About My “Whiteness”

On this business of my whiteness. You want me to be less white. Great. I don’t try to be less white because I don’t care about my whiteness in the first place. My skin color has no value to me, subjectively or objectively. It’s just skin. I don’t walk around asserting my whiteness or taking pride in it. I have never benefitted from it.

I went from hungry and homeless in Miami to tenured professor at a public university and it had nothing to do with my skin color. it was because I worked hard. Did I get some help from my mother? Sure. But not because she is white. But because she is a good mother. I sacrificed a lot of time—time with family and friends—to get to where I am. I literally made myself sick getting here. It’s others who make a big deal out of my existence as a white man, who want to diminish me on account of my skin color.

No white person speaks for the “white community.” If any white man presumes to speak for white people, know that he does no speak for me. There is no such the “white community.” I am insulted by the very idea that you think I am automatically part of a community because of my skin color. My being white tells you nothing about me. I could be a capitalist or a worker. I could be a gay man or a straight man. I could be a Christian or an atheist.

I will be happy when you decide to stop seeing me as a white man and instead see me as a human being, as an individual, as a man who earned what he has. Maybe you can start this whole “less-white” business by you seeing me as less white. Don’t ask me to stop “acting white” or “being white,” whatever those are supposed to mean. Stop treating me as if I am white. It’s not a real thing. You have the power to make this happen without involving me at all. Just change your thinking and your behavior. Work on yourself.

Yes, I know that all that is not what’s driving the obsession with whiteness. You want me to be white so you can berate me for it because that gives your life meaning and purpose and maybe some else—appropriating the value I do have, perhaps? Making me an enemy of something to build solidarity for project? So you can virtue signal to your woke friends? I regret folks taught you that this was important and useful. It’s not. It’s divisive and hateful.

Meanwhile, race politics are used by our common corporate masters to control us. So, while your obsession with my skin color is your problem, it turns out that it’s my problem, too. But don’t stop seeing me as a white man just to do me a favor. Stop seeing me as a white man to disrupt the racecraft that’s screwing you, that’s keeping you down. Stop being a tool of the ruling class.

And if you’re in the professional-managerial class like me and don’t see yourself as a member of the working class, why not become an ally of the working class like me? The working class needs allies.

* * *

Update! I publish this blog, open Facebook, and see that Adam Carolla dropped a video on privilege on PragerU. Check it out: Who Has Privilege? Neither the downs nor the ups in my life have been on account of my race. I wouldn’t say that’s a form of privilege, but it’s nice not to burdened with a false belief that somehow race explains all the bad shit that I’ve experienced in my life. I know what explains it. But I’m not going to whine about it on social media. All you need to know is that I didn’t sit around blaming society for my situation. I reckoned my faults and did something about it. I’m still working on it. Nobody’s perfect. Even if race had something to do with it, what would I get out of dwelling on that?

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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