Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So You Think You Don't Folk Dance - being white

Zab said that being white is not just the colour of your skin.

Being white is a political and economic privilege, either constructed by history or by oneself.

I can construct this white space and I do, despite my chinese skin, very often, during the day.

I construct it in the way I speak. In the languages I choose to speak.
I construct it in the way I dress. In the way I gaze at other people.

On the bus, when I encounter incidents of racism, I construct this white space around me. I "become" white so that these moments of violence do not touch me.

When I am with other white people, I construct this space by keeping silent about the things that would bother them. By adopting an interest in subjects that they deem universal. Such as motherhood, being a woman, being in love.

But I KNOW I am constructing this. I KNOW what I am stealing, where I have stolen it from and what I am doing with it. I do not have the privilege of denial. I do not have this privilege, not because my skin is not white, but because I have bartered that privilege away for the privilege of being an artist.

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