Friday, November 18, 2016

Obsessing over whiteness

I'm struck by the obsession with white evangelical voters. Shock, anger, and betrayal is expressed at the fact that "80%" of white evangelicals voted for Trump. 

Why are some "persons of color" so obsessed with whiteness? As a white man, I don't obsess over my whiteness. Why do some "persons of color" attach vastly greater importance to whiteness than many white folks do? 

Why single out whiteness? What makes that special? What makes that significant?

if we're going to cast the issue in racial terms, who did "persons of color" vote for in this election? Who did "evangelicals of color" vote for in this election? What are the percentages? Why is that not equally significant? 

A white evangelical is an evangelical who happens to be white. There are so many ways to define a person. Yes, race is one defining characteristic, but what makes that more important than age, sex, religion, social class, marital status, personal interests, &c?

Consider those body-swap experiments in science fiction. Suppose you must transfer your mind to another body to elude a bounty hunter. But no body is available that corresponds to your sex and race. You can either transfer your mind to a body of the same sex, but different race, or the same race, but different sex. Which will you opt for?

Surely any normal person would opt for a body of the same sex. Our sex is central to our personal identity in a way that our race is not. 

Sure, if I woke up tomorrow morning, looked in the bathroom mirror, and found a different race staring back at me, I'd have to make some adjustments. But that's nothing compared to swapping a male body for a female body, or vice versa.    

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