The Imperial Imaginary & Whiteness in US Cultural Politics

The Imperial Imaginary & Whiteness in US Cultural Politics

The United States in a multicultural country that is rich in history from people with different beliefs and customs that come together in unison to form a democratic country. Rich in its heritage, the constitution allows for every citizen to have their rights and freedom regardless of their race, gender, religious affiliations and even origins. This is clearly stated to ensure equal treatment at all times, however the situation on the ground begs to adversely differ from the dictates of the constitution. This is because stereotypes are there and they not only lead to social discrimination, they can lead to arrests and convictions simply based on the race and /or origin of a person.

During the 07/11 bombing of the United States, without even any consideration all Middle East people were arrested and some even arraigned in court for being in conjunction with the bombing. They were suspects not because they had any involvement with Al Qaeda, but because of their race. When a robbery and shoot out takes place in a neighbourhood, the black people are usually the suspects. This is not based on anything else but their race, the colour of their skin (Lipsitz, 2009). How then can we say that the law is an equalizing tool when the law enforcers discriminate based on race?

Politics in America has always been known to be a white man’s world. This is the reason as to why even up to now people are still amazed at the fact that there is a black president ruling the nation. In real sense this is not true, His Excellency the President is a half white and half black, but emphasis is on his black side because it is the one that makes his position to deviate from the norm.

The main root of this type of discrimination is based on ethnocentrism, whereby the white people in the US believe that their race is superior to any other race in the country (Shohat, 1995). This kind of mentality is allowed to grow with the children and when they are all grown up they believe that the only race that is superior is the white race. The media also plays a fundamental role in creating the stereotypic attitudes. This is because the media focuses on the negative sides of the story, most of the pictures and videos from the Middle east is about men training on how to fight, dressed up to hide their faces with long beard and are ruthless.

Most African-American neighbourhood are depicted as full of illiterate people who easily involve in drugs and listening to noisy music. The white people are always shown to live in suburb places that are well organised and are always concerned about each other with neighbourhood watch, however there is always the other side of these stories but the media does not show that (Lipsitz, 2009).

We cannot wholly blame it on media alone because as a famous feminist once said, positive images alone cannot undo years, decades and centuries of chauvinism, biasness based on race and gender (Shohat, 1995). This means it has to be a personal initiative for us not to discriminate, to teach our children that we are all the same and no one culture is superior to any other. To encourage people in the society to embrace diversity and differences amongst ourselves for that is what makes a country. The differences should bring us together in an effort to cater for the multiplicity of the needs that come with the differences. For this is our country and if we do not do it who will?


Shohat Ella, Stam Robert,(1995), Unthinking Euro centrism: Multiculturalism and the Media, Routledge Publishers, New York and London

Lipsitz George,(2009), The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From It, Random House Publishers