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.
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.