Like many other suburban white kids, I have struggled with — nope, wait. That’s all I’m going to say, because, admit it, you stopped caring after that first line. You did! You there, admissions officer, with your condescending sneer, your Ray-Ban prescriptions (are they really prescriptions?), your fair-trade coffee spilling from your environmentally-responsible Starbucks thermos as your culturally sensitive eyes scan this page again to make sure, “Is this the right essay? Is this real life?” Let me assure you, O delicate flower of political correctness, it is real, it’s realer than the MacBook Air on which you donate money to the poor of the third world, it’s realer than the ironic mustache growing above your upper lip, and let me tell you — let me tell you — it is much, much more real than your so-called “acceptance of every person, regardless of race, gender, or national ethnicity.”
Not true. Not true at all.
Let me just tell you that it has been absolute hell trying to figure out what in the world to write when it comes to these damn college applications that ask me how my ethnicity has influenced my life, because, you know what? Honestly, admissions officer, I am incredibly annoyed that I live in a society where there are essentially three camps of mainstream thought on white culture (and none of them are nice):
1. White culture is not an actual culture. Somehow it is the only race that, although still a majority in the US, is completely worthless. Let’s just not talk about it. It is the asexual person who is sitting in on a debate over sexual preferences. It is the vegetarian in some sort of meaty gathering. I don’t know. A steakhouse, say.
2. White culture is better than every culture in the world, period.
3. White culture is a culture, but it’s completely shitty. Why? Because the blue eyed devils are the cause of every single damn problem that the world has experienced so far. (What’s weird is that this idea is held by a ton of white people who harbor some strange ancestor-guilt complexes.)
What’s so very interesting about this opinion is that I actually sort of agree with it. White people have done some pretty nasty things, both in Europe and in North America. And, many a time, it was because of racism, sexism, or some other vicious ism. But here’s the thing: that, dear admissions officer, is the very story that defines the human race. Hispanic cultures, Polish culture, Russian culture, African culture, Native American cultures — they all have done some atrocious things in their run. The difference? White people were ridiculously effective at it, due to a combination of humanity’s weird affection for the palest skin possible and a ruthless work ethic.
So, admissions officer, what I’m trying to get at here is that once you know my dad’s income level, my family’s religion (which is NOT mine, by the way), and the fact that, if not for my half-Native American mother, I’d be whiter than Casper’s ass, you will automatically equate everything I have to say here about my cultural experiences as “white noise,” “white whine,” “first world problems,” or some other kind of thing that basically negates everything I have to say because I’m white.
Honestly, admissions officer? Screw you, and screw your ideas that ethnicity defines a person, because that is the very basis of racism that you’re standing on right there. Maybe I’m being too harsh, and maybe you’re coming from a good place, but I can’t believe that a university — a university, for goodness sakes, the one place where racism’s absence is so touted about — in the 21st century is still considering race, ethnicity, and culture in its admission consideration… as long as it’s not the white race.