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Whites

  • America was founded on a genocide, on the unquestioned assumption of the right of white Europeans to exterminate a resident, technologically backward, colored population in order to take over the continent.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "What's Happening in America," Styles of Radical Will ()
  • The truth is that Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Marx, Balanchine ballet, et al., don't redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history, it is the white race, and it alone — its ideologies and inventions — which eradicates autonomous civilization wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.

  • White hate crimes, white hate speech. I still try to claim I wasn't brought up to hate. But hate isn't the half of it. I grew up in the vast encircling presumption of whiteness — that primary quality of being which knows itself, its passions, only against an otherness that has to be dehumanized. I grew up in white silence that was utterly obsessional. Race was the theme whatever the topic.

  • Native always means people who belong somewhere else, because they had once belonged somewhere. That shows that the white race does not really think they belong anywhere because they think of everybody else as native.

  • Whites were as constant in our history as the seasons and as unfamiliar as affluence.

  • I believe deeply in a common humanity. The black man belongs to the family of man. One part of that family is out of control — like a virus or cancer — and that is the white man. He and his technological society are bent on destroying the world. Everywhere the white man has gone with his empire, he has destroyed people, races, societies, cultures, and in the course of it, has sterilized himself. He is completely the mechanical man: without heart, without soul. He is the Tin Man of The Wizard of Oz. But I don't believe that all the white people in the world are no good.

    • Margaret Walker,
    • in Nikki Giovanni and Margaret Walker, A Poetic Equation ()
  • Far as I'm concerned, friendship between black and white don't mean that much 'cause it usually ain't on a equal basis. ... Maybe one day whites and blacks can be real friends, but right now the country ain't built that way.

  • [To the South African parliament:] I do not know why we equate — and with the examples before us — a white skin with civilization.

    • Helen Suzman,
    • in Celean Jacobson, Associated Press story ()
  • Collectively black people remain rather silent about representations of whiteness in the black imagination. As in the old days of racial segregation where black folks learned to 'wear the mask,' many of us pretend to be comfortable in the face of whiteness only to turn our backs and give expression to intense levels of discomfort. Especially talked about is the representation of whiteness as terrorizing. ... Looking past stereotypes to consider various representations of whiteness in the black imagination, I appeal to memory, to my earliest recollections of ways these issues were raised in black life. Returning to memories of growing up in the social circumstances created by racial apartheid, to all black spaces on the edges of town, I reinhabit a location where black folks associated whiteness with the terrible, the terrifying, the terrorizing. White people were regarded as terrorists, especially those who dared to enter that segregated space of blackness. ... Even though it was a long time ago ... associations of whiteness with terror and the terrorizing remain. Even though I live and move in spaces where I am surrounded by whiteness, there is no comfort that makes the terrorism disappear. All black people in the United States, irrespective of their class status or politics, live with the possibility that they will be terrorized by whiteness.

  • Although there has never been any official body of black people in the United States who have gathered as anthropologists and/or ethnographers to study whiteness, black folks have, from slavery on, shared in conversations with one another 'special' knowledge of whiteness gleaned from close scrutiny of white people. Deemed special because it was not a way of knowing that has been recorded fully in written material, its purpose was to help black folks cope and survive in a white supremacist society. For years, black domestic servants, working in white homes, acting as informants, brought knowledge back to segregated communities — details, facts, observations, and psychoanalytic readings of the white Other.

  • The psychological consequences of this spread of white culture have been out of all proportion to the materialistic. This world-wide cultural diffusion has protected us as man had never been protected before from having to take seriously the civilizations of other peoples; it has given to our culture a massive universality that we have long ceased to account for historically, and which we read off rather as necessary and inevitable.

  • To ignore white ethnicity is to redouble its hegemony by naturalizing it.

    • Coco Fusco,
    • in bell hooks, "Representing Whiteness: Seeing Wings of Desire," Zeta ()
  • ... she belonged to that group of Americans which thinks that God or Nature created only one perfect race — the Caucasians.

  • How in the hell could God take the black earth and make himself a white man out of it?

  • ... if you hated white people, they would just hate you back, and nothing would change in the world; and if you didn't hate them after the way they treated you, you would end up hating yourself, and nothing would change that way, either. So it was no good to hate them, and it was no good not to hate them. So nothing changed.

  • I would have to say that all white people are naïve about the persistence of the color line. We prefer naïveté — in fact we insist on it. If we as white poeple actually faced the entrenched injustice of our socioeconomic system and our cultural arrogance, we might suffer tears, we might suffer the enormous weight of history, we might face the iceberg of guilt which is the underside of privilege. We might begin to glimpse our losses, our estrangement from others, our intense fear as the result of a social system that places us in the precarious position of the top. We might be moved to call out and protest the cruelty that passes for normal behavior in our daily lives, in our cities, and on our streets.

    • Ann Filemyr,
    • in Marita Golden and Susan Richards Shreve, eds., Skin Deep ()
  • The Indian never hurts anything, but the white people destroy all ... How can the spirit of the earth like the white man? That is why God will upset the world — because it is sore all over. Everywhere the white man has touched it, it is sore.

    • Pretty-shield,
    • in Frank Bird Linderman, Pretty-Shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows ()
  • The Gringo, locked into the fiction of white superiority, seized complete political power, stripping Indians and Mexicans of their land while their feet were still rooted in it. Con el destierro y el exilo fuimos desuñados, destroncados, destripados — we were jerked out by the roots, truncated, disemboweled, dispossessed, and separated from our identity and our history.

  • 'Mos anytime you see whiteman spose to fight each other an' you not white, well you know you got trouble, because they blah-blah loud about Democrat or Republican an' they huffin' an' puff about democracy someplace else but relentless, see, the real deal come down evil on someday don' have no shirt an' tie, somebody don' live in no whiteman house no whiteman country.