Week 5 Reflection Post

The interplay between individualism and racism is one that is incredibly complex.  For example, the main crux of racism is the idea that one’s racism is superior to either another specific race or all of the races.  When Adolf Hitler talked about the Aryan Race, he touted it as the most superior of all the races.  Racism preys on the idea that a group is all the same and the group as a whole is better than those who are different.  In that sense, individualism and racism are polar opposites.  Racism is not looking for individuals it is looking for conformity.  What is interesting to me, however, is that racism is so embedded in history that there is an element of individuality to the race, itself.  While the individuals are not seen as individuals, rather as part of one homogenous blob, the collective does have an aspect of individualism.

When it comes to whiteness as a racial category, I think this is partly a failure in “white” households to hold up the cultural differences that make everyone unique.  At the same time, however, when I look at the idea of whiteness, I see it as a primarily American problem.  As someone who grew up here, I am not aware of this idea of whiteness as a racial category being prevalent in Italy or France or Eastern Europe.  Because of this, I think using race as an identifier is incredibly unfair and inaccurate.  Whiteness should not be an identifier, an individual’s cultural background should be an identifier.  Someone who is white and from Georgia is incredibly different than someone who is white and from Oregon or Canada.  Race is the easy way to describe or classify someone and it is a cop-out.

2 thoughts on “Week 5 Reflection Post

  1. Your definition of racism in your first paragraph really made me stop and take a moment to think before I found myself agreeing with what you had said. The idea of a group of people being all the same and being about conformity is a very unique way of defining racism that I feel is very accurate. Individualism and racism are very different indeed.

    I think you make a very interesting point in your last paragraph when you discuss how “whiteness should not be an identifier, an individual’s cultural background should be an identifier”. Everyone is different because of where and how they were raised, and different life experiences that they have had. So, as you say, a white person from one state is different from a white person from another state or another country. Describing someone based on their “race” is just scraping the surface of who that person could possibly be.

  2. Originally, in my post I said that the interplay between individualism and racism was rather simple but after reading your post I can see the logic behind your point of view. I agree that racism is about conformity. I also thought that the homogeneous blob was a fascinating point. I understand the point you’re making about the whiteness is interesting. I strongly agree with “white households” not teaching and passing on their culture to their children. I think that sometimes white privilege makes white people complacent. I don’t think that white people are cultureless. I believe that that is a naive statement. Every person came from somewhere and has a culture of their own.

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