In the first chapter of “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness,” George Lipsitz argues that a conscious effort was taken by society to disseminate cultural stories and create social constructs that pushed for a possessive investment in whiteness. Lipsitz discusses the ways society stigmatized and exploited “nonwhite” groups.
Settlers institutionalized a mindset that deemed those of color as being inferior to whites. This mindset and the oppression that people of color have faced from the white community has also affected how communities of color interact with each other and how involved their ancestry is today. Similar to the arguments that Lipsitz presents, Tomás Almaguer argues Latinos were “racialized under the cultural logic of another racial order,” which added to the racialized mindset that had been established by the Spanish colonizers. A social hierarchy based on ethnicity and race lead many Latinos to increasingly racialize each other in the U.S.
by labeling each other and deeming the others ancestry inferior to their own. The possessive investment in whiteness in the U.S. pushed minorities to wanting to reach a likeness to whites, which in some cases caused minorities to reject their ancestry. Like Almaguer, in “Comparative Indigeneities of The Américas”, white society’s rules and social hierarchy have put indigenous communities at risk of being washed out.
Indigenous peoples’ past and their very existence is ignored and questioned, “Indigeneity is being forged, adopted, manipulated, and reenvisioned to attend to globalizing processes, community/tribal agendas, and nationalist projects.” America’s racial hierarchy pushes people of color to deny their ancestral past. The ideals that white society has imposed on communities of color have greatly influenced how they interact with each other and on which tier of the social hierarchy they see themselves.
Lipsitz’s perspective is also present in “Queer Aztlan” by Cherrie Moraga where the author points out the need for a new kind of Chicano community, one that is more accepting and understanding. The norms that white society deemed socially acceptable added to the norms of the Chicano community, was not open to the LGBTQ community. Similarly, the author of “On Trans* [email protected]”, calls for action to further study joteria, the LGBTQ community within the [email protected] community. With many Latin American countries already excluding and shaming the LGBTQ community, the pressure only increased in the American society. Women of color who belong to this joteria are especially targeted. What is socially acceptable has deeply impacted the LGBTQ community especially those who also identify as [email protected] In an effort to fight these ideologies, social activist groups have increased in numbers as concern for oppressed groups grows.
These groups such as Feminists and anti racists have begun work against sexism and racism, respectively. These groups, however, fail to understand the intersectionality, experiencing more than one type of discrimination/oppression, that women of color face as a result of “the social and cultural devaluation of women of color” set in place by the social structures that white society has created which oppress women and people of color. From colonization to the modern social constructs, the way that minority groups see each other and how they are treated has changed. Women of color are those who are affected the most by these constructs because of their intersectionality. Although many authors have written to bring light to the system of oppression in place, there is still work to be done.