White Identity Lost

Black identity is a topic that is discussed and recognized everyday in our contemporary racism class. They are grouped and recognized as a separate ethnicity in which they promote the distinction between white and black. It never really occurred to me until I read this quote by Lipsitz, that whites have lost their individual ethnic identity.

“Urban renewal helped construct a new “white” identity in the suburbs by helping to destroy ethnically specific European American urban inner-city neighborhoods.”

Whites have lost the concept of identity. Whites no longer identify with their ancestral European background. The stigmas attached to ethnicity of the varying cultures are no longer applied to the individuals whom are of such decent. Example: Those whom are of Irish decent used to have the “alcoholic/ drunk” stigma attached to their culture; however, because whites no longer identify and internalize their heritage, the stigmas of their ancestors are not associated with the individual. In my opinion, this has decreased racism between cultures within the United States; however, it has also highlighted differences in physical appearance.

Whites have become “Americans” yet blacks are being held back by being sub-typed into “African American”. This grouping and dividing of the country promotes the “race war” between whites and blacks. As blacks are pushed out of the “group” due to history and past events, they are forced to unite together in hopes of change, yet whites are also subsequently divided and represent the “other” group. This further intensifies the division between the two races. If whites in the United States were to identify with their European ethnic background rather than to group together as “American” would we see a decrease in racism? Would this create enough different groups that citizens may unite in a whole new way? By this I mean would the grouping within groups provide room for minorities to step in and be given a more equal opportunity?

1 thought on “White Identity Lost”

  1. This phenomenon is really interesting especially considering that so many ethnic groups that are now considered part of mainstream white American culture used to be considered black. For example, the Irish used to be heavily discriminated against, especially in urban areas. Although they were never officially segregated, the Irish were often past over for jobs because of their heritage. Jews also used to be considered Black in this country. Marriages between Jews and Christians used to be unheard of and while Jews gained financial success it was often only through working for Jewish companies. Why are these and other groups accepted now by white suburban culture whilst African Americans still often are not? They have become fully integrated into white Protestant culture whilst the descendants of slaves (who historically have been here longer) have not.

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