#WhiteGirlProbz

| October 10, 2013 | 9 Comments

Drat, I broke a nail! #WhiteGirlProbz. I had a rough day at work. #WhiteGirlProbz. I’m severely depressed. #WhiteGirlProbz. You’re probably familiar with those sorts of complaints and that hashtag. This seems to be a more casual way of calling someone out on his or her white privilege. White privilege is very real, but making fun of us for complaining is not going to make us equal in everyone’s eyes. I come from a tiny town that is mostly white. In my high school, we had about 400 students, and only one of them was black. And now I feel like people assume that I’m stupid, culturally uneducated, and materialistic because I’m white.

There are so many generalizations and stereotypes about white people, just like there are for every race. There is a Twitter account with over 400,000 followers called @CommonWhiteGirl that tweets things that are supposed to be what a stereotypical white girl would say, such as:

Uggs season. Pumpkin spice lattes. And a new iPhone… It’s the white girl trifecta.

Let me tell you why this does and does not make sense. No, iPhones are not only sold to white people. But iPhones are expensive, and statistically, white people in America are wealthier. A more serious problem is depression, which does not see race; it can affect anyone. If I’m upset or sad, those feelings are very real, no matter how many people have it worse than I do. And thinking about that fact, about how lucky I am to have the things that I do, will not take my depression away. Stereotypes usually have a seed of truth, but they’re still just stereotypes, like any other.

Check out this Twitter account...and then get angry, like I did.

Check out this Twitter account…and then get angry, like I did.

I happen to be a barista at the Kenmore Starbucks, and I recently talked to some of my white female customers about this issue. I asked them if they feel as if people make negative assumptions based on the fact that they are white, such as that they’re ignorant when it comes to other cultures. One woman (who happened to order a pumpkin spice latte and was very excited about it) told me that she definitely thinks people assume those things of her. She described the school where she works, saying that the students are predominately black, and she told me that her students make fun of her for being white, and that a common insult is that someone is “not black enough.”

I am in no way saying that the distribution of wealth in America is fair, because it’s not. America is way behind on actually upholding its claim of giving “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” What I’m saying is, white shaming is wrong, just like any other kind of shaming.

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Category: Campus Culture, featured, Politics

Kate Conroy

About the Author ()

Kate Conroy comes from a small town in South Jersey where she has two little sisters and many cats. She is a Leo and an English major, and she will defend the Oxford comma forever. She is extremely controlling, and that's probably why she writes fiction. She also watches too much television and takes too many pictures of herself. Follow her on twitter and instagram: @K4TE8

Comments (9)

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  1. Jon says:

    There’s something about this piece that really frustrates me.

    “What I’m saying is, white shaming is wrong, just like any other kind of shaming.”
    “There are so many generalizations and stereotypes about white people, just like there are for every race.”

    These statements are deeply problematic. These comparisons make it sound like that the shaming people of color face are inherently equal to the “shaming” that white people face. This is completely false equivalence.

    White people problems? Are always about privilege or being rich. Maybe also about being ignorant.

    Stereotypes of men and women of color? That they’re dumb, dirty, gross, uneducated, violent, poor, overly sexual, and other actually damaging stereotypes. These are things that keep people from getting jobs, from getting hired, from being represented in the media, from having their lost children reported on, etc.

    We live in a society where a disproportionate amount of leadership in government and in media are white. Where this institutionalized and cultural racism pervades aspects of our lives that we don’t even recognize. Where black girls, already at a young age, perceive lighter skin as being prettier. Where it’s just something we accept.

    And we white people have to deal with a Twitter account and a few pumpkin spice latte jokes?

    So no. We do not have deal with stereotypes “like every other race.” There is nothing equal in that.

    • DS says:

      Jon, i think you missed the point. it’s not about the actual problems that any given group faces. it’s about the perceptions of those in other groups. just as white people make assumptions about blacks, there are blacks who make assumptions about whites. both assumptions are unfair. of course, the problems that some groups must endure are more difficult than other groups, but it’s not about the actual problems. it’s about making assumptions in general.

      • Jon says:

        These assumptions ARE the actual problems. That’s where they stem from. You can’t separate them, reduce them to “assumptions in general,” and call them equal. They’re not.

        No one doesn’t get hired because people think they like pumpkin spice lattes. Those jokes are a satire for white privilege, which every single white person has.

        Assumptions aren’t equal. And if the piece was about assumptions in general, then it seems kinda odd that the subject chosen were white people. If I wanted to write about the effects of bad economy, I’m not going to write about Donald Trump.

        • DS says:

          you wrote “…which every single white person has.”

          so you’re going to make a generalization about all white people? do you not understand that such a generalization is the definition of racism?

          • Jenny G says:

            “Every [white person] has white privilege” – I don’t think this is generalization, because whether a white person asked for it or not, statistically when researchers send the same resume with a generically European name versus one with a stereotypical black or hispanic name, the one with a European name is more likely to get interviews. Hailing taxis at night is similar – my friends who are black have found it much more challenging to get a taxi at night than I have as a white female.

            You as an individual may not have asked for a privilege, but racial perceptions still influence how you are seen and treated, and as a white person, more often than not this benefits you. Just my two cents.

        • Emily Hurd Emily Hurd says:

          Just my two cents: The article isn’t citing the Uggs-and-Starbucks stereotypes as the problem; it’s arguing that the real problem is the idea that ALL white people are ignorant and ungrateful. Kate isn’t in any way denying the sad reality of white privilege–or even the fact that it extends to all white people–she’s simply a) expressing a personal sense of frustration at being assumed to be narrow-minded and materialistic, and b) pointing out that, while the jokes and stereotypes aimed at white people aren’t particularly harmful, they DO further emphasize racial division–which is harmful to all people. The point here isn’t that white people have problems that are a direct result of being white, but that all human beings are susceptible to certain problems (her example is clinical depression) that can have very serious consequences for anyone, regardless of race, and shouldn’t be discounted. It’s true that being white doesn’t come with its own specific set of challenges and obstacles, but it also doesn’t provide immunity from all of the other challenges that come with being human.

  2. John Whitney says:

    Kate,
    Really great post here. Now I know what they mean when they say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.
    Keep up the good work, the world needs to hear you.
    John

  3. Skailer says:

    This is very insightful. Great article!

  4. grandmother of 4 says:

    Very enlightening. Cannot wait for the next post!

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