Culture

HuffPo Writer: I’m Not Exactly Really White because My Boyfriend’s Not White

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I just have to ask: Are you even listening to yourself?

A freelance writer wrote a column for the Huffington Post explaining that he “sort of” no longer identifies as white because his boyfriend is not white and he understands the experience of nonwhite people more than other white people do.

 

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In a article titled “I No Longer Identify as White,” Joshua Marcus writes that although he is “very white and very Jewish,” he “can’t help but feel” that his “racial and cultural identity has changed” “over the past few years” because his “boyfriend is mixed race.”

“In engaging with his racial realities, my eyes have been opened to things most white people are oblivious to,” Marcus writes.

“My point is that, as much as my white skin will always convey upon me a privilege not extended to non-whites, thinking of myself in binary racial terms is disingenuous,” he continues.

Marcus hits liberals for considering what he calls “transracialism” to be “cultural appropriation,” explaining that “in order to accuse someone of cultural appropriation, you have to draw a clear line as to what black or Indian coloured culture is.”

“You have to homogenise the experience of every member of that race,” Marcus explains. “And once you’re doing that, you undermine personal experience.”

Now, I certainly do believe that it’s absurd how many things are being called “cultural appropriation” these days. (Think-pieces about how it’s offensive to style your eyebrows a certain way or take a Zumba class come to mind.) After all, when people from one culture interact with people from another culture, it’s only natural for them to influence each other — and there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s more, since each person is an individual with individual experiences, I certainly do understand that that influence is going to be different for each individual person.

But the issue with Marcus is that he’s not talking about “influence;” he’s talking about identity, which is — spoiler alert! — a totally different word. It would be one thing for him to say he’s been especially influenced by other cultures because of his boyfriend, or even that he’s been more influenced by other cultures than other white people have. But to actually identify (or even “sort of” identify) as being a member of a race that you are objectively not a member of is to deny the facts, regardless of who your boyfriend is. You’re going 9 million steps beyond the “I have a non-white friend, so I’m not racist” thing and literally saying, “I have a non-white friend, so I’m not white,” and I just have to ask: Are you even listening to yourself?

– Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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