Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Public official acknowledges my "whiteness"

I have taken to writing to various public employees with semi-serious questions in a vain attempt to get one to put something in writing that would be worthy of posting on my blog. I usually pick a Human Resources Dept and email every employee with the words "cultural" or "diversity" in their job title. Below is my email and one response that made me chuckle.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been browsing your website (Multicultural Health) and I am having trouble finding information, initiatives, studies, events or opportunities for someone like me. I am wondering if you have intentionally left my culture out or if this omission was just overlooked. I feel that I am just as good as the next person and that I should not be discriminated against because of my heritage. Would you please email me a response with some information or a link to the appropriate web page where you discuss people like me in the straight-white-male category. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Daniel

*************************************************

Dear Daniel,

The Office of Multicultural Health is concerned with the health of all Oregonians, and is quick to acknowledge that all people have a culture. Some people are more aware of their culture than others. It has been asserted that people in the dominant culture do not have to know their culture because it is fairly ubiquitous. Thus, surface aspects of dominant culture (music, food, clothing, etc.) are readily accessible; moreover, notions of time, family, social protocol, and even history typically prevail such that they become the norm often eclipsing or masking what we learn about diverse cultural orientations. Whiteness is emerging as a academic discipline. As a result many colleges and universities across the united states are offering such courses. If you are serious about learning about "whiteness" there are many websites. I would direct you to google. com and enter white people. You should find several reputable and legitimate sites where you can explore white identity, culture, and history in greater detail. Much of this may dispel myths and in many cases the informal and formal education we received about white as well as non-white peoples in the U.S. and globally.
Good luck,
James Mason,
Director Department of Human Services Health Services
Office of Multicultural Health
800 NE Oregon St., Ste 930 Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503.731.4601 Fax: 503.731.4078

6 comments:

Gigamesh said...

Nice...

**I am wondering if you have intentionally left my culture out or if this omission was just overlooked**

now what would that be? Irish culture? English? German? Russian?
American?
you didnt really say...

**I should not be discriminated against because of my heritage**

what "heritage" would that be?
you never really made that clear

**link to the appropriate web page where you discuss people like me in the straight-white-male category.**

Gosh... just go to Orbusmax where all your white needs are met or
landoverbaptist.com where they understand folks in your situation

Praise Jebus! perhaps if we are all lucky you will get raptured up to the great white playground in the sky where you can hold hands with your imaginary friend and have head shaving contests.

Molty Oldy said...

Oh yes, white men have been SO oppressed. Come on, recognize the history of racism against non-whites, yes even here in OR.

Calvus said...

You folks are so self focused it's pathetic. To talk and spend so much effort on "Diversity" only makes the differences that much more of a big deal! Enjoy everyone around you, learn about who they are and live life! But spending so much effort on the definitions and issues of what is diverse only minimizes the true value of the thing. Move on, grow up, let it go. To force myself on someone, to say that they must learn and accept who I am, is completely selfish.
Personally, the "Diversity" pundits that are trying so hard to push themselves on everyone make webistes like this one fun and funny. Find your sense of humor in life and don't let it go, for I fear that many of you have lost it.
DC

Daniel said...

I don't think that everyone gets that my email was in jest. I am with Calvus that the diversity crowd is so focused on skin color, sexuality, etc and how we are different that it's getting ridiculous.
When asked about my ethnicity on surveys or forms I put American. My American culture includes bar-b-que hot dogs, baseball, church, hunting, and drinking domestic beer.

activist kaza said...

If you've ever lived day-to-day in a situation where you ARE the oppressed minority (and oppression takes many, subtle forms) you and others might recognize the legitimacy of valuing our differences. It's actually one of America's great strengths, altho the anti-immigration, anti-Affirmative Action, anti-gay agenda of many on the "far right" does have to make you wonder if ya really get that! www.kazablog.com

Daniel said...

Which "subtle forms" are those Mr. Kaza? The scholarships designed specificly for minorities? The clubs, groups, caucus', television stations, etc designed especially for minorities? I value differences but I don't value the segregation that comes from making those differences the focal point.
I'm not "anti-immigrant" I'm pro "follow the immigration laws." I am anti-affirmative action because that is a racist concept. I'm not "anti-gay" because I'm not sure what that means. In terms of public policy I don't believe we need gay marriage but neither do 57% of Oregonians. They aren't all "far right" are they Mr. Kaza?