What does it mean to Interrupt Whiteness?
Well, in a world where Whiteness has been raised as a more-than better-than higher-than standard of beauty/worth/intelligence/rightness and so much more, this is clearly something we need to figure out, if we in fact do believe that all races are created equal – not the same, but equal.
Colourblindness is not a healthy option because on the one hand it refuses to acknowledge that many people have been pushed down and trodden on because of their race and so if we choose colourblindness we won’t be able to affectively recognise and to some extent put right the wrongs of the past. On the other hand it misses out on the incredible things that different races have to bring to the table – so sights and sounds and skills and tastes and styles and more – how do we find ways of celebrating the uniqueness of a person and a group in a way that celebrates who they are as an equal bit different person in the world?
One of the ways we need to be doing this is by getting creative about how we interrupt whiteness. In Hollywood for example, twenty years ago [and sadly, still quite often today] if you were a person of colour watching a movie, then chances are huge that the only person you would be able to identify with [in terms of someone who looked like you] would be the bad guy or the help [ranging from cleaner and gardener all the way down to servant and slave] or perhaps the third person [and token person of colour in the group] to be killed in a teen slasher movie.
Whereas a white person would be able to resonate with the adventurer, with the scientist, the love interest, the president, the head of the company, the leader of the group, the astronaught, the sheriff and, in perhaps the most bizarre twist of all of those, with the Messiah. Remember Jesus, the middle eastern man born in the middle east and depicted as a white man for most of His grown life?
Things are changing, but there is a long way to go – only being able to but white dolls, only seeing white faces in the media in terms of beauty mags or standards of good living – these things are shifting, but we each need to see where we can help it move along faster.
i am hoping to find a number of people who will write some posts for me on this topic and so this is the intro page for that. If you have a creative idea about how we can practically interrupt whiteness, drop me an email on email@example.com and let’s get them out there.
Plus a bonus clip by the very great Eddie Izzard on the Whiteness of Jesus: