By Guest Contributor OnTay Johnson
According to the powers that be, I just may not be “with it” when it comes to American pop culture. In my 30-plus years of life, I’ve noticed from time to time I’m made to be a fool because I haven’t seen some movie, didn’t recognize the face or name of some celebrity (dead or alive) and the list goes on. I use to attribute this to growing up in a small city but as I got older and more socially conscious, I recognized that there was a pattern to this projection of person, places or things that I “should just know”. That pattern adhered to the social construction of the status quo—whiteness.
Don’t get me wrong, as an African American in America, I’m hip to most things considered “popular” in our society. Our education system alone makes sure you get peppered with the whiteness of American culture. It’s the media that really hammers it home though. How can one not be aware of whiteness when this country’s information systems constantly feed it to you as a diet day after day? When a majority of magazines have a person that’s white on the cover and when a majority of television is white and our history books cover the “heroic” deeds of white men from the beginnings of this “unsettled” country until now, then it’s inevitable to not be aware of the whiteness screaming at you. So yeah, I’m familiar with most things but it’s the fact that I’m a minority that I don’t always swallow everything fed to me.