The words of the self-proclaimed “True WASP” (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) demonstrates a commonly held response to the twLF strike by many — although not all — white students, faculty, administrators, and community members. Written with an overtly condescending tone wrought with xenophobia, American exceptionalism, and racism, the author demonstrates the pressing necessity of Third World studies and curriculum, as well as why twLF explicitly demanded for Third World peoples’ control over Third World spaces.
The author’s claims rely on the Eurocentric narratives of diaspora and experience. First, they claim:
We [America] have been called the melting pot because so many peoples of varying ethnic and national origins came our shores voluntarily (except for the Blacks, as a whole) because whatever their standard of values, they thought America was the place to be.
This claim disregards the legacies of imperialism and capitalism which brought many people of color to the United States. But the most obvious danger of dominant Eurocentric narratives lie in the author’s offensive claim:
But, reacting as a true WASP, I must say that what really angers me is your apparently complete misunderstanding of what “self-determination” means. To me it is the very roots of American-ness, for this nation was founded by a handful of men who also wanted to be self-determined. So they got a boat and battered their way to succorless soil and determined themselves from scratch. They did not ask the Establishment pay their way with funds paid by all… And they certainly did not change the inflexible society under whose laws and practices they felt oppressed. They got the hell out to a land where there was not even a never-experienced-only-heard-about ethnic ancestry to shout about. These first independent Americans determined themselves in a realistic manner and provided the spirit and attitude that has since been reflected in American history.
The myth of the Pilgrims as “self-made” people who found a “new” land through their own ingenuity continues to perpetuate the erasure of Indigenous peoples and the violence and settler colonialism which the establishment of the United States is founded upon. Moreover, it continues to erase the establishment of a nation on the reliance of African slaves. The Founding Fathers did not determine themselves from scratch but through the dehumanization and exploitation of Black bodies. The internalization of these revisionist and white supremacist narratives by “educated” people reinforces the continuation of problematic ideologies.