Why I am no longer checking the box under “White/Caucasian.”

I am no longer going to be filling out government forms when it comes to race/ethnicity using “White/Caucasian.”( I am also not going to be checking the box “other” and writing ‘human being,’ either. )

From this point forward, I will be filling out my government forms and all other forms that require this statistic as “Irish/Scottish American.”

Why am I doing this?

It’s relatively simple.

White culture is a death culture.

What do I mean?

Also, reasonably uncomplicated.

As a nation of immigrants, ‘white people’ have abandoned their ancestors, their own history, and their own inherent diversity to embrace a title that offers us none of this. We are a people-set adrift, a diaspora with no roots, no hope, wrapped up in fear of darker-skinned people and those who embrace their ethnicity and cultures.

Why is it important to recognize my heritage?

As there is no pan-African culture, no Pan-Latin culture, no Pan-Asian culture, there exists no Pan-European culture.

The Scottish are different from the Irish. The French are different from the English, the Danes, The Germans, The Slovaks, The Russians, which are different from the Norwegians. These people have different languages, different mores, other dances, different foods, histories, religious expressions, etc.

There is a richness there that we’ve abandoned for a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and pastel colors and golf shirts.

And honestly, the tradeoff sucks. I mean, no wonder why they cling to The Confederacy or Nazism. That’s all the relevance they have even if those systems were abysmal failures.

I was recently handed a family book detailing just my mother’s side of our family going back to the 11th century. I am a direct descendant of Scottish nobility, of academic fame in John Napier of Merchiston (who would totally be disappointed in my lack of mathematic skill.) He is my great-great-great something or other. There’s a college in Edinburgh that my family built or had dedicated to them.

My family invented and drove their own automobiles, defied William Longshanks, were servants to English Kings, and so forth. And I’m not saying all this to say, “Oh, look at me, I’m special,” because that’s not it.

I am writing this to show that there is life, legacy, and history beyond my skin color. And I haven’t even begun to dig up my Irish ancestry, but it’s there waiting for me. Ireland and Scotland, two very real but very mystical and magical cultures and people whose blood course through my veins from people who made their way to America at some point to make me.

There are books upon books in an index at the back of this family history that I could spend a small fortune collecting that talks about my family and my history in all its complexity. I could spend a considerable chunk of my future just reading this stuff and never know all of it. Yet, it’s there awaiting me.

My “whiteness” cannot exist in the same space as someone aware of their own heritage. If education is a doorway out of the poverty of the mind, culture, and heritage are the exit out of racism.

Does that make me less American or make me love my country less? No. Not all. My history came with my ancestors to Virginia. They carried it with them through the smoky mountains and eventually up to Michigan, trailing behind them contributions to this country.

But it makes me mourn for Black People who can’t trace their ancestry back as I can; it makes me recognize my privilege in being able to do so because my people weren’t captured and brought by force across the Trans-Atlantic Slave route. So, out of necessity, black people created ‘African American Culture’ because they’ve been denied, up until recently with DNA testing, their roots.

“You must hate white people.”

Nope. It’s impossible. There’s no ‘there’ there. It is a graveyard of destroyed lives and foolish decisions. It is, “water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”

“Do you think this absolves you of your ‘privilege’. Nope. Not at all. But I am making this decision with black and brown people on my mind and in my heart.

Racist white people lament the word diversity, but the irony is that we have it too. It’s just as rich and colorful and tribal and nuanced as all others. You just have to look.

And maybe that’s the key, here, to ending racism once and for all. Perhaps it isn’t unifying ‘white people’ to the cause of ‘other’ because blind people can’t see what they can’t see. Maybe it’s opening their eyes to who THEY are descendants of, and perhaps then, and only then, they’ll abandon the dead-end of skin color and tiki-torches and embrace something more substantive, something living, and finally leave the graveyard of ignorance once and for all.

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Frederick E Feeley Jr

Frederick E Feeley Jr

Queer AF Author. Poet. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Human Being.