The Race Files publication of Pakou Her’s My Racial Trigger: Raising Brown Babies sparked an unexpected debate about white pride. In particular, this video got the ire of one Race Files reader –
The little girl in the clip is biracial. She celebrates this by shouting “hapa power!” while raising her fists in the air. “Hapa” is a Hawaiian word meaning part or half that is often used to refer to mixed race people, especially those of Asian or Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian descent.
In response, a reader named Jana wrote the following comment,
So when a half asian girl does it it’s “cute” and “empowering,” but when a white girl does it she’s a racist and white supremacist?
I don’t usually play with trolls. People who post controversial comments on websites in order to incite pointless arguments aren’t generally welcome here. But this particular commentator was such a great foil, I couldn’t resist talking back to her. By the time we were done, she’d written this,
So, all that white means is racism, genocide, and oppression. There’s nothing to be proud of to be European, to having a European heritage, it’s racist for Europeans to be proud of their culture and what they achieved…
I’m guessing Jana knows exactly what form of racist jujitsu she’s attempting here, but she’s right about one thing. All that “white” means is racism, genocide, and oppression.
That’s right. No apologies.
“White” is a racial category designed to lift those who bear the label to supremacy over other races. White supremacy is the basis of white power. And white pride is nothing more than pride in all that has been done in the name of white power.
Together, white supremacy, and white power are critical pillars of the dehumanizing logic that justified an American political system that, in it’s purest form, equated race with nationality and class. In the name of white supremacy, those labeled “white” enslaved people and waged wars against them, including wars that ended in genocide. The legacy of these ideas and the political system they justified lives on in such all-American institutions as our electoral college, and in racial inequity in employment, educational opportunity, wealth, life expectancy, and criminal profiling.
Inclusion in whiteness was a racial bribe the accepting of which allowed Europeans previously trapped into lifelong poverty and class exploitation in Europe and the American colonies to enjoy social mobility. A few of those labeled “white” got so rich from genocide, the slave trade, and slave labor that all that wealth is still key to American global economic domination. And this history is how the whole idea of America as a land of unfettered opportunity and social mobility got started.
So let’s be clear. White power is white supremacy. White power was consolidated for no other reason than to accomplish the goal of supremacy.
To allow the history of Europeans to be equated with the story of whiteness is wrong. It erases the history of accomplishment of Europeans in Europe and in North America and reduces that history to a story about white racist oppression.
And, don’t get it twisted. Regardless of racist attempts to equate white power with “black power,” or “brown power,” or “hapa power,” white power is not the same as any of those other expressions of race pride at all. “Hapa power” is a celebration of a racial identity that defies our history of racial segregation in America because it brings together white and non-white. And, in the context of a history of white supremacy and current racial inequities, claiming power for people of color of all kinds is a statement of an aspiration for equity, not supremacy.
I’m sure there will be those who will call me a hater, but I’ve got no problem with European pride, or even European American pride. European nations may have colonized the world, but Europeans are not just their colonial history, and European Americans are a lot more than the history of slavery and genocide in America. There’s a lot to be proud of in being Irish, or French, Spanish or Italian, Basque, Greek, Swiss, English, Slovak, Croatian, or Russian. But white? White pride is just an excuse to wield unjust white power.