The “white” race, though socially constructed has had tremendous influences in the Americas at the expense of the exploitation of other races. By positioning all other races as inferior, achieving power is now directly related to being white. As Eichstedt writes:

While it is useful to find ways to deconstruct the myth of whiteness, it is somewhat disingenuous to claim an ethnic identity that is supposed to be used to supplant the “racial” location that whites, as a group occupy-particularly since “white,” thought a fiction, is socially meaningful in terms of life chances. To disavow one’s white identity is to miss the point of how legal, economic, political, and social systems in the United States have operated to advantage people on the grounds of being white, not on the grounds of being Polish, Irish, and so on. (Eichstedt 453-454)

In the political and social structures of the United States the precedent has been set that whiter is better. When groups migrated from Europe they were initially distinguishable but over time those traits that have distinguished those groups have diminished. The diminishing of these idiosyncrasies between the groups leaves American society with a diversity of white people who now have an opaque view of their heritage and can not hyphenate themselves as other immigrants do. These people may not want to hyphenate themselves either because it has become common belief that the removal of the hyphen has translated into success by first being defined as a “real American.” Success has been measured in ones ability to assimilate to the point where the individual no longer associates to their ethnic background. This set up is especially problematic for Latino immigrants who do not appear white but also affects those who can disguise their heritage and assimilate and loose their ethnic identity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.