Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Being White - Being Aboriginal

I've been reading this somewhat interesting book entitled Being White recently, as I explore issues of race, culture, and identity, and what it really means to be white. So much of white identity and culture is assumed and rarely discussed beyond Stuff White People Like's assertion that because of my pigmentation, I inherently love Wes Anderson movies and moleskine journals. (Okay, yes, this is true). Because I am not content in this lacklustre understanding of self, I have been searching and exploring for more depth and meaning. This journey has brought this book into the forefront, and has challenged my view of self, others, displacement, and implicit/overt racism. While the book is definitely written from a Caucasian-American perspective, it dawned on me that issues of ethnicity wrestled with south of the border, often in unnoticed realms to the predominant culture, are quite lively and subversive here as well. A wall of dominoes began to fall for me as I did an exercise of identifying elements that were foundational in my upbringing. From something as simple as hockey.

My family was a hockey family.
We played hockey, followed hockey, watched hockey.
I learned to play hockey when I was seven.
I learned to play hockey when I was seven in a town called Oshweken.
Oshweken is the main city of the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve.
This is the largest aboriginal reserve in Canada.
I didn't know what Oshweken meant.
I didn't know what nations comprised the Six Nations.
I grew up in Brantford, beside the largest aboriginal reserve in Canada, learned how to play hockey there, and yet still didn't know anything about the peoples, nations, languages, cultures, beliefs.

So. I'm rectifying this.
I'm owning being a White-French-English-Canadian-Christian, and I'm getting to know my neighbours.


16 comments:

ashamelessagitator said...

If you haven'talready you should read Peggy Macintosh's article on being white you can read it here:
http://sascwr.org/resources/pdfs/anti-oppression/WHITE%20PRIVILEGE.pdf

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