Why is it so hard for Beck to define White culture – especially when he says Obama has a hatred of it?
What is “White culture”?
My personal take is that there is “White culture” just like there is “Black culture”. But just as within Black culture, White culture is not monolithic, nor should everyone who is White be stereotyped into a rigid Whiteness.*
An interesting characterization of “White culture” -in the shallow expression of culture** – is the Stuff White People Like Blog and the subsequent book Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. If you haven’t seen either they both contain a list of things that typically White people enjoy: farmer’s markets; bookstores; wine tasting; etc (Our of Ur and Urban Faith posted a interesting article about the potential of small groups being a White Christian thing.)
I actually don’t like the book/website because it is limited and Lander, the creator, is making misinformed generalizations. It is really only touching on one section of White America. I think about lower-class Whites, or blue-collar Whites, or inner-city Whites, or rural Whites, the book/website it isn’t really stuff “White” people like, it is stuff a certain level of educated and socialized White like.
But there is something important in the book/website. It affirms that there is a culture typical to Whites – more appropriately various White cultures within a boarder American experience. White folks who deny that they have a culture and assume that their actions are universally normal hinder actual multiculturalism, diversity and reconciliation because that perspective naturally color-blinds the world.
But again, it is also dangerous to ignore the diversity within Black and White folks – as well as Asians, Latinos etc. We literally make things black and white and don’t examine the variations and blending. So many Black folks have to fight the assumption that we ALL like, fried chicken, rap, baggy jeans, the N-word, basketball etc. and fight Being called “White” when we don’t like those things or happen to like NPR. Also, some white folks fight being called a “wigger” ( a common expression I heard when growing up) when they are genuinely a child of Hip Hop culture.
So I return to the original question, what is “White Culture”?
*The conversation is beyond just Black/White – but Beck’s comments and interaction with the issue of culture was/is mainly Black/White.
**There are deeper culture values that are help differently in different cultures (i.e. preception of eldery, perception of time, gender roles, role of religion etc.). These are perhaps the real difference that divide folks. Which is why people of different ethnicities seem to be able to increasingly feel capable of working together – a fairly shallow exercise – but struggle with worshiping and living together.