Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Them and Us

It came up recently in conversation with Luis the matter of how whites speak of other whites, or rather, refer to other whites in casual conversation. We we talking about a recent vacation spent with my friends who mostly fall into the middle class white category. The kind of comments we are talking about went something like this, "(steups)....white people!" "oh we don't want to lime with the clear crew today". Keep in mind these are all meant in jest.

He was shocked and taken off guard that such a small minority group was so segregated with a deep sense of 'them' vs 'us'. The dividing line is money/class. I suppose money really, as that factor in many ways determines class.

The 'them' are those (whites) that have. Those that have the money, the status, the position. I suppose it is the same 'them' that the stereotype is modeled after. The 'us', where I can count myself, are those that do not fit within the perceived mold. The inbetweeners. Overlooked. Not quite part of 'the others' but still on the periphery of the 'whites'.

In The Box. Pen, graphite and paper collage.
© Alicia Milne 2009

This attitude has me looking at my view and approach to my work. I think that perhaps I have been perpetuating the same stereotypes I fight against in my work by my casual attitude.

But am I really doing that? My group of friends are the few who can understand as their realities are similar to mine. We have shared experiences of being inside and outside of the 'white' world. Perhaps we are venting. Perhaps our comments meant in jest are an indicator of a larger problem. Perhaps this whole example is a microcosm of identity issues of Trinidad.