Ethnically assimilated/culturally queer; Culture hack primer

Posted on June 12, 2012


Jews are not simply the “white” people many of us nowadays see them as. That, is a result of a process of opening up pathways of social mobility, which ultimately led to a shift in cultural perceptions. Once Ivy League schools shifted admissions to a meritocracy in the early 1900s, the number of Jews in the classroom began rising dramatically, which the administrations found terrifying. [Gladwell]


Italians, Irish, Polish and other Euro-immigrants weren’t considered “white” either just a few generations ago. College education and home ownership, was granted to these groups while still being denied to the African-American population. In the long term, we can see general evidence of this inequality proving beneficial for the preservation of African-American culture. For the other groups mentioned above became assimilated into “white” culture during a time when there was still believed to be a scientific basis for the concept of race. White culture was believed (mostly by white people) to be the pinnacle of human evolution.

Thomas Jefferson wrote Notes in the 1780s, which was intended to be a scientific portrait (geographical, economical, human resources) of the Virginia of his day. He asserted the racial inequality of slaves, but spoke of the essential equality of Europeans and even Native Americans, who were icons of the “American Spirit.” [Gable]

In regards to any of these social issues that we face today, the end result is already clear, and we already know it is a good thing, life gets better with equality, diversity. Tensions today reflect the divide in points of thought. There is a big divergence between thinking framed using these outdated models to build a world perspective, and those that propose radically new thinking associated with movements toward equality in all capacities. Racism is the American class structure, like India’s caste system. In much the same vein, one can see economic class structure filled with the same symbolic preconceptions as one used to find with more frequency based solely around race.

We can find similar evidence of symbolic propaganda shaping perceptions of the public in homosexuality. As a quick example, consider that in the 80s, HIV and AIDS were first officially named, “GRID- Gay related immune deficiency”. [NY Times] Look at the escalation of bullying in school. Social media has accelerated a bully’s ability to be invasive, but television reinforces the stereotypes that we continue to perpetuate as the normative. But what then is the real normative? It has to be that direction of demolishing old stereotypes and dysfunctional behaviors that oppose a fair and equitable society for all, regardless of “race”, gender, ethnicity, body type, interests, etc. And if this is true, why can’t we just take that big leap forward? Why do we have to bicker and fight, tooth and nail, for the inevitable?

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