The Fears Of White People Cultural Studies Essay

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The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact that some of what we white people have is unearned. It is a truism that we dont really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to achieve whatever we achieve. (Jensen, 1)

When reflecting on this statement you start to see that what Jensen is telling us is very true. Since born, and while growing up, many white people have been "handed" everything needed to succeed and receive the necessary tools and help to achieve anything. We do not realize this because many of us are continually congratulated on the success actually fostered through the people who love and care for us. What people need to realize is that there are people who are not born into these situations, and are continually fighting to get away from their abusive families that do not support them.

"A second fear is crasser: White peoples fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic. political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable." (Jensen, 1)

Everyone fears losing something that they are accustomed to, whether it be material goods, social status, or power. People are often affected psychologically when they lose something, and for whites, it would make them feel less superior than other races if they did lose something. Some whites feel that they lose power when other races break through barriers and become more powerful than they are. Jensen reaffirms the idea that people are born into a society where "affluence" and "material comfort" will obviously affect how someone feels and reacts to losing whatever they have lost.

"A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow "they" are going to keep moving to this country and at some point become the majority demographically." (Jensen, 1)

Whites have continually been at the top of the United States hierarchy since its existence, after we pushed out Native American Indians and separated them from our society. As the United States continually evolves into a melting pot of many ethnic backgrounds, whites may eventually become the minority. This fear can easily be felt many whites and can ignite forms of racism because of peoples continued fear of losing power held in being the majority. This often makes people feel that their own race is jeopardized because of an overflow of different races immigrating to this country somehow threaten their own existence.

"Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but most of us know it is there." (Jensen, 2)

Robert Jensen brings up a great point by confronting the reader with the fact that we all have been or had "racist" opinions or thoughts. The statement Jensen raises is, partially, the reality of the world today. Americans are ingrained with the idea that other cultures, religions, and most importantly, people of different ethnic backgrounds and skin colors come from what many would call a "lower class". I do believe, however, that racism is slowly being broken by modern society, because we are ever more craving to have a world view. Racism can only occur if someone voices their opinion. This sparks a chain gain of sorts and causes hate against someone over something they can't control. This is why there was a racial war in 1960's. People unknowingly were pushed and forced to oppress black American citizens, much like a playground bully has control over his friends. What Jansen fails to do is show that he was probably born and raised during a time of racial injustice in the United States. Attitudes and opinions greatly change over time, and as older generations dwindle, you will see younger generations growing up with an entirely different world view.

"I was afraid that some lingering trace of racism would show through, and that my black colleague would identity it for all in the room to see. After I publicly recognized the fear, I think I started to let go of some of it." (Jensen, 2)

I think there are some white people who feel this way, and everyone at some point, has been afraid to be thought of or called racist, even though they may not be. For those who often get this feeling, it doesn't mean it is a bad reaction and when you think about it is almost natural to have these feelings at some time or another. Having these feelings just means that we are aware of our surroundings and that we could potentially be thought of as racist for our remarks or opinions. It is important for people to voice these concerns because it makes everyone more comfortable in the situation.

Sexism and Misogyny: Who Takes the Rap?

"To White dominated mass media, the controversy over gangsta rap makes great spectacle. Besides the exploitation of these issues to attract audiences, a central motivation for highlighting gangsta rap continues to be the sensationalist drama of demonizing black youth culture in general and the contributions of young black men in particular." (Hooks, 1)

Hooks engages the reader with the idea of how media can easily demonize a culture by associating a certain race with that of gangsta rap. I personally do agree with Hooks' statement, but I think she fails to realize why the media targets gangsta rap with a negative facade. The reason why the media has taken such a stance against gangsta rap is because it can be a violent form of art to many people. Also, people have to realize that these artists are expressing their own opinion and exposing the reality in which they grew up with. This is obviously not the reality of those in the media who create a different image.

"As the crudest and most brutal expression of sexism, misogynistic attitudes tend to be portrayed by the dominant culture as an expression of male deviance. In reality they are part of a sexist continuum, necessary for the maintenance of patriarchal social order." (Hooks, 1)

Reflecting on Hooks' idea, you are able to see that male deviance is what causes misogyny in society. Misogyny is caused because men feel a sense of power when they dominate woman in whatever role they may serve. This is illustrated in gangsta rap in lyrics and videos that depict misogyny. I think what Hooks is trying to show her audience is that it does not matter what race you are from, that misogyny is apparent in all walks of life. While it is glorified in gangsta rap, many people do not realize that it is a common thread in the fabric of what many white male fathers use in their households.

"Without a doubt black males, young and old, must be held politically accountable for their sexism. Yet this critique must always be contextualized or we risk making it appear that the behaviors this thinking supports and condones,--rape, male violence against woman, etc.-- is a black male thing." (Hooks, 1)

Hooks is demonstrating in the passage that sexism of any kind should not be tolerated on any level. But the broader context of what Hooks is saying shows that any person who demonstrates sexism should be held responsible for actions they have taken. I believe she is trying to show that black males are often the targets of this conception rather than just being another statistic to the many races that are involved in this ever evolving sexist train of thinking. This definitely rings true because anytime I watch television I am usually exposed to the "black man" beating the innocent woman.

"That means taking a critical looking at the politics of hedonistic consumerism, the values of the men and woman who produce gangsta rap. It would mean considering the seduction of young black males who find that they can make more money producing lyrics that promote violence, sexism, and misogyny than any other content." (Hooks, 2)

Hooks is saying that rappers have become caught up with dollar signs in their eyes while they create lyrics for their songs. This means that they are creating these lyrics with the intent of gaining more money because of explicit material. As we all know, controversial material will always sell more than something that is censored of this. Gangsta rappers are continually creating lyrics that have "sex, drugs, money, violence" because these things are what their audience perceives to be what is cool. This style of music will continue to have profanities as long as the artists are continuing to sell records and make money.

"Gangsta rap is part of the anti-feminist backlash that is the rage right now. When young black males labor in the plantations of misogyny and sexism to produce gangsta rap, their right to speak this violence and be materially rewarded is extended to them by white supremacist capitalist patriarchy." (Hooks, 5)

In this passage, Hooks states to the reader that the idea that gangsta rap is gratifying to the artist because it is part of a style that is popular and produces an anti-feminist backlash. These young rappers can easily be viewed by the white supremacist society as a lower class because of the music they are producing. Personally, I feel as though gangsta rap can be an integral of racism because it illustrates a world that so many "whites" are against. This feeds racial hatred to the point that anytime a white person is to see a black person they have the idea that that person is what is depicted in these songs.

Finding Room for "Whatever": A Critical Approach to Antiracist Composition Pedagogy

"Racism is so often expressed in covert ways. Legally we are all the same -- no three-fifths law, "protection" from racism in the workplace -- yet the victims of oppression continually shout that the supposed equality we posses is not the reality we face daily." (Marrero, 1)

In reality, Marrero brings up a great point that we rarely face. We don't always let other races use their own voice or language to express themselves. While the law may say we are the same, in many instances and in many institutions we are very separated by rules that are put into place to establish a "norm" among all individuals. This slowly eliminates the very individuality that we are all so often told to exemplify. How is someone able to show their own individuality if they are going to be persecuted for doing so? Thus, it easy for any person who is not white to continually feel as though they are the victim of racism.

"Culture and language cannot be divorced: language is informed by culture and its norms and values. What is important to an ethnic group is reflected in its language's vocabulary; the way in which an ethnic group thinks is reflected in the structure of its language (Sapir). And if culture and language cannot be divorced, then neither can race and language." (Marrero, 5)

Marrero is showing the audience that culture and language should never and can never be divided because it is important to realize the strong relationship the two carry with each other. I agree with the idea that ethnic groups are reflected in their own language's vocabulary. There are many dialects associated with many different types of ethnic groups and it is important for all people to recognize the differences and the strengths that each one of these languages carry. To do this, teachers should be able to highlight students that use their own person voice and language rather than trying to adhere to a certain style.

"The importance of race and language creates an opportunity for significant activism on the part of English professors---and, since writing is an essential part of most scholarly work, by extension all professors." (Marrero, 6)

Professors have the opportunity to create an arena inside the classrooms that allow students to develop an understanding that each race and language has its own special significance. Many professors want students to write a certain way in a certain style, thus ruining the writer's own personal voice and language. I think it is important that professors use this skill because it allows people to understand the diverse languages of people from different ethnic backgrounds. It causes them to realize we are all uniquely different in our own way and hopefully this will be relevant to breakdown the barrier in future classrooms.

"As more professors embrace a true shift away from racist hegemony and its language and move toward inclusivity of so-called "nonstandard" language and worldviews, change is affected on an institutional level." (Marrero, 7)

Marrero writes that professors are really the ones who are in control at the institutional level and can change and embrace "nonstandard" language that is often used by students. By doing this, they are allowing students to develop their own personal voice with their own language and not restricting the development of creative skills. If a professor was to create these limitations and restrict the student from having these freedoms, they would not be able to divulge on past experiences that have brought them to where they are standing today. Teachers should be able to accept that students have different past experiences that shape how they write and think.

"Teaching composition from a dominant paradigm is inherently alienating to people of color: people of color's identities, experiences, and ways of communicating are often outside the very restricted language and the very limited representations of people like them in the stories they read." (Marrero, 10)

Marrero brings up a very interesting point when showing the reader that people are sometimes limited in ways of communicating because of the classroom setting they are surrounded with. When you reflect on how many teachers use "dominant paradigms" in their teachings, you begin to realize that students voices are inherently constrained. You then begin to ask yourself the scary questions of "how many people have already been restricted from using their own voice and how many continue to be in this situation today?" People are unable to develop a broader world view unless we are able to listen to how other people communicate.