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What does it mean to be white in 2022?


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Does being white have to do with race, culture, language or economic privilege? 
 
What does it mean to be white in 2022?
 
54 years ago ...
 
"Speak White" is a French-language poem written by Canadian poet Michèle Lalonde in 1968, and condemns the linguistic, cultural, and economic exploitation and oppression of French-speaking Canadians, especially the Québécois, by the English language and Anglo-American culture.[1] 
 
  1. 1-Speak-Whiteen.pdf (umaine.edu) English Translation
  2. Speak White - Wikipedia
  3. Michèle Lalonde - Wikipedia

 

“Speak White” by Michèle Lalonde (1968)


Speak white
It sounds so good when you 
Speak of Paradise Lost
And of the gracious and anonymous profile that trembles
In Shakespeare's sonnets 


We're an uncultured stammering race
But we are not deaf to the genius of a language
Speak with the accent of Milton and Byron and Shelley and Keats
Speak white
And forgive us our only answer
Being the raucous songs of our ancestors
And the sorrows of Nelligan


Speak white


Talk about this and that
Tell us about Magna Carta
Or the Lincoln Memorial
The grey charm of the Thames
The pink waters of the Potomac
Tell us about your traditions
As a people we don't really shine
But we're quite capable of appreciating
All the significance of crumpets
Or the Boston Tea Party


But when you really speak white
When you get down to brass tacks


To talk about gracious living
And speak of standing in life
And the Great Society
A bit stronger then, speak white
Raise your foremen's voices
We're a bit hard of hearing
We live too close to the machines
And we only hear the sound of our breathing over the tools.


Speak white and loud
So that we can hear you
From St-Henri to St-Domingue
What an admirable tongue
For hiring


Giving orders
Setting the time for working yourself to death
And for the pause that refreshes
And invigorates the dollar


Speak white
Tell us that God is a great big shot
And that we're paid to trust him
Speak white

Talk to us about production profits and percentages
Speak white
It's a rich language
For buying
But for selling
But for selling your soul
But for selling out


Ah!
Speak white
Big deal
But to tell you about
The eternity of a day on strike
To tell the story of
How a race of servants live
But for us to come home at night
At the time that the sun snuffs itself out over the backstreets
But to tell you yes that the sun is setting yes
Every day of our lives to the east of your empires
There's nothing to match a language of swearwords
Our none-too-clean parlure
Greasy and oil-stained.


Speak white
Be easy in your words
We're a race that holds grudges
But let's not criticize anyone
For having a monopoly
On correcting language


In Shakespeare's soft tongue
With the accent of Longfellow
Speak a pure and atrociously white French
Like in Vietnam, like in the Congo
Speak impeccable German
A yellow star between your teeth
Speak Russian speak call to order speak repression


Speak white
It is a universal language
We were born to understand it
With its teargas words
With its nightstick words


Speak white
Tell us again about Freedom and Democracy
We know that liberty is a black word
Just as poverty is black
And just as blood mixes with dust in the streets of Algiers
And Little Rock


Speak white
From Westminster to Washington take it in turn
Speak white like they do on Wall Street
White like they do in Watts
Be civilized
And understand us when we speak of circumstances 
When you ask us politely
How do you do
And we hear you say
We're doing all right
We're doing fine
We
Are not alone


We know
That we are not alone


Michèle Lalonde, 1970, translated Albert Herring, 2001–2012

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 Which whites do you mean?

 

Do you mean poor whites living in sink estates or do you mean billionaire whites flying around above humanity in private jets or do you mean the whites living under countless different circumstances in between those?

 

What i do know is that the ten most safe countries in the world have white demographic majorities (plus japan) so i suppose for the majority of the people in those countries life means working hard, raising families, not doing harm to others and generally minding your own business

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The amazing Michèle Lalonde delivers her great poem about linguistic chauvinism at a major poetry event in Montreal, 1970. Translated by Jeffrey Diteman.

 

 

Have you ever considered the way ____ (Japanese, Muslims, South Americans, etc.) view this poem?
 

 

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On 11/9/2022 at 9:16 AM, Macnamara said:

 Which whites do you mean?

 

Do you mean poor whites living in sink estates or do you mean billionaire whites flying around above humanity in private jets or do you mean the whites living under countless different circumstances in between those?

 

What i do know is that the ten most safe countries in the world have white demographic majorities (plus japan) so i suppose for the majority of the people in those countries life means working hard, raising families, not doing harm to others and generally minding your own business

 

 

Black albino whites! 

Black albino model accused of white privilege - BBC News 

baw.JPG

Edited by oneantisworthtenofyou
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