WEIRD, White Ideas

What DEI and Critical Theorists Get Wrong About “Whiteness”

Thomas St Thomas

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From the Whitecard

What is a “white idea”? What exactly is “whiteness”? Well, as silly as it sounds, Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) organizations that help to form policy for governmental and private organizations have often framed certain personal characteristics as being forms of “whiteness” or even “white supremacy.”

Originally produced and displayed by the Smithsonian Institute

This is what they’re doing and what they think: Whiteness is the cultural framework for white majority societies characterized by expectations that are culturally specific to success for white people. So any non-white people living in a culture dominated by “white ideas” are at an automatic disadvantage. Those who are successful in those societies are internalizing whiteness or white supremacy to win the game of whiteness. Or as Michael Eric Dyson says, “they are internalizing white racism.”

But people who think like this are making the same mistake their gender ideology comrades are making when they tell us that gender is a social construct. What they define as “whiteness” and gender are social constructs, but they’re tied to underlying realities which produce those constructs. They’re not the arbitrary brain child of people who seek to oppress others. You cannot simply wish them away or even force people not to produce and live amongst those constructs.

What people identify as “whiteness” is truly the characteristic of any Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) society. “Whiteness” is the consequence of being WEIRD.
(Joseph Henrich’s book on this psychological evolution details this beyond the primary paper linked above.)

Most people properly grimace at the idea that “whiteness” can be described as punctuality, scientific reasoning, hard work, the focus on the family and other seemingly normal or virtuous characteristics. It obviously has racist overtones. But there is a second group of people who have suspended disbelief and taken it as the proper framework within which to view and act in our world.

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Thomas St Thomas

I’ve got questions. Writing helps me find the answers. Husband, dad, Afghan vet, healthcare process consultant, former fitness guru.