Thursday, March 25, 2010

We White Folks


I happen to be very, very white, as you can see from the picture. I don't normally spend much time thinking about it, because I've been white for as long as I can remember, but today...it was brought drastically to my attention.

I was perusing the Kern Valley Sun's website today, reading letters to the editor, when I came across this quote from a local resident named Tiffany:

"You White Folks have profited from the Native Americans long enough."

I should have let it slide. I should have just prayed for the person, ignored it and moved on with my day- but something inside me rebelled.

I am a high school teacher. I pay my taxes and do my best to make the world around me a better place. I know that I live and work in a place that used to belong exclusively to the Native Americans. I do feel a little sad by that...but I'm not really sure what to do about it.

I am not out extracting money from poor innocent native americans named Tiffany. Perhaps there are "white folks" out there doing that. But I do not think it is fair to lump every white person in the Kern River Valley into their number.

So I wrote this poem and sent it in to the comments on the website:

We White Folks

You White folks.

Why do those words make my spine grow chill?

The barbarianism of my forefathers damns me, is that it?

I am just a person trying to make my way in this world, just like you.

And my skin just happens to be white.

That doesn’t make me less of a person,

And it doesn’t make me any better or worse than you. "


Perhaps I wasted my time. As a member of a dominant culture, I guess I shouldn't take offense at things like this.

I'm white. I can't control that. My skin is pasty, my hair is mousy, and my thighs are huge. It's the way I was born. I don't go tanning to try to obtain a more socially-acceptable skin tone because I'll probably get skin cancer- plus, I have better things to do with my time and if God made me the shade of a hard boiled egg, why should I try to change that?

5 comments:

  1. Very well put Sandra. There is enough of what people are doing wrong right now without reaching back through time and digging up old wounds. Lets work on fixing the hear and now.

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  2. nicely done..I am about up to here with being blamed for everything under the sun

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  3. Well, put, well put. If anyone had said "Those indians...... " Well don't you know that would have been the worst. I like the way you think.It is very logical and intelligent. Did you go to Oxford?

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  4. Well, as a matter of fact, Anonymous...I did get to spend a semester studying Literature at Oxford. I guess it shows.

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  5. Give back the land!!!!!!!! Give it to the first person with native american blood you can find!!!! Oh wait, we've been traced to the Wompanoags. I guess you're the closest Native American around.

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