“Men,” especially the white ones (quelle surprise) can’t ever seem to help themselves when it comes to “mansplaining.” No matter how much they get called out for it, or how many examples they’re given of how not to talk to a woman, they will continue to go about their faux pedantic business and explain things as they see them (that is to say, through brain damage-colored glasses, which, yes, could also be rose-toned). One of the apparent things you cannot talk about as a woman to “men” is the glaring stereotypes that continue to hold true about your race. Let us take, for example, the most enduring archetype of white folk these past few years, the entitled extraordinaire Karens and Chads. Of course, we cannot say stereotypical names of Black people (or Arabic, or Latino, or Chinese, and so on and so forth) out loud as a means for a catch-all noun to describe certain consistent behavior, for that would be deemed out of line in the political climate of muzzling anything that can be construed as offensive or discriminatory.
So, for the purposes of this issue, let us stick with the loathsome Caucasian example in pointing out predictable characteristics of a race since no one has any issue with bashing their kind except Confederate flag owners (another unpleasant yet accurate stereotype of someone to avoid). When a white girl discusses her contempt for the cliches of her kind, it is, in the present moment, classified as merely being au courant with what’s expected of her. That she’s only “acting” in a certain manner because it’s how she’s “supposed to think.” The self-hating thing does not only apply to the white girl, but an array of genders, sexualities and colors. It just so happens that white privilege as it pertains to someone with a vag is the most overt epitome of where ample room for pointing out fault comes in (thanks, in a recent example, to Amy Cooper, the illustriously nicknamed Central Park Karen). And yet, to do so, especially to un uomo bianco tends only to result in the eye rolling write-off of being “self-loathing.” And when a white girl is dubbed as such, she is charged with doing it merely “for show.” For the “attention” it gets, even if only negative (that’s just how much white bitches love attention, right?). And don’t even talk to The Silence of the Lambs‘ Buffalo Bill about any such thing, for he’d be happy to take the burden of your white woman’s skin right off you and use it for himself. So, too, would any white “man” right now for that matter, for they’re all so convinced that being a woman would actually make their lives much easier. Freer of “being bashed” “all the time” in the “accursed” post-#MeToo landscape.
But for the white “men” who would say that it is the white women who like to “cash in” on the “self-loathing trend” of their race as a means to be “relevant,” they need only look to the ample amount of gringas who are perfectly content to relish in their whiteness, most glaringly, of late, Lana Del Rey, who has become a beacon of doubling down on incendiary statements that are a precise manifestation of her unappreciated and unacknowledged white girl privilege. It seems as though this is a phenomenon of extremes, with blancas like Del Rey and her oblivion on one spectrum and blancas of a more “self-hating” nature on the other. Yet self-hatred isn’t really the applicable word, despite how some “men” would like to conveniently file it away as such for the sake of appeasing their “man”splaining hard-on. It is more a constant hyper-awareness of how your skin tone affects your place in the world versus the places of others, which contributes to insecurity and self-doubt more than full-on self-loathing (though the former two are often considered byproducts of the latter). Because why should you have this skin tone that affords certain tacit luxuries that it does not for others? In some kind of “gotcha!” twist, this is the very thing that non-whites have been enduring since time immemorial–that fear of how they look and what it will mean for how they’re perceived.
The white girl oblivious to her privilege, however, extends beyond shades of whiteness alone, with those who have “a dash” of Latinidad, like Miya Ponsetto, a touch of Italian, like Ariana Grande (who unwittingly penned a white privilege anthem) or a bit of Armenian, like Kim Kardashian, bending their more “flexible” racial lines at their discretion. And they will never display a shred of self-loathingness about it. Yet gender fluidity is more acceptable than “racial fluidity”–and it likely always will be. The two types of fluidity mean very different things to people, with the color aspect being more affronting for how it is so often used for some self-serving political machination.
The implications of having “just enough” of one ethnicity to offset the whiteness that will get you automatically accused of needing to check your privilege has proved a dangerous tool for many. Especially those women who don’t want to be inculpated by “men” for “playing” some sort of “card.” Because, unfortunately, we still live in a world where women are affected by “men’s” non-nuanced opinions. And they are the ones quickest to call a contempt for the worst stereotypes of your race a matter of nothing more than your own self-loathing. So if one doesn’t play the so-called “I hate myself because I’m white” (or sometimes even orange) card, they’re bound to play another. And likely the one that’s more detrimental to marginalized races in terms of choosing to lay claim to that culture, something that ironically still works thanks in part to Plessy vs. Ferguson. For, as Machiavelli (a “man” filled with aphorisms and privilege) once noted, “The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”