The hashtag #SoWhiteOutside is doing two things very well: being hilarious and seriously critiquing “White culture.” Now it’s important to note that when I say “White culture” I’m not talking about White people. You can be a White person and not participate in White culture at all, the same way you can be any race, ethnicity or sexual orientation while not being a part of that group’s dominant culture. OK, what does that even mean?
Well, White culture can be conflated with mainstream culture since mainstream culture privileges White people, for example, are favored in television and film, in employment, the judicial system, and in beauty standards. No, that doesn’t mean as a White person that you are to blame for the many and various plights of other groups of people, it just means that a sloppy, unfair political system that hardly anyone alive today is at all responsible for benefits our fairer skinned brothers and sisters. And like everything our parents and their parents f-ed up before us we all have to deal with those consequences.
Basically this means when people (and there were all different kinds of people doing this) are poking fun of White culture they are being critical of cultural disparities that occur along racial lines and not intentionally sticking humor daggers into the hearts of our more enlightened fair-skinned allies. While most people can agree that Trayvon Martin’s case was a precise example of how race is dealt with in this country many will still accuse PoC for pulling “race cards” or insist that blackface is OK or blame the disturbingly higher amount of African American males incarcerated as evidence of how “bad” African American males are despite the fact a former judge is spending 28 years in prison for selling nearly 5000 young African Americans into private prisons in exchange for bribes.
Yes, some people will remain willfully ignorant of certain things and when you’re the group of people suffering from that willful ignorance you have every right to make fun of them. If you want a little smart with the upcoming sass I urge you to read this article from Psychology Today, “Going Where Glenn Beck Wouldn’t: Defining White Culture.”