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Here is my final project for Poli Sci Race 15 class. -Holly Nelson

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  1. 1. What it Means to be White in America <ul><li>Holly Nelson </li></ul><ul><li>Political Science 15 (Race) </li></ul><ul><li>Yuen </li></ul><ul><li>Final Project: Autobiography </li></ul><ul><li>3/27/08 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>All of my life, I have defined myself as a “white” person, and all of my life, I never knew what it truly meant to be “white.” The very connotation of the word seems so bland and depressing. While everyone around me celebrates their cultural customs, I am left wondering what are mine, if any? What do I have to celebrate being white? What are the strengths and weaknesses that go along with my heritage? Are we oppressed or the oppressors? As I embark on my journey through the use of historical context, I find myself answering a lot of these questions, and the main question: what is “whiteness”? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Successes: Science <ul><ul><li>Many people around the world would </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>agree that one of the most important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>finds in history is the DNA code and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>structure. These things were discovered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by the American Scientists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Francis Crick and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>James D. Watson. Without this </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>essential find, the life would remain even </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more of a mystery than it does now. We </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can go back to murder cases that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>were never solved (cold cases) to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>determining the real birth parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of a child. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Successes: Art <ul><li>Andy Warhol: A contemporary figure in modern art today, Andy Warhol created “Pop art”, where he would take common items found in today's commercials, advertisements, society, etc. and create art of it. At times, it would portray a political message of how the culture of America has become boggled down by corporations/corporate media. He lived a fascinating life of fame. In 1968, Warhol was shot by a leader of a feminist group, Valerie Solanas. (S.C.U.M which stood for the Society of Cutting up Men) This left Warhol in critical condition and suffered physical impairments for the rest of his life. He was also known as an “asexual” person-he didn't seemed interested in marriage or love, but was known to draw erotic photos of famous celebrities and was also known to draw naked men but his art got rejected for being homosexual. Warhol died at age 58 of a heart attack. </li></ul>
  5. 6. Linguistics, Familial , Etc. <ul><li>William Dwight Whitney: American Linguist (1827-1894). Whitney attended college at the age of 15 while working for a local bank. For three years, he studied Sanskrit (The classical language of India) in Germany and became a professor at Yale. He served as the President of the American Oriental Society and became the founder/President of the American Philological Association. In 1864, he did revisions on Webster's American Dictionary. He is known as the founding Father of Linguistics in America to this day. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Linguistics, Cont... <ul><li>William Dwight Whitney's work includes the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Darwinism and Language (1874) </li></ul><ul><li>Oriental and Linguistic Studies [Series one and two] (1872&1874) </li></ul><ul><li>The Life and Growth of Language: An Outline of Linguistic Science (1875) </li></ul><ul><li>Practical French Grammar (1887) </li></ul><ul><li>Mixture in Language (1881) </li></ul><ul><li>On the Material and Form of Language (1872) </li></ul><ul><li>The Century Dictionary (1889-1891) </li></ul><ul><li>Logical Consistency in Views of Language (1880) </li></ul><ul><li>Language and the Study of Language: Twelve Lectures on the Principles of Linguistic Science (1867) </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the Americans? (no date posted) </li></ul>
  7. 8. The American Family <ul><li>The nuclear family experience: most common form of family that exists in America to this day is the nuclear family. This consists of a Mother, Father and their extended family (their children) </li></ul>
  8. 9. Family Cont... <ul><li>Extended Family: Not as direct as a nuclear family; the people are genetically involved with you in someway. These people are usually called aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Other Forms of Family in America <ul><li>Single-Parent Homes : When the Mother and Father of a child are no longer together anymore and are left to raise the child by his/herself. This usually occurs from divorce/break-up, a mother/father who does not claim responsibility, or death of a significant other. </li></ul><ul><li>Married without Children : This is usually not considered a family, but technically, it is a family without any children. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-marriage families : This is when a couple has offspring but they are not legally married. </li></ul><ul><li>Adopted families : When a family (husband or wife, and sometimes homosexual couples) adopt a child who has no parents. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Contemporary Culture <ul><li>Today, as a twenty-year-old female, I define white contemporary culture as the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate owned: People my age are always wanting the next best thing. This includes items such as I phones to latest fashion trends. </li></ul><ul><li>Throughout my educational career, white culture has become more of a social class. The common social classes for white people are the following: “jocks” who are white athletes , “preppies” who are superficial model-like girls, and people who dress certain trends in order to portray the kind of music they listen to (example: “metal heads”, “emo kids”, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Media owned: Unfortunately, there are a lot more white people in movies and television than there are of other races. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Historical Cultural Events <ul><li>The formation of colonies </li></ul><ul><li>The spread of religion (Christianity) </li></ul><ul><li>The Civil Rights Movement </li></ul><ul><li>The Agricultural Revolution (white land owners) </li></ul><ul><li>The Industrial Revolution (white business owners) </li></ul><ul><li>The spread of taking over land </li></ul><ul><li>Slavery/the abolishment of Slavery </li></ul><ul><li>Presidents </li></ul><ul><li>“ The American Dream”-white privilege when owning a home/privilege in the Gold Rush/priorities before others </li></ul><ul><li>The Constitution (rid of racist policies, allowed freedom of speech) </li></ul>
  12. 13. Advantages/ Privileges of Being White <ul><li>Will always be approved for loans when credit is good enough-loans accepted based on the fact that someone is white. </li></ul><ul><li>Will not be accused of stealing at first glance. </li></ul><ul><li>Will have higher chances of succeeding in the Business world. </li></ul><ul><li>Will have higher chances of being paid more money. </li></ul><ul><li>Will have better chances of living in a clean and safe neighborhood </li></ul><ul><li>Less likely to be judged based on color of skin </li></ul><ul><li>Will never be denied small things based on color (for example: will never be denied community invitations or restaurant reservations) </li></ul>
  13. 14. Major Events/Oppression <ul><li>Taking over the land of the Native Americans and forming colonies </li></ul><ul><li>Taking over the lives of others-slavery </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming privileged due to racism started by white people </li></ul><ul><li>KKK (Ku Klux Klan) “Pure white people”; no one else allowed, everyone else to hate. </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely predominant white leaders: CEO's, business owners, Presidents, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Whites as wealthiest in the nation </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Rights movement: white priority over African Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Unfair educational systems-teach the wrong things (ex: Christopher Columbus discovered America) </li></ul>
  14. 15. Oppression/Oppressors <ul><li>Double standards (ex: there can be an African American history month but not a Caucasian history month) </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes (White people can't dance, all White people are rich) </li></ul><ul><li>Hate from others for privileges most cannot recognize (discrimination/racism) </li></ul><ul><li>Guilt from past mistakes of white people </li></ul><ul><li>White females left out of history books and education </li></ul><ul><li>Racists/ Prejudice (blame white man for all of America's problems) </li></ul><ul><li>Media (websites hating white people) </li></ul><ul><li>Society (people who believe that others should hate white people and persuade others) </li></ul><ul><li>Females: Education (history text books leave out the important female idols of America) </li></ul><ul><li>Females: Particular Males (some men don't believe women should have rights) </li></ul>
  15. 16. Dealing with Oppression <ul><li>Today, people are resentful towards white people because of the “ privilege ” they have in America. An example of privilege would be, for example, a white person doesn't have to walk down a mall and worry about being followed, accused of stealing, etc. Basically, white people have the benefit of the doubt, whereas other races do not. This results in racism towards white people, and thus results in oppression. Many white people don't acknowledge the fact that they have privilege and therefore, they are “naive” and hated for “no reason.” This is a seemingly never-ending cycle. The best way to handle this, in my opinion, is to have a sense of community. Have town meetings, attend racial seminars, and pour your heart out so that one can be relieved of oppression while others understand your point of view. </li></ul>
  16. 17. Handling Oppressor Characteristics <ul><li>It is no doubt in anyone's mind that white people have been the lead oppressors in society since the days the colonies were being formed through the use of taking away land and ravaging people's lives. Today, it is hard to hear the horrible events white people have caused throughout time. This has resulted in the feeling of guiltiness towards other races. Reparations have been made throughout time. This consists of money, apologies, and ratifying laws in favor of other races. In my opinion, giving gifts aren't going to help in the long run. I do agree with every law that favors people of other races. I think the best approach should be meetings with other people and holding seminars on oppression. That way, white people can hear out the many ways people of other races feel oppressed to this very day. As what Ricky Sherover-Marcuse states “No one is genetically born to oppress others.” </li></ul>
  17. 18. White Females in America <ul><li>Throughout history, the white female was left out between everything that went on. They were never land owners themselves. In fact, their lives were dictated by white men as well. Women weren't even allowed to vote until 1890. Before that, women weren't even allowed to work, let alone work in the same facilities as men did and have the same jobs they did as well. Women were less educated throughout the years and were put into “gender roles” which consisted of cooking, cleaning, bearing/raising children and asking permission of the husband for particular activities. This idea was portrayed in media. In the hit television series “I Love Lucy”, Lucy is always getting in trouble for going against the wishes of her Husband. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Relations: Personal Life <ul><li>My family and I have endured patterns of oppression throughout time. Together, we have overcome these problems through the use of talking things out, but unfortunately, things don't always turn out to be in our favor. My family and I will never forget the time that we were using the pool and an African American woman came up to us and said that we had to leave so that she could use the pool without white people being in her way. My Mother tried to calm the woman down by saying that we can all share the pool together and didn't understand why she hated white people. As my Mother talked more to this woman, the woman became increasingly mad and attempted violence upon my Mother in the presence of my Father, my brother and I. My brother was 7 years old and I was 8 years old. My Father had to call the police on her and we didn't hear from her since. While many assume that racism is between a white person hating on someone else of race, it's never always a one-sided event. I have endured racist patterns like that throughout life-this has left me doubting myself, and has left my family skeptical of trusting others. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Relations: Personal Life Cont... <ul><li>Until recently, when I learned about white privilege in this course, I never knew what it was, or if it even existed for that matter. I thought to myself “How am I privileged because I am white?” and “Does it differ for me in some form because I am a female as well?” In a sense, I do have white privilege I do not get followed around in malls being accused of shop lifting and there are no areas around where I live that I am afraid to enter because I think that they would act racist upon me. I am never turned down for anything because of my race. I think the experience may be different for me because I grew up in racially diverse neighborhoods throughout all of my life, but the more I think about it, the more I can agree that yes, white privilege does exist. I will admit that this is a comfort that I wouldn't want to give up-rather, this is a comfort that I feel all races should have. Being judged based on the color of your skin has been wrong throughout all of time. Throughout my educational experience, I have been called “stupid white girl” and “honky” just by people looking at me-I didn't even have to say a word. </li></ul>
  20. 21. Relations: Personal Life Cont... <ul><li>I think that my experience may also be different based on the fact that I am female. Statistics show that for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 77 cents of that dollar with equal work involved. I feel that my privilege is different based on the fact that I am a female is because I feel that I could never obtain the stature many males achieve throughout life. I feel that there are certain areas of the world upon which I never wish to visit because of the way they automatically treat any woman there. These places exist in the United States, where some states in the South don't believe in woman's rights. It has been rumored that President George W. Bush doesn't necessarily believe in woman's right to chose as well. I also feel that I will never obtain a truly high position in any company I work for simply because I am female. This has caused me to doubt the ability to succeed within myself. </li></ul>
  21. 22. Room for Improvement of White Culture <ul><li>Recognizing oppressors/oppression of other cultures. Be open to discuss issues </li></ul><ul><li>Not holding resentment from the fact that we are culturally “left out” (lack of acknowledgment ) </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizing “white privilege ” and working towards “universal privilege ” </li></ul><ul><li>Fight for freedom of other cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Stand up when racism is happening </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrating diversity and own culture that many whites don't acknowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Become economically aware (red lining, education system, etc.) </li></ul>
  22. 23. Personal Racial Improvements <ul><li>I Promise... </li></ul><ul><li>To truly “love thy neighbor”- stand up for them when they are being treated unfairly by society. </li></ul><ul><li>To recognize the fact that I may be more privileged than others; and try to change that idea </li></ul><ul><li>To participate in my community in order to promote equality </li></ul><ul><li>To become more politically active in order to stand up for what is right-equality for all races! </li></ul>
  23. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>One word: forgiveness. “Either kindly or cruelly, each of us was probably made to turn off our healing process whenever it started to operate.”-Harvey Jackins. Without allowing the healing process to happen, (co- counseling as Jackins would suggest) everyone would harbor deep seeded emotions of racism towards one another. White people are not to blame for all of the worlds problems, but the problems that white people collectively have caused should be forgiven. Without it, how could we ever move on? The culture of white people is essential for personal identification. Without knowing ourselves, how could we learn to forgive? These are the roots of the seemingly relentless force of oppression. It is up to every race in the world to come together and cure the “oppression curse.” </li></ul>
  24. 25. Bibliography <ul><ul><li>1.)&quot;Andy Warhol.&quot; Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 20 Mar. 2008. Wikkipedia Foundation Inc. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Warhol>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2.)&quot;Women's Rights.&quot; Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Mar. 2008. Wikipedia Inc. 26 Mar. 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_rights>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3.)&quot;William Dwight Whitney.&quot; Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 31 Dec. 2007. Wikipedia Inc. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Dwight_Whitney>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4.)&quot;Nuclear Family.&quot; Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 13 Mar. 2008. Wikipedia Inc. 26 March 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_family>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5.)&quot;History of the United States.&quot; Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 19 Mar. 2008. Wikipedia Inc. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_History>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6.)&quot;DNA.&quot; Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Mar. 2008. Wikipedia Inc. 26 Mar. 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA#History_of_DNA_research>. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Bibliography Cont... <ul><ul><li>7.) &quot;I Love Lucy.&quot; IMDb: Internet Movie Data Base. 2008. Amazon.com . 26 Mar. 2008 <http://imdb.com/title/tt0043208/>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8.) “Andy Warhol” IMDb: Internet Movie Data Base. 2008. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon.com 26 Mar. 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>< http://imdb.com/find?s=all&q=Andy+Warhol&x=0&y=0/ >. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9.) Sherover-Marcuse, Ricky. &quot;Liberation Theory: A Working Framework.&quot; Unlearning Racism: Ricky's Writings. 2000. UnlearningRacism.org. 26 Mar. 2008 < http://www.unlearningracism.org/writings/lib_theory.htm >. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10.) McIntosh, Peggy. &quot;White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.&quot; White Privilege. 1990. Indepedent School. 26 Mar. 2008 < http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/ Unpacking.html>. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11.) &quot;What Louie Does.&quot; What Louie Does: Blogspot. 8 Mar. 2007. Blogspot.com. 26 Mar. 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li><http://louiesaunders.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-have-so-many-great-pictures-that-no.html>. </li></ul></ul>