Thursday, November 08, 2007

more on being white.

did i ever tell you that in jr high history class the teacher told me to stand up and one other girl and then said

"see class, they are an example of the Aryan Race. Hitler would have killed and or enslaved all the rest of you."

we were horrified.

and it didn't help us make friends at that school either.


Anonymous said...

Just be thankful you're not straight or male into the bargain. There's no redemption from that combination as far as I can tell. It's original sin under another name. I guess people don't get any smarter through history.

kathryn l. pringle said...

yes, i get what yr saying anonymous. but, also, i "pass" as a hetero in many places, even w/ other homos, and it is still uncomfortable.

i could go far into the queer publishing world and how i'm not GAY ENOUGH to be a part of it somehow... or is it that my poems aren't gay?

pam said...

This story makes me feel sad and angry and I'm sorry it happened to you.

kathryn l. pringle said...

it makes me sad and angry, too.

judy j said...

OH MY GOD! That is so messed UP!

by the way, you are so gay.

kathryn l. pringle said...


it is something that i've thought about over the years and wondered about. i understad what the teacher was trying to do... his intentions were good, i think... but maybe he didn't realize what that would do to me growing up.

thanks for saying i'm gay enough. i still don't know if my poems need to be gay to be in gay anthologies or just me. ;)

i'm just writing to distract myself from losing Poodelicious.

wk said...

Like, I’m probably the only commenter that is unknown to the circle of bloggers posting here, but babbling on about whiteness is a cherished past-time in my household and I pass up no opportunity to engage. I, like Zurawski, am a Polish-American from Newark living in San Francisco that misses ethnic whites. Working-class whites actually, with their penchant for retaining a sense of ethnicity. And it isn’t so much being separated from the various ethno-cultural characteristics of my old Italian-Polish-Irish-Columbian-Puerto Rican neighborhood that unnerves; the being thrust into the homogenous IKEAness (ibookness?) of Bay Area whitedom but rather the assumptions about my class that I encounter in my interactions with whites and people of color alike--and basically universally. Its class that makes living in San Francisco difficult for a white ethnic. I feel much more comfortable on Mission Street than in the Haight, yet as a Mission resident, I feel my status as a gentrifier sharply (though I was born to a 16 year old mother with less than a high school education whose great-great grandfather was a peasant legally bound to an agricultural life with little more freedom than African-Americans had under the institution of slavery in this country. Our migration to the US roughly coincided with the “Great Migration” from the South to the North and for similar reasons). Just about anywhere else in San Francisco is so seething with wealth (and that monied, homogenous whiteness that I so poorly relate to) that my sense of alienation makes residing in other neighborhoods much less appealing. Yes, I can “pass”; I’m physically privileged in my assimilableness, but obviously there are psychological considerations that make this difficult (and undesirable--I‘m no assimilationist).

Class lines in coastal California are drawn on top of race lines, which just isn’t the case in New York. I don’t remember ever feeing that people assumed I was rich or educated because I was white. I’ve often wondered if this class=race culture of California has in some important way been responsible for the lack of class consciousness and acute race consciousness among working-class artists (and the blurring of class dynamics within ethnic groups that virtually silences any discussion about the class power that wealthier, educated people of color exercise over the working-class people of color they often identify with and speak for). I’m not saying that class OUGHT to trump race or ethnicity, but it seems dangerous to let the later fully eclipse the important economic forms of exploitation would exist even in an unracist society.

Anonymous said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....

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