I am a mixed-race individual. I don’t care to be more specific, save to say that I am partly White—and therefore not White. Partly something else—and thus not that something else. A bit of this, a bit of that, and thus nothing at all. Just me alone, preordained from the moment of my conception to be a “citizen of the world”.
I was raised in a Progressive household, especially as to racial matters. I was always told by my mother that racism is the worst possible evil; I learned to carefully weigh and judge people as individuals, and avoid jumping to conclusions from ignorance or bigotry. At school, I was given special and quite laudatory teacher’s attention on account of my mixed racial composition. I did suffer a few isolated instances of racially insensitive remarks from other students, but only on the level of kids who were just looking for dumb names to toss in the heat of an argument; and if you know young kids, you understand that their choice of insult was as arbitrary to them as calling me a “doodie-head”. Otherwise and overall, I never suffered from any negative effects of racism.
Thus I believe myself uniquely qualified to tell you the following:
You were indeed born with a “white privilege”: That is to say, you have an unbroken connection to the rich cultural, genetic, and historical heritage of your ancestors, who happen to have been White. A proper synonym in this context for “privilege” is gift, a gift which carries with it a duty to be grateful and to carry it wisely.
I know whereof I speak, for I have no such privilege. I have no such gift. I am not White, not Black, not Yellow, and not Purple With Orange Polka-Dots.
Muhammad Ali, who aspired to be “The Greatest”, was proud to be a Black man; he said, “I want to be with my own; I love my people!” Another proud Black man was Malcom X, whom you like to quote; do you understand him, do you understand that he wanted his own and not yours or anybody else’s? He was proud of his identity and his people; he had Black Pride. For such proud Blacks, to be Black was a Black Privilege! But I don’t have what they had, in that aspect; for I am not Black.
Japanese people and Chinese people each in particular have reputations for being fiercely proud of who they are: Their race, their respective nationalities, their languages, their cultures, their histories. They have Yellow Privilege: An unbroken connection to ancestors who passed them their genetics and their culture as part of a single, integrated package. I don’t have what they have, in that aspect; for I am not Japanese, and I am not Chinese.
There is a resurgence in pride amongst Native Americans who want to reconnect to their ancestors and their ancient ways of life. They have Red Privilege, a privilege of open plains and a Great Spirit. I don’t have what they have, in that aspect; for I am not an Amerasian.
I am alone. I am an atomized individual, a nation of one without a community naturally connected by common heritage. There are people with whom I identify spiritually and culturally, but I know that I am not really one of them. My soul belongs eternally to that people’s culture; but my body is a dead-end, twisted in form and riddled with genetic diseases I would be horrified to inflict on my own children. I can be friends with that people, but never part of their family. I am always and everywhere an outsider, from the day I was born to the day I will die.
I also don’t have what you have, in the aspect of Muhammad Ali having his people and a Native American having his tribe. I don’t have what you have—for again, I am not White. But for your part, you are not proud of who you are—unlike Malcolm X, or Native American revivalists, or Chinese people who celebrate with those beautiful parades of theirs on Chinese New Year. You talk about your Whiteness as if it were something wrong with you—about your own ancestors as if they were a curse! A Chinese person would be horrified at how you degrade your ancestors and throw away your connection to them. Read Confucius: All life is about respect for your ancestors. That is not only “ancient Chiense wisdom”, but ancient wisdom for all people.
There is nothing wrong with being proud to be White. As a mixed-race individual, I find that Whites who are proud to be White are remarkably tolerant of me—just as long as I do not pretend to be something I am not—namely, a part of their family.
You understand very well how Blacks who have Black Pride would feel if you pretended to be an African American, or how Native Americans would feel if you tried to steal their identity for yourself, or how offended the Japanese should be if you were so culturally insensitive as to misappropriate their symbols (or perhaps not; hint: Samurai were not practitioners of Zen Buddhism). But I don’t pretend; I am always open an honest about who I am. The very first article I posted on the Internet was an essay about my experience as a mixed-race individual. I submitted it to a publication run by people who are proud to be White. They were happy to print it, as you can see; and they were at all times courteous and respectful toward me. I have been treated with the same decency at other venues of people proud to be of European ancestry. I feel I have dignity, when dealing with people who themselves have such a dignity and self-confidence.
As any other people who are proud of who they are, proud Whites focus their pride on the richness of their ethnic traditions. Europe is like Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, or a kaleidescope of national colours reflecting a single unifying theme. Ethnic dress, whether Norwegian or German or Greek, is beautiful and carries with it stories which stretch back beyond historical memory. European folk music is amazingly rich in its variety; and European classical music is undeniably a spiritual monument unprecedented in the history of the world. European literature cannot even be properly praised without writing a book about it, so to speak. Overall, cultural and scientific achievements by Dead White Men are things to be proud of, not ashamed of! And these are the things which proud Whites care about.
Of course, like people of any other race, proud Whites care not only about celebrating their culture, but protecting themselves from racial violence. Genocide against a White ethnic group has occurred, more than once, and it can happen again. Moreover, like proud people of any other race, proud White people honour heroes who stood forth to defend their forefathers, just as they now strive to protect their children.
I think that the best world would be a world in which everybody is proud of who they are, and everybody reveres their own ancestors. It would be a world of global peace: People who love themselves have no reason to fight each other, whether they are White or Black or Yellow, Red, Orange, or Green. People can be friends with the “other”, when they are secure in themselves and in their own neighbourhoods, communities, and countries. This is proven by history.
I hope that you can learn to be proud of your heritage and your ancestry, as all those people are proud of their respective heritages and ancestries. You cannot chose what you were born as, any more than can a Black person or a Chinese person; so in your case, you should be proud of your White heritage. The heritage which yes, you are privileged to have been born with. Your gift, a priceless gift which should be to you the most precious possession you have! Treasure the gift given to you by your ancestors from a thousand years ago, which it is your duty to pass on to your descendants a thousand years from now. A gift which once lost is gone forever.
At that, I write this for you to read, but not for your sake. I write herewith for the sake of your children, in the hope that you will teach them to be proud of who they are and thus, your grandchildren will not wind up like me. I love myself dearly, but I am alone: A soul cast adrift by the shattering of connections to my ancestors—a man without a nation in the sense of the root, Latin natus—yea whereas other individuals are but drops in the sea, I am but a drop in the desert. In the only sense which counts, I have neither a past before I was born, nor a future after I die. Should I live my life for my own sake, I could live and love and laugh until the day I become dead—and then that would be the end of me, biologically and culturally speaking.
Thus I write herewith for the sake of your grandchildren’s grandchildren, in the hope that they will always and forever keep sacred their connection to their ancestors. Through their ancestors let them know who they are, and be proud of themselves.
With due thanks for your time,
/s/ Helmut Stuka