Okay non-European tumblr, I’m gonna explain to you why ‘white’ isn’t as simple here as it is in the rest of the world
- Shades of white in Europe range from ‘freshly fallen snow’ to ‘I am frequently mistaken as being from the Middle East’
- White European is a thing. When you fill out a form, under ethnicity, there are several options for white; white British, white European, white other. Because people make that distinction
- There are Europeans who don’t class their ethnicity as their skin colour, but as their nationality. I have family who don’t think of themselves as white, they just think of themselves as Italian and don’t really give much thought to their skin colour
- People here in Britain always question if darker skinned white Europeans are ‘actually white’. I get it a lot myself. My response is always ‘well I’m not anything else, so obviously I must be’
- Despite being white, a lot of Europeans from Italy, Greece, Spain etc, don’t feel white in the traditional sense. We’re not white like white British people. We’re not white like white Americans. We’re our own white. White British is one thing. White Italian is another thing. White Greek is another, etc
- Which is why we have this notion here in Europe of ‘nationality over race’. Being white isn’t as important as where you’re from
- So this really only becomes an issue if you’re an immigrant
- So being white in Europe doesn’t save you from racial discrimination, because sure, you’re technically white, but you’re not white white. Not the right white
- Here in England, Europeans with really blatantly foreign names, such as myself, find it more difficult to get job interviews, because they take one look at our name and don’t bother reading the rest of the CV. A guy I know was actually told by his boss to reduce the pile of CVs he had by ‘chucking away any with a name you can’t fucking pronounce’
- And then even when you do get an interview, half the time you walk into the joint several shades darker than everyone else and feel like you’ve walked into the ‘Swedish supermodel’ clubhouse and you just know you’re not getting hired
This is all basic stuff and it’s very much taken for granted here. Race and ethnicity are not as clear cut, so it can be very confusing for non-Europeans to wrap their heads around. Which is fine. But I implore you to stay in your lane, because when you say things like ‘no white person anywhere in the world ever knows what it’s like to face racial discrimination’, it’s really fucking offensive to all of the European immigrants who are denied jobs, harassed by the police and beaten by racists, because foreign is foreign to these people, and they don’t give a shit if you’re technically white. So when you mean white American, say white American.
This doesn’t just apply to “darker skin” Europeans either (which I’m sure some Americans would argue are POC for some reason or other). Try being slavic in Western Europe. Hell, try being Sinti or Roma in any part of Europe.
Especially in the UK you can be as white as you like but if you aren’t from Britain (or in some cases just England) then you face discrimination. It really isn’t that clear cut in Europe and it drives me mad when people say white people can’t experience racism because that’s such a US-centric idea.
And if you’re from anywhere in South-East Europe then you should prepare for your country to be slandered in every UK paper. Seriously, you can’t turn on the news, go on the internet, read a newspaper, without being told how Romanian, Ukrainian, Polish people are a drain on the UK’s resources and they should be banned from the country. And guess what?
(That’s Mila Kunis. She was born in the Ukraine.)
(Sebastian Stan. From Constanta, Romania.)
(Mia Wasikowska, from Poland)
(Nina Dobrev, who was born in Bulgaria.)
They are white! Just because they are white, it doesn’t mean people from their countries cannot face horrible discrimination, and it doesn’t mean that they can’t be constantly told that they don’t work as hard as people from Western Europe, and that they don’t deserve basic human rights.
So just before you force your ignorance onto people who don’t hold the same views as you due to where they live operating in a different way, just remember that not everybody lives in America.
Racism is alive and well in all of Europe, but Xenophobia (Prejudice towards other nationalities, people from other Countries) is equally rampant, and varies somewhat from country to country.
I’m speaking from the POV of living in England, and from what I grasp, people who are, say, Black will experience racism in all European countries, while Xenophobic tendencies vary more - for example, the UK has masses of Xenophobia aimed towards the Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, and many, many other countries, while somewhere like Slovakia may have other prejudices.
I feel like racism and xenophobia are heavily interlinked issues, but also aren’t mutually exclusive - regardless of how a country or its inhabitants are viewed within the rest of Europe, it can still be horribly racist/prejudiced. If that makes sense