so a thought on coding vs passing
August 8, 2013
I’m definitely convinced that, yes, white passing is a term that should be constrained to Black contexts. that isn’t what this post is about.
strugg mentioned the irish. lol, yes, i’m going to speak about the irish.
my brain twinged on something interesting (and I think important) about how white passing happened and how should a white coding poc decided to pass, and the very big difference this situation has from the irish
the thing about poc races is that they are reductive. there aren’t many of them. there has never been many of them. if ur Chinese, then ur Asian. If ur Pilipin@, then ur Asian, etc. But all whiteness will log is ‘Asian’ (see any white cencus), at best you get a bit of specificity in the form of being reduced to a region. East Asian. SouthEast Asian. South Asian. Etc. (althoug – do note how these regional breakdowns ensure that we always conceive of whiteness as the centre).
white. doesn’t work like this. or at least, not for white people.
it suddenly struck me as vastly interesting that when the irish ‘became’ white, they were and still are known as ‘irish’. when, in history, a Black person wanted to pass – as has been pointed out – they had to leave their identity, their family, their community, everything. They literally had to stop being them. They had to loose everything to gain white privileges. everything
this isn’t suprising when you consider the politics and reality of assimilation. this is what is supposed to happen. Particularly if you are an Indigenous person in a settler state.
is suddenly makes me quesiton that phrasing ‘how the irish became white’. this frames it as if irish ppl assimilated to whiteness. which isn’t the case. at all.
and it makes me realize that we’ve had so many conversations about this without really noticing or pointing out
that while ppl like the irish may not have been white for a period of time, they were also never people of colour.
iaopoc assimilate to whiteness
and the irish became white
something to think on