The Ghost of No-Belonging
Benjamin Schulz
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Difference is important to acknowledge for PoC. Articulating otherness, cultural difference, and embracing what ‘they’ actually means within institutionalized structures created by folks who are primarily white (usually male), has created very meaningful critical thought for PoC to understand themselves within these systems. Within colonized culture, within the present, and also, explaining problematic histories that inform one’s current identity and understanding of who and why they are.

I understand the intentions of your writing and the importance of dismissing white people from identifying with white. So perhaps your writing is not for me or does not address me, and that is fine.

To describe whiteness as a ghost, it feels very similar to what white privilege truly is, that it’s something you can cast aside and not think about it. How lucky it must be to not think of one’s own difference, when this difference is constantly reminded of PoC on a daily basis.

PoC can never cast away their difference, their history, the racism experienced that informs their being, multi-generational trauma passed down from parents to children, the physical difference that makes their culture and identity. It’s an important part of being.

Maybe it’s not productive to describe whiteness as an exorcism. Maybe, it’s about understanding a longstanding haunting, or how one’s life is interwoven within a history of graveyards, and to learn how to navigate an existence perforated by ghosts. It’s problematic to me for white folks to not own one’s inherent ghost, or whiteness, and recognize that it will never be exorcised (you will never be other) and that this privilege, this ghost, is something you must live with forever and negotiate it’s sticky existence. Maybe it’s recognizing that white folks live with a hungry ghost that remains with you forever — and, how you choose to feed this ghost is a part of the important choices that people must make.

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