Redefining White Male Privilege So White Men Don’t Get Upset
I made a conscious choice to stay away from the Kavanagh hearings, given the toxicity of the political climate. But recently, I’ve had a few dispiriting conversations with friends who were upset with the concepts of white privilege and male privilege and I wanted to share them with you here.
The term “white privilege” FEELS very insulting to a man suffering from poor health, poor lifestyle choices, poor job opportunities, etc. The assertion that “white men” are the problem and their “privilege” allows them to lead perfect, carefree lives seems tone-deaf to the vast majority of white men who struggle in some ways. These guys find the terminology and blanket attacks on “whites” and “men” to be tone-deaf and off-base. And for political purposes, I agree. You’re not convincing any white men of the righteousness of your cause if you constantly attack white men. 🙂
However, when I dug deeper in conversations with my moderately conservative friends, they completely agreed that both women and minorities have a tougher go of things. They will never know what it’s like to be concerned with safety in a parking lot or what it’s like to have a taxi refuse to pick them up because of their skin color.
Which means that these white men are not in denial of “white male privilege,” but rather, disagree with its judgmental nomenclature. In fact, they’d back the concept completely if it was framed as “women and minority disadvantage” because it would acknowledge the broader societal unfairness without tarring all white men as part of the problem.
I agree with this from a branding standpoint for the social justice/identity politics left. You don’t get any closer to peace when you treat people as “others” or “enemies.” Telling underprivileged people that they are privileged is bound to hit a raw nerve – and lose you some pretty important elections.
On the other hand, I feel very strongly about sharing this video with the men who read this blog, who should learn similar sensitivity and empathy for women as I’m asking women to have for men. This song is called “A Scary Time,” and I was touched by its simplicity, eloquence and power. The lyrics (by Lynzy Lab) are below.
I can’t walk to my car late at night while on the phone
I can’t open up my windows when I’m home alone
I can’t go to the bar without a chaperone
I can’t wear a mini-skirt if it’s the only one I own
I can’t use public transportation after 7pm
I can’t be brutally honest when you slide into my DMs
I can’t go to the club just to dance with my friends
And I can’t ever leave my drink unattended
But it sure is a scary time for boys
Yeah, gentlemen band together make some noise
It’s really tough when your reputation’s on the line
And any woman you’ve assaulted could turn up any time
Yeah, it sure is a scary time for guys
Can’t speak to any woman or look her in the eyes
It’s so confusing, is it rape or is it just being nice?
So inconvenient that you even have to think twice
I can’t live in an apartment if it’s on the first floor
I can’t be wearing silk pajamas when I answer the door
I can’t have another drink even if I want more
And I can’t make you feel invalid, unseen, or ignored
I can’t jog around the city with headphones on my ears
I can’t speak out against my rapist after 35 years
I can’t be taken seriously if I’m holding back tears
And I can’t ever speak earnestly about all these fears
Cause it sure is a scary time for dudes
Can’t text a girl repeatedly asking for nudes
Can’t make a girl have sex when she’s not in the mood
And what gives her the right to give you attitude?
Yeah it sure is a scary time for men
Girls like to act like you’re to blame and they’re the victim
Her dress was short and she was drunk she’s not so innocent
Thank God your dad’s the judge and you won’t be convicted
Oh, that’s–oh that’s right
Oh, yeah yeah yeah
Cause it’s not such a scary time for boys
They’ve always had the upper hand, they’ve always had a choice
It’s time for women to rise up, use our collective voice
The day to vote’s November 6th, so let’s go make some noise
Women come to this site to understand men. Men who are here should know: acknowledging women’s truths makes you MORE of a man, not less. Not to mention that makes you a much better partner than if you’re constantly blaming women for your dating woes.
Your thoughts, below, are always appreciated.