Being white is quite all right

Aman Ali's view

White people, Aman loves you.

On Monday, my boy Teddy Harris made interesting points about white people’s “inherent fear of organized black people in this country.” However, I think that “fear” exists in all of us. Race is a touchy subject in this country, and honestly, I think it’s hilarious.

First, we as Americans are afraid to learn about other cultures. I’d have thousands of questions to ask black people if I was white. But I’d be too scared to ask the questions because I’m afraid to get responses like, “What, you think all black people are like that?”

Well, white people, these are my confessions. I use the race card just to mess with you (granted, most minorities are genuinely offended, just not me). You ask me a question about arranged marriage. I pretend to look upset, but deep down inside, I get a kick out of watching you scrambling to apologize for offending me.

But don’t be sorry. If you heard that Muslims were a bunch of crazy towel heads with four wives and you want to know if it’s true, then ask. If you’re wondering why black people could eat fried chicken for every meal, then ask. If a person of another race had a question about my culture, I’d rather set the record straight than have him continue to live in his ignorance.

Second, don’t be ashamed of who you are. Whatever ethnicity bubble you filled in on your SAT, be proud of that bubble. I’m happy as hell to be an Asian/Pacific Islander. Nothing is wrong with being white either, so quit calling yourself “one-eighth Cherokee, one-fourth Italian, five-thirty seconds Polish and one-third Irish.”

I understand that some don’t want to acknowledge their “whiteness” because of the history it entails (i.e. Europeans massacring other civilizations, U.S. slavery, etc). But I don’t hold white people responsible for what some Joe Schmoe did in the past just like they don’t hold me responsible for Sept. 11.

Third, don’t be ashamed of your love for other cultures. If you’re white and love hip-hop, don’t hide it. Every time I go to a hip-hop show, there’s always that one white kid who stands out like a sore thumb because he’s afraid to “get down” like everyone else. The MC is on the stage telling everyone to throw their hands in the air, but the self-conscious white kid simply bobs his head up and down. Deep down inside, however, he wants to boogie like everyone else.

Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a society where people of all races could freely boogie. I acknowledge my ignorance about African Americans, but I’m not afraid to learn about their culture. I love Popeye’s chicken as much as I love tandoori chicken. Hip-hop is my favorite music, and I won’t turn down the volume in my car every time a black person drives by. So next time you pull up at a stoplight and you hear the bass from a Mos Def song blasting from the car behind you, know that the Asian/Pacific Islander kid in your rear view mirror doing the Harlem Shake is me.

Aman Ali is a junior information design major, president of the Muslim Students Association and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].