I catch myself all the time placing the race of my subject as a predicate unless he is white. My whole life has naturalized the assumption in my common sense, but over the last few years I have actively sought to say “white” when his or her race is white in my speech. It’s been hard, and embarrassing, not so much from the reaction of others, the same assumption being alive and well in them too; no, my self-awareness does this for them, as I trip over my words and go back to explain the other guy is white in the story. This can be a powerful device for disciplining normalcy, and not a bad thing on its own, but I suppose a subject has to have a certain openness to self-criticism in the first place. I guess I have that a little; it’s incredibly uncomfortable and wholly undesirable. I’m doing a mediocre job anyway. At any rate the same mechanism inverted is already present in our minds–consumption rather than self-criticism being the target.
This already feels like a self-pat on the back.
I want maple floors.
One Reply to “I’m Trying to Say “White” before “Guy” Instead of Assuming People Know I’m Talking About a White Guy”
Interesting. It is true. Most people add some type of adjective in conjunction with the pronoun that announces a person’s gender when they are referring to someone in a “minority” group. Whether it is the “black guy,” “the gay woman,” “the man with the weird nose” etc.