On “White” American Culture

Okay, time for Rose’s unpopular opinion rant.

I wish people would stop saying there isn’t a “white” American culture. They say we can only be proud of our ancestral European heritage because black Americans had their ancestral African cultures stolen (by our ancestors). Somehow, black Americans deserve to have their own culture, but white Americans don’t. How does that make any sense? Our ancestral cultures may not have been stolen, but they were lost all the same.

First of all, if I go to England and claim to be English, they’re going to laugh in my face and tell me I’m American. I can no longer claim the culture of my ancestors. Neither can any of us whose families have been in the United States for more than a couple of generations. So what culture can we claim?

There’s a reason they call the United States a melting pot. European immigrants gave up a lot when they came here, including many parts of their cultures. What’s more American than pizza? Our Italian immigrants gave us that. What New Yorker doesn’t like a bagel? Jewish immigrants added that to our mix.

There is a culture that is distinct from those in Europe, from black American culture, from Chinese American culture, from Mexican American culture … It’s a bunch of European cultures melted into one, strange American thing. Most of the people who identify with this culture do happen to be white, but I still don’t feel comfortable calling it “white” American culture. It’s more like generic American culture or popular American culture.

But why is there this culture in America that is mostly white, that is prompting white supremacists to call it “white culture” and feel the need to protect it? Well, racism. Pervasive racism has kept the melting pot that is our country from melting down even further and creating one big, beautiful multiracial culture. Oh, there are pockets here and there where interracial families have melted a bit of culture with each passing generation. However, the majority of the country is still severely split.

There are those (like white supremacists) who will say it should be that way. You should be proud of your heritage and keep your culture separate. I’m sure there were plenty of European immigrants who felt the same way. Don’t marry the Catholic boy. Don’t go out with that German girl. I can’t believe you were impregnated by an Irish! But you know what? It fucking happened anyway. And now all those differences have been forgotten about in our little mixing bowl of “whiteness.”

Culture mixing is a thing in this country, and the only thing that is stopping it from happening is pervasive racism. So stop being so goddamned proud of your culture that you don’t want it to change for the better. Stop being so ashamed of your culture’s history that you deny its existence altogether. Acknowledge the past, open your eyes to the present, and move forward.

Author: Rose Virginia Butler

Rose Virginia Butler was raised among the fairies in the foothills of northern California, where she learned the magic of storytelling from a variety of wizards, witches, mermaids, and superheroes. To her chagrin, she was never kidnapped by pirates or abducted by aliens, but she managed to find adventure in the most boring place of all: school. In her teens, she began a lifelong battle with the demons Depression and Anxiety, which she currently has under her thumb with the help of some very powerful potions and spells. She presently works as an administrative assistant in Winters, California, a magical land known the world over for farmers, steak, and a certain country music singer we’re not supposed to make a fuss about. At the end of 2016, she became a true Phoenix, and since then, she’s been befriending dragons, hunting things, and time traveling. Every November, she straightens her Viking helmet and captains the Yolo County ship for NaNoWriMo alongside Elisabeth Kauffman.

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