I’ve participated in a diversity activity where people are asked to list the traits of a race. This can be a confrontational exercise depending on what people say. For example, people always come up with adjectives for black people from a great musical tradition or a unique religious community, to more racist descriptors like: they all have rhythm or they’re all good at sports. Participants are often left wanting when describing whites, except for stereotypes like: we all want a white picket fence, or we’re all rich and fat.
The white race has a lot to offer and has contributed so much to the world. To balance out the pointed criticism I’ve had for my own race, this post is to highlight what makes white people great.
Bottom line, we are the most diverse group in the world. No race shares the type of physical diversity we have. Anyone who’s classified as not white but has anything other than black hair and brown eyes, has at least a smidgen of white heritage in them. We don hair that’s black, brown, red, blond, curly, wavy, and straight. We offer brown eyes, green eyes, hazel, and blue. Our skin colors range from snow white to golden, olive, tan, and brown. We add so much color to life just by being alive.
My mother has black hair and brown eyes and in her youth maintained a natural olive complexion. My father has blond hair and blue eyes and coaxed a gold tan in his youth. My sisters and I have brown hair, their eyes brown, mine blue. (I got the Celtic genes so I don’t tan so well at all.) Different ethnicities, noses, cheekbones, and lips – who says diversity isn’t beautiful?
In developing a healthy outlook on race, it’s important to acknowledge not just the hegemony that exists, but to identify the positive traits that each race does have to offer. This can be tricky since so much of one’s race is a social construction and we can quickly fall into stereotypes or racist ‘dumb blond’ jokes, so starting with phenotype works well.
Throughout the few thousand years of the white race’s existence (when races differentiated will be a future post), we’ve built republics not just colonies, freedom of religion not just religious dominance, sanitation and medical advancements not just genocide and death. Luckily, whites settled in Europe with access to a plethora of grains and livestock, a diversity of its own. This has contributed significantly to the leg-up we’ve had in the history of humanity.
What are some other positive traits of whites, either unique or shared with other races? For a funnier take that offers both accurate generalizations and perhaps a few stereotypes (though fortunately I’ve yet to see any negative ones), see Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander: http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/