Quick entry today to pose a direct question to readers.
I am a heterosexual white CIS male raised as a Christian living in the United States. I do not consider myself woke but I would like to think that I am waking up at an acceptable rate. That is the essence of my privilege. I want social equality for all people and I know the stories of what women experience, what LGBTQ people experience, what blacks experience, what Hispanics experience, what Asians experience, what Jews experience, what Muslims experience….but I do not know what those individuals experience.
At the end of the day, my privilege insulates me from those experiences. As some of the people reading this may be aware, I recently suggested that the mass shooting problem in the United States (that is, focusing on single incidents with more than 3 victims) is a problem of toxic masculinity and that disproportionately affects white males. It received plenty of support but also its fair share of vitriol and opposition.
“What about all the minorities shooting up Chicago and Baltimore?” “What about ISIS?” “What about the violence in Mexico?” “What about the killings in the Philippines?” “What about this mass shooting perpetrated by a black man?”
All valid concerns – not the point of the comment. I, the writer, defined a specific group (mass shooters using the above definition) and indicated that a person in that group was most likely to be a white male. I then argued that toxic masculinity and a culture that celebrates guns is the root cause of these individuals deciding that carrying out a mass shooting is a viable option to solve their problems.
White males in particular were quick to anger.
What shocked me about their response was not the anger (as that was the original point), but the way they chose to express it. I have seen people respond to others online about controversial topics. The vitriol gets out of control fast – threats, profanities. These individuals tempered that response with me, and I could not help but feel, “If I were anything other than a white male, how severe might these responses have been?”
My position in society is (feels) unique. I am a heterosexual white CIS male raised as a Christian living in the United States who is on the side of civil rights and equality and whose particular skill is writing. Those who feel that feminists, liberals, the political correct, snowflakes, cucks, and the like are enemies of society despise me as a Social Justice Warrior. Indeed, some of those who agree with me may be frustrated that my activity generally involves sitting with pen or keyboard and making pronouncements. Now is the time for action, for getting off one’s ass and doing something.
What happens when the something that one does is writing? What happens when the issue is LGBTQ rights and the writer is a heterosexual CIS male? What happens when the issue is feminism and the writer is a male? What happens when the issue is religious freedom and the writer grew up in a Christian household? What happens when the issue is racial and ethnic equality and the writer is white? What happens when the issue is international relations and the writer is an American?
On the one hand, there exists the strong logical argument that none of those things matter. The substance of the content is what matters, and not even the hypocrisy of belonging to the group against which one is arguing should undercut that. There exists also the practical matter: if you belong to one of the oppressed groups, there is considerable benefit to having a member of the oppressing group ally with you to change things. The other white males are not as aggressive towards me as they are with others; they are more inclined to listen a little longer.
However, one also understands the optics and practicalities of the other side. How is the voice of another white male fixing anything? His message is, “We need to make sure that these people have a voice!” and observers would note, “That seems difficult when you are talking”. It is when the radio station interrupts the commercial-free stretch of music to tell you that it is a commercial-free stretch of music, brought to you by…
So you, the readers, tell me what you think. The LGBTQ readers, what of the heterosexual CIS male writing about LGBTQ rights? The women, what of a man writing about feminist issues and gender parity? Non-whites, what of a white man writing about issues facing people of colour? Non-Americans, what of an American writing about international relations? Fellow allies, what is your take?
- Presuming a bit here – those who feel, “Yes, we need every ally!” or “I feel you need a course correction, but the general idea is good here”, please Like, Follow, and Share to become a regular part of the discussion. The point of this site is to build and engage a readership for the purposes of discourse, not monetization. I write novels for commercial gain; I do this to engage directly with readers.