Loyola Marymount is a Jesuit university in Los Angeles. Let’s say that the majority of students are Latino. A minority of white students sincerely desired to make each other feel at home and promote their cultures, such as New England, Southern, Midwestern, English, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Dutch, and every possible culture that encompassed whites, and this group started a club called Whites for Christ.
That comes off as wrong. Why? Common responses include “that would be offensive” or “that would be racist.” But does being white ontologically, inherently, make someone “offensive” or “racist?” Of course not.
Yet, whites have inherited this social stigma that makes possible this double-standard: it’s okay to have a club based on this race, but not that one. The social stigma against whites (here at FUS, in this case) is unmerited because they themselves are not responsible for the atrocities that stigmatize whites.
This attitude that white equals bad is sustained, nonetheless, because of the acceptance of clubs titled such as Latinos for Christ. This attitude that fosters the idea that minority equals good is racist in two respects: against whites and against Latinos (in this case).
It’s racist against whites because of the above mentioned stigma. I’m of Latin-American descent, but I couldn’t bring myself to join Latinos for Christ and say,
“I’m aware that you can’t start a Whites for Christ if you wanted to, but we could have a club based on our race. That’s technically unfair since you inherited a stigma that you yourself don’t deserve because you’re not offensive or racist … but I’m gonna join this club anyway.”
The whites here, or anywhere, probably don’t want a Whites for Christ anyway. But the title itself is still a slap in the face to white people.
So I never joined Latinos for Christ.
It’s racist against Latinos because of the White-American hegemony (which is why we have things like black history month). We’re still seen as the foreigners. We’re still seen as the immigrants. We’re still seen as not from here. Therefore, we’re not really seen as American.
Why? Because we’re not white. This is the white man’s land. So not only is it okay but also necessary (i.e. segregation) to have a club called Latinos for Christ because “you’re not one of us. You’re not white, and this is our country that you’re coming into. Don’t forget that.”
But I was conceived, born and raised in the U.S. My existence has been nationally American. Statistics show that most Latinos are born in the U.S. Are we less American because we’re not white? Of course not.
If this all makes sense to you, then the acceptance and institution of a club called Latinos for Christ should stick as a thorn on your side.
If their idea is to promote culture, then the Latinos for Christ should change their name to something that connotes culture, not race. They could change their name to something in Spanish, if Spanish-speaking cultures (are) the unifying factor of their organization.
But enough with the false dichotomy of white and non-white. We are the human race.