The Haunting White Paintbrush

white•washed

to paint (a wall, building, or room) with whitewash.

“You went to Starbucks? You’re so whitewashed.” Uh oh. Is Starbucks only for white people? I guess I was unaware. Is it weird that I was in Starbucks? I’ll rememberer not to order my latte there next time. I’ll go somewhere else.

First, it is important to know that an individual cannot act a colour nor can anyone change their race. There are so many things that separate cultures from one another that makes each culture unique, things such as traditions, music, food, etc. There are major differences between white culture and the various cultures of people of colour. Calling someone “whitewashed” is racist. The term “whitewashed” is used towards individuals who seem to live a stereotypically white lifestyle but are not white. Being called whitewashed means you act like you’re a white person but, at the end of the day, whitewashed is a slur. Your culture and your race can both, of course, be factors that affect your lifestyle, but it does not automatically define you or your way of living. Whitewashed is a phrase that is degrading and offensive, and to some, it can be upsetting.

The phrase itself can be so powerfully negative. Imagine feeling as if you’re not good enough to be yourself. Feeling as if you don’t fit in with your own race. Throughout your life, you’re going to run into people that watch your every move. They’ll watch how you act, who you speak to, what you wear, etc. One thing that everyone eventually learns is that you cannot please everyone. You’re going to face judgement, high expectations, harsh critiques and for minorities, dealing with stereotypes. It can be confusing and also mentally draining. A lot of people struggle with loving themselves and understanding their self-worth.

Fix your posture, sit with your back straight. Don’t forget to enunciate your words, you can use slang, but slang is an informal language. Walk past strangers with a smile on your face. Clean up after yourself, do not leave the mess that you made for someone else to clean up. 

“You’re so ghetto.”

The colour of your skin does not automatically make you poor or rich. The colour of your skin does not make you less than the next person. The colour of your skin does not make you a troubled individual or automatically a successful one. The colour of your skin does not justify your lifestyle.

There is such a divide in our society when it comes to race. If you don’t act the way society portrays how you should be acting, you’re trying to be someone you’re not. They try to paint a label on you. You either act the part, or you don’t. Just because you can’t seem to filter me into the stereotypes that have been forced upon various cultures, it does not mean you get to choose whether I fit in. I am not whitewashed because I don’t fit the stereotype or because you think I act differently than others. I am more than just my skin colour.

“You’re not like other black girls. You’re not ghetto.” – Yours truly, society.