective from white individuals.


An interesting question. Do "white" people have a culture? Do they feel confident about it? I think the answer is no to be honest. In my experience we tend to identify and feel confident with our nation's/state's culture more than any other.

EDIT: For example European "whites" have quite different cultures within each nation. And these in turn are all very different from American "white" cultures.

Well "white people" in America would refer to the Anglo-Saxon descendants of the 1600s who've settled here. Correct? I would say you do have culture. Granted it's tied very very closely with America's values and history. But honestly, that's to be expected.
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#13 zero interest   Members   -  Reputation: 112

Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:21 PM


That's not the case, because "white" isn't a nationality.

When did black become a nationality?


But, particularly in the United States, (black) also refers to people with all possible kinds of skin pigmentation from the darkest through to the very lightest skin colors... if they are believed by others to have African ancestry and exhibit cultural traits associated with being "African-American". Therefore, the term 'black people' is not an indicator of skin color but of racial classification.


We could debate the semantics of "black and white" vs "African and European" as American parlance hasn't nailed down the vague usage of each, but we'd be getting way off course for the sake of a minor point of syntax which is beyond our control in the first place.

#14 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5891

Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:01 PM

For your sociology class, I recommend you try dropping out.




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