Just before the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in the wake of losing countless black lives to police brutality, I came across the term caucasity and it has not left my mind since. The term is subjective and varies in meaning within the black community but in short, caucasity is the audacity of white people. For example, caucasity describes white people’s willingness and borderline eagerness to take bold risks that only they would feel safe doing. This is mostly because, whether they choose to accept it or not, the society white people operate in is systemically racist and therefore benefits and protects their actions, needs, and interests.
Examples of caucasity include but are not limited to:
- Microaggressions of any form
- Cultural appropriation
- Racist jokes
- The denial of privilege
Why does this matter? Since the start of the Black Lives Matter protests, many white people have claimed that they will use their white privilege to fight inequality within society. Nonetheless, they continue to engage in moments of caucasity. For example, a white person may become aware of the injustice around them but until these injustices directly impact them or they stand to gain something from acting, they will continue their usual tendencies and behaviors.
Another ironic example of caucasity is when a white person may recognise another white person to be a Karen but not realise that they are also a Karen. Karen is a stereotypical name for a rude, obnoxious, insufferable, and often racist, middle-aged white woman. Karens’ have a sense of entitlement and authority due to their whiteness which can result in them calling the authorities then positioning themselves as the victim. Karen’s deep-rooted and often subconscious disdain for black people and ethnic minorities is a key example of caucasity. Karens often believe that their needs are more important than those of minorities and overstep in majority black and ethnic spaces. Why? Because a systemically racist society tells them they can.
For Black History month, it is important to expose the issue of caucasity. Understanding it will help the offenders who want to, or claim to want to, help with the Black Lives Matter movement and racial inequality. Caucasity is a form of microaggression used to oppress. It aims to belittle non-white people and keep them feeling inferior in a broken society that operates to keep ethnic minorities socially, economically, and politically disadvantaged.
White people have used their caucasity to gaslight me. For example, I have been pressured to apologise in situations where my actions and feelings were valid but did not benefit the other person so they used their caucasity to ignore them. Another example is when my white housemate attempted to pressure myself and my other housemate to allow his boyfriend, who had tested positive for COVID-19, to stay in our house. When I informed the landlord and the police, which he wouldn’t have hesitated to do if the roles were reversed, my white housemate couldn’t believe the actions I had taken. Frankly, I couldn’t believe his audacity to think that I should put myself at risk for his gratification. Now, this is caucasity. These tactical and strategic microaggressions no longer work on me but unfortunately, it is routine for black people to have to put themselves second or be apologetic when they have done nothing wrong.
When trying to rid yourself of caucasity, think about the systems in society that allow you an elevated amount of audacity. What can you do to dismantle it? First, accept your privilege and that you benefit from societal structures and systems. Second, stop and listen when a person of colour tells you to get off your high horse. Third, place yourself in other people’s shoes. Would you take this nonsense if the roles were reversed?
The most important thing is to stop believing that your views are above others who disagree with you, especially people who don’t fit within the white, heteronormative, able-bodied, patriarchal structures within our society. Don’t feel you have a right to speak on issues, experiences and lives you know nothing about, especially from people who know firsthand and disagree with you. Realise that you’re not always right.
Next time you feel your caucasity ready to explode, stop, take a step back and assess the situation because your caucasity reeks.
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