Decoding the Crisit of White Identity
The newspaper heading Behind 2016’s Turmoil, a Crisis of White Identity appeared innocent enough to perk curiosity to read the article, yes? From the first line “Call it the crisis of whiteness” insights fear, threatening the existence of whiteness; therefore, take up arms because something is wrong. As you read the article, become mindful of the many strong emphases of threatening language to discourage social evolution and transformation. Change occurs regardless of our resistance to retain what we perceive is good; often it opens to another level of expanded experiences, some requiring adjustments. What stood out in the article was paragraph 12 “…academic research suggests that other economic and social transformations unfolding at the same time have led many people to anchor themselves more fully in their whiteness.” The implication is that whiteness has lost value, which fuels racial hierarchy.
When we entertain the mindset of personal gains and losses based on race, we further perpetuate a multi-dimensional network of oppressive practices that has no racial barriers. Oppressive practices, policies, and laws that constrict, marginalize, and disenfranchise targeted populations affect everyone. The article discloses this very fact by stating “For generations, working-class whites were doubly blessed: They enjoyed privileged status based on race, as well as the fruits of broad economic growth.” When we deconstruct the words, we see the word “blessed” implying that “working-class whites” differed from other working-class people. “White people’s officially privileged status waned over the later half of the 20th century with the demise of discriminatory practices” meaning that the “blessing” was crafted in laws and policies that restricted access to others and that over time affected everyone. Behind 2016’s Turmoil, a Crisis of White Identity demands a deeper conversation on race.
Simona L. Brickers, Affective Leadership Language Practitioner