Being significantly Native American is something of which I am proud. Our family heritage beginning in North Georgia and the Carolinas prior to being forcibly removed to Oklahoma carries with it a tremendous amount of legacy and culture. I have, for the majority of my life, happily and at times ferociously identified as a first nation’s citizen.
However, when most people first meet me, they typically don’t see someone whose sympathies and loyalties lie with the Cherokee and Choctaw nations. What most people see is the result of my French heritage on my maternal grandfather’s side. It’s not that I’m ashamed of a family of teachers that migrated from Calais under the persecution of the Catholic church and landed in New Amsterdam in the early 17th century, settling in what is now Long Island. I’m somewhat proud of the fact that our family defended the United States in every major war even if surviving those conflicts wasn’t necessarily a strong point.
If I wanted, I could easily enough pass as just another white guy and go on through my life claiming the privilege afforded to such. Where I have a problem is knowing that the European side of my family actively participated in the oppression of the native side of my family. While the native peoples often won direct encounters with my grandfather’s ancestors, the policies and subjugation supported by my white ancestors is not something with which I can morally agree. Therefore, I find it less reprehensible to identify with my native family.
What I can’t control is how others see me. I don’t look like a native person at first glance, especially when Kat keeps my hair cut and colored as it is now. Following my father’s death from complications from melanoma, I’ve been careful with my exposure to the sub which keeps my skin rather pale. That means that, whether I like it or not, I am most frequently treated as a white guy.
For most of my life, being treated like a white guy hasn’t been especially bad. There are a lot of privileges that come with people thinking you’re white, especially when traveling through predominantly white parts of the world. Increasingly, however, and totally through our own fault, being a white male is becoming a problem. White males have now been strapped with the same kind of negative stereotype they’ve previously imposed on others. Those people groups who have been previously oppressed by white males, and there are a lot of those groups, are starting to take a stand and call on white men to take responsibility for their crimes as well as those of their ancestors.
For example, the issue of slave reparations looks to be a hot-button issue in next year’s Democratic primary. Be sure that native tribes are watching those conversations with intentions of launching a second, different kind of #metoo movement should reparations start gaining serious ground. What European invaders did to both groups was/is unspeakable and making amends isn’t going to come quickly nor cheaply. There has been a lot of damage done at the hands of white guys over the centuries.
All this makes white guys nervous because, from their perspective, all they see is their power, privilege, and influence slipping away. As a result, they’re acting in the same way as did their ancestors: being jackasses.
Being jackasses has typically worked well for white guys in the past at the first sign of any form of a challenge by increasing the oppression, doubling down on the punishment imposed through the institutions they control.
Life in the 21st century doesn’t quite work the same way, though. There are laws preventing continued oppression and multiple organizations with strong financial influence happy to raise a fuss if anyone tries. Male-run institutions that once dominated social life, such as the Christian church, are now largely ignored, in some cases reviled, and routinely mocked for their attempts at meddling outside matters of faith. The weapons white guys traditionally use no longer are sources of fear to people who are sick and tired of being oppressed.
As a result, we see white guys resorting to being jackasses on their own, doing and saying things in support of the patriarchy and then getting upset when someone calls them out for being a jackass. Even online trolls hiding behind the masks of anonymity are finding people laugh at their ignorance, dissolving their power.
Fortunately, not every white guy on the planet wants to be a jackass. In fact, a number of white guys have told me they don’t start out trying to be a jackass—it just happens. They’ll do something they’ve done repeatedly for 30 years without anyone saying anything and now they’re suddenly forced to apologize and often resign from their employment. For possibly the first time in recorded history, white men are not in control of the social environment and are finding it difficult to adapt because they’ve never had to adapt to anything before now. They’re clueless.
So, having some sense for what white guys are feeling but with absolutely no sympathy, I’m offering the following basic guidelines for what white guys need to do to not be complete jackasses. Understand, I don’t have space here to go into the depth of detail some guys are going to need. There are a lot of ways to be a jackass. I’ll cover the basics here and continue later if there is appropriate justification. That means more than three people need to read this. Let’s get started.
Remember: White Guys Are A Symbol Of All That’s Wrong
Proof in point: just this past week, following the aftermath of a racist, xenophobic terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where the primary shooter directly referenced the US President and statements supporting white supremacy, the US President states that he doesn’t consider white supremacy to be a problem. His blatant and willful ignorance is a maximum jackass exhibition.
The list of horrible things perpetrated by white guys and the institutions and governments they control is astounding. Just going back the past 2,400 or so years, here are a few of the low moments of history where white guys really sucked:
- Subjugation and enslavement of multiple people groups through the expansion of the Holy Roman Empire
- Use of caste systems to oppress the poor
- The Dark Ages and the Crusades
- The Inquisition
- The imperialistic takeover of foreign countries
- Every European war
- Every World war
- Every American war
- Intercontinental slave trade
- Mass genocide of North American indigenous peoples
- Mass genocide of ethnic Europeans
- Misappropriation of cultural, ethnic, and religious history, artifacts, and customs
- Imposition of religious-based moral code
- Mass rejection of contributions to science and medicine by women and people of color
- Theft of intellectual property and patents from women and people of color
- Jim Crow laws
- Racial segregation
- Institutionalized misogyny
- Gender discrimination
- Denial of civil rights
- White nationalism
I could go on for several pages but I think that list is sufficient to make my point. Every time a woman or person of color encounters a white guy, they see all that history, all that inclination toward hate, all of those instances of abuse of power and denial of basic humanity, and they respond with a justified distrust of every white guy on the planet. How white guys have responded for all of history shapes expectations for what white guys might do next and that expectation is that white guys are jackasses.
Yes, that is an unpleasant stereotype but it is not unfair because it’s based in well-documented fact. The reluctance of the US President to denounce the violent white nationalist movement as a global problem shows that the stereotype remains accurate. When people naturally question the motives of anything a white guy says or does it is because, as a group, white guys have proven they cannot be trusted.
Knowing that they start every social encounter with that stigma against them should make white guys more aware of when they’re being or about to be a jackass. When white guys begin to see themselves as other people see them, one might think they would be ashamed, and yes, some are.
Unfortunately, too many deny the reality of their past. Too many white guys claim they don’t have a racist bone in their body while being overtly racist. Too many white guys claim they support women in public but beat them up, physically and emotionally, in private. Too many white guys want to enforce laws on other people they don’t keep for themselves.
Too many white guys are jackasses and it’s not a secret. Everyone knows and judges every white guy they meet based upon that standard behavior. The only way to change that is for white guys to change their default behavior.
MAGA Is The New Klan
Symbolism is a big factor in what makes a person a jackass and there are some things that immediately identify a white guy, or anyone else for that matter, as a jackass. Among those symbols of gross ignorance are:
- Klan hoods
- Nazi/Neo-Nazi symbols such as swastikas
- Confederate battle flags
- Anything named after a Confederate
- MAGA merchandise
The past three years have seen a disturbing rise in the visibility of white supremacists. Concepts and ideas we thought were behind us, shoved into dark closets where their presence could be ignored, have been emboldened by the rhetoric of alt-right publications, radio talk show hosts, and the diatribe of politicians (who are primarily white guys) espousing anti-immigrant nationalism.
As a result, what began as a campaign slogan has become another symbol of hate. People wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) merchandise have taken to public rallies and social media to hurl vulgarities at people of color, people of non-Christian ethnicities, women, and even scientists and doctors. The frequency and volume with which that has happened is overwhelming and leaves those whose people groups have been attacked with little choice but to assume that anyone wearing such merchandise has to be a jackass.
Think of this in terms of guilt by association. When one is part of a team, and white guys are certainly their own team, one takes credit for the team’s activities. If a basketball team wins a game, it doesn’t matter how many of those points LeBron scored, the team won. When the rest of the Lakers fail to step up and lost the game, LeBron is just as much a loser as the rest of the team.
Guilt by association works the same way. When someone commits an act of hate while wearing a religious symbol, it smears the reputation of anyone wearing that same religious symbol. When someone says something racist while standing in front of a Confederate battle flag, it negatively colors the acts and words of anyone else embracing the Confederate battle flag regardless of their reasoning. When hundreds and thousands of people wearing MAGA hats scream derogatory and inflammatory comments about the press and immigrants it causes everyone in a MAGA hat to look like a jackass.
Please note that this has nothing to do with who has the right to do what. One still has the right to wear what they want to wear (with the exception of Nazi symbols across parts of Europe). However, it is impossible to embrace symbols of hate and still claim that one doesn’t hate. Words come rather inexpensively and if one’s actions don’t match with one’s words people of reason are going to trust the actions more than the words.
One also needs to be aware that just because something was once socially acceptable within a cloistered group of some form doesn’t make it publicly acceptable now. The use of blackface in minstrel shows is a prime example. Those cloistered within predominantly white society didn’t find anything wrong with the practice because they never even considered the racial implications. Now that people of color have made it abundantly clear how offensive blackface is, not only do we need to avoid it but we need to apologize if we’ve committed those acts previously. Such apologies are not merely for doing something offensive but for the willful ignorance that allowed one to engage in those incidents in the first place.
White guys are too often too slow to give up their symbols and too reluctant to admit their ignorance. While I don’t think anyone expects every white guy to suddenly change, be very much aware that wearing anything MAGA-oriented identifies one as a jackass. No other actions required.
Lose Your Obsession With Guns
When the founding fathers, a bunch of white guys, wrote the Constitution of the United States, our military was a long way from being the bloated representation of government overreach that it is today. There was no standing Army. Instead, each state maintained a militia, a National Guard-type unit, to be called upon should there be an invasion. To facilitate the readiness of that militia, the founders included the Second Amendment which reads:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
The entire purpose of the amendment was to make sure that no centralized federal government could take away the weapons that might prevent its overthrow should that become necessary. Democracy was a new concept and a lot of people didn’t trust it. The ability to forcibly change forms of government was an important issue.
Times have changed rather dramatically. The combat-ready strength of the US military stands at roughly 1.5 million troops supported by the best weaponry and technology in the world. While each state still maintains a localized National Guard under the control of each state’s governor, its weapons and materials are also provided by the federal military. There is absolutely no legitimate reason for anyone else to purchase and maintain military-grade weaponry. None. Zero. No one’s going to successfully take on an entire US Marine squardron and live to tell the tale. The initial purpose of the second amendment no longer exists.
However, white guys have been fighting tooth and nail for the right to keep weapons of every imaginable type in the name of “personal safety.” The problem with that is that, in turn, it is white guys causing the high-fatality incidents involving guns.
The problem with white guys and guns isn’t just in the United States, either. The person charged with the murder of 49 people in New Zealand is a white guy as well. The person who killed 69 people at a camp in Norway: a white guy. Over and over and over, we see it is predominantly white guys committing the greater acts of violence.
Here’s the thing: very few people think twice about someone having one gun. Whether for the myth of self-protection (one is more likely to be killed by their own gun) or for sport, one or even two guns is only going to raise the eyebrows of those committed to pacificity.
What is bothersome are those who stockpile weapons, especially weapons of military grade and weapons modified to do more damage to a target. There’s no legitimate, peaceful reason for maintaining these weapons. One can’t take them hunting because they damage the trophy. The only reason to have them in one’s possession is to kill people more efficiently, and any non-military concern over killing efficiently makes one a jackass.
Who does one plan on killing with weapons of such high damage strength? To claim that one is guarding themselves against the government is preposterous because from the outset one is massively outnumbered. That leaves the rest of us, normal, law-abiding citizens who now have to worry about the fact that some white guy has the ability to efficiently kill dozens of people before anyone can do anything to stop him.
No one in any oppressed group believes in such a thing as a good guy with a gun because that has not been our experience. In a world where people feel emboldened to shoot first and figure out the facts later, any display of excessive and unnecessary force is bothersome. Furthermore, the more one yells and screams about their “right” to carry, own, and stockpile such weapons, the most untrustworthy and suspicious they appear.
When we see a white guy desperately clinging to his weapons with a “pry them from my dead, cold hands” attitude, we see someone capable of committing the next mass shooting. We don’t see a “nice guy.” We don’t see someone who is going to keep “the rest of us” safe. We see a lunatic. We see a jackass.
Keep Your Pants On
Again, recent news points to the problem white guys have thinking they have some right to have sex with everyone else, including children. Perhaps the biggest news of the past month in this regard is the sentencing of former Cardinal Pell, another white guy, for his assault on two choir boys. Finally, we’re seeing the courts and perhaps, more importantly, the Catholic church standing up against jackasses who commit sexual assault.
One doesn’t have to commit a felony to be guilty of being a jackass, though. White guys have long held this mistaken belief that it is their job to propagate the human species and acted as though the world were dependent upon them having as much sex with as many different people as possible. Those guys are all wrong. The planet is over-populated, so we don’t need anyone propagating the species and too many of their victims would not be capable of producing offspring because they, too, are guys.
Sexually aggressive white guys have gotten away with their actions for centuries because anyone who dared to speak up was instantly shamed and ridiculed, that whole blame-the-victim problem. Fortunately, society, in large part thanks to the #metoo movement, has started moving away from that bad habit and is calling out white guys who attempt to impose their sexual urges upon anyone who does not want them or who might be incapable of providing informed consent.
Dear white guys: if anyone is desperate enough to want to have sex with you, they’ll find a way to let you know. Outside of that scenario, back the fuck off everyone. Stop leering from across the room. Stop stalking people on social media. When you break up with someone, don’t keep texting, stay off their social media, and let them get on with their lives without you. Perhaps more than anything white guys, stop sending people pictures of your penis when they haven’t asked for them! That act alone is enough to brand a person as a jackass forever.
Please believe me when I say that no one is impressed with the sexual prowess of white guys. Instead, most people are disgusted, disapproving, and disappointed. White guys don’t have anything better, or often as good, as anyone else. White guys are not better lovers, not more romantic, and not more likely to father exceptionally talented or intelligent babies.White guys hold absolutely zero sexual advantage over anyone else.
Instead, white guys have a greater reputation for taking advantage of people who are intoxicated, slipping dangerous substances into people’s drinks, and committing violent sexual acts against anyone they think they can dominate. This is one of those areas where it doesn’t seem to matter if one is gay or straight, either. Gay white guys tend to be just as sexually inappropriate toward other men as straight white guys are toward women. The only significant difference between the two is that gay white guys often pretend to be straight white guys because they’re afraid to admit that they’re gay, which a completely different issue.
Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of people out there who enjoy a good sexual encounter and appreciate a lover who demonstrates sufficient talent in pleasuring their partner. We’re not saying people don’t want to have sex. What we’re saying is that they want to choose with whom and under what conditions they have sex. No one wants to put up with witless suggestive banter (and trust us, all those pickup lines you stole off the Internet are genuinely dull and boring). No one wants to feel that their job depends on having sex with you, or that they may not get a promotion if they turn you down.
I feel the need to be very specific because the demonstrated level of ignorance is so very high. Therefore, take this to heart, doing any of the following things makes one a jackass:
- Making any form of sexually suggestive comment toward any person under the age of 18. It’s illegal, jackass.
- Pressuring anyone of any age to have any form of sexual contact with you, including touching outside one’s clothing.
- Failure to wear a condom during any sexual activity that involves the potential exchange of fluids.
- Failure to disclose any sexually transmitted disease with a potential partner.
- Making continued sexual advances or overtures after being told no. No one is really going to respond positively to being “worn down.”
- Touching someone sexually without permission.
- Touching, snapping, or pulling on someone’s undergarments without express permission. No, it’s not funny.
- Pulling out one’s penis in public. Ever.
- Implying with or without any level of specificity that sexual activity with you might lead to any form of preferential treatment.
- Blaming someone else for your sexual aggression.
- Suggesting that someone’s manner of dress or other activities was “asking for it.”
- Trying to pass off one’s sexual aggression as a religious or fraternal obligation.
- Dismissing one’s sexual activities with phrases such as “I didn’t mean anything by it,” or “I was just joking around.” No one’s laughing.
Check Your Opinions
Fans of The Big Lebowski are fond of replying to a statement with the dismissive quote, “Well, that’s like, just your opinion, man.” Another frequent quote of more questionable sourcing is, “Opinions are like assholes: everyone has one and they all stink.” We have a lot of opinions about opinions and defend severely the right for one to hold whatever opinion they might wish to have.
However, some opinions that white guys often hold get them labeled as jackasses. While one has the right to any nonsense that pops into their pea brain, there are a number of opinions white guys need to keep to themselves. Why? Because some topics are absolutely none of your business and any opinion a white guy holds no those topics is irrelevant. Voicing, especially yelling, an opinion about something that for them is irrelevant puts one squarely within the domain of being a jackass.
Since I am sure that statement leaves some people scratching their heads, let me offer some specific examples.
Anything to do with women’s bodies and/or their ability and willingness to procreate. Only women have the right to express opinions about matters related to their bodies. Even if a white guy is married to a woman, that still does not give them the right to exert any level of dominance over what they do with or to their own bodies. White guys seem to have an especially difficult time getting this fact through their thick heads. When it comes to women’s bodies, your opinion is not wanted, your opinion is not needed, your opinion is irrelevant, and voicing anything other than support makes you a jackass.
Expressing opinions that assume other people, especially women, don’t understand a topic as well as you do. You’ve heard the word “mansplaining,” so don’t do it. Any time a white guy feels the words, “Well, actually … : start to come out of their mouth, they should, as quickly as possible, shove a donut in it so that thought doesn’t actually escape. Believe it or not, people are fulling capable of discovering the truth to matters on their own and if they need the assistance of a white guy, they’ll ask for it. No one has deemed that white guys are any smarter than the rest of the population. Even if you think you’re “just trying to help,” wait for someone to ask. Correcting someone just because you think you’re right makes you a jackass.
Attempting to “relate” with a culture of which you are not a part. Sorry, Dad, you’re not “cool” when you voice your opinion on your daughter’s favorite musician, even if you think you’re agreeing with her. What you are, in fact, doing is embarrassing her and acting like a jackass. The same goes for any white guy who claims to know how a person of color feels. Dude, it is impossible for you to know how a person of color feels because you are not a person of color! You can be sympathetic to their challenges, you can be empathetic to their struggles, you can be supportive of their goals and life choices. But things, like calling someone “nigga” or acting all “hood” when you live in the burbs, is a straight-up jackass move.
Stating opinions that imply a person is not as good as you simply because of their skin color, gender, country of origin, sexual identity, or religious beliefs. The proper term for those opinions is hate and we’ve had about all the hate from white guys that we can stand. As we have stated previously, you are not more important than anyone else. One can be confident and self-assured without disparaging others in the process.Putting yourself above anyone else is a classic jackass move. Not only that, white guys have held these hate-filled opinions for so long that the level of jackass one achieves in expressing hateful opinions magnifies the severity of how very wrong one is being.
White guys, more than any other group, have used their opinions to dominate others. The time has come for this form of manipulation to end. Check your opinion and feel free to keep your mouth shut.
Believe In Science
Nothing makes a white guy look like a jackass any faster than not believing science. Whether it’s regarding vaccinations or climate change or the source of humanity, science has such well-established answers to so many questions that to challenge them without equal levels of scientific evidence is preposterous. Yet, white guys keep going there in astounding numbers. Here are some things white guys have actually said.
“I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming.” – Vice President Mike Pence
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” – Donald J. Trump (2012)
“There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.” – Rick Perry
“I’ve heard many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” – US Senator Rand Paul
One doesn’t have to do a lot of research to find that the majority of conspiracy theories and anti-science rhetoric around a number of topics, from the shape of the planet to our exploration of space, are dominated by white guys. Look for science deniers among people of color or women and one doesn’t find many in either group. White men, though, they think they know better than all those folks with their years of research and blind studies and proven theories.
Dear white guys: failure to believe in science makes you look stupid. In fact, anytime a white guy makes a comment contrary to proven science, everyone assumes that such ignorance comes from an inability to comprehend anything more complicated than the construction of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Many people pity the poor white guy whose brain has not developed to the point they understand basic science.
What separates science from white guys’ opinion? Proof. White guys’ attempts at proving their statements are lacking any form of real proof. They may have a large number of assumptions or even utilize anecdotal stories that kinda sound like they might be factual, maybe. Scientists, on the other hand, have to submit their research for peer review, a study by other people who are also smart, and the ability to duplicate findings with accuracy. By the time a piece of scientific research is released to the public, it has already been tested, re-tested, and frequently utilized multiple studies before coming to a consensus. Bottom line, scientists know what they’re talking about while untrained white guys running around the internet fail to have a clue.
When a white guy says they don’t believe science, not only do they look stupid, they are also letting everyone know that they’re scared little boys afraid that all the science is going to destroy their power and influence. I have bad news for those people: when science says the planet is getting warmer, it’s going to happen whether you believe it or not. When science says that without immunization children are going to die of preventable diseases, that’s going to happen regardless of what you believe. Science neither needs nor asks for your approval. A + B = C every time and what some random white guy believes about that is irrelevant.
So, if the choice is being a jackass who looks like a fool or accepting the science and making adjustments accordingly to live a better life, doesn’t it make more sense to believe the science? Yes, it does. This is a really, really easy place to not look like a jackass. Try it.
Stop Calling The Cops On Everyone
We seem to have developed this problem over the past three years of white guys calling cops on people of color who are doing nothing more than living their lives. Apparently, a large number of white guys, typically overweight white guys with bad haircuts, seem to think that they need to call the cops anytime they see a person of color or even someone they simply don’t know doing something.
Apparently, there is some disconnect with white guys being able to tell what is an emergency and what isn’t. Let me help you with that. NONE of the following things are reasons to call the police.
- Operating a lemonade store
- Golfing too slowly
- Waiting for a friend at Starbucks
- Barbecuing at a park
- Working out at a gym
- Campaigning door to door
- Moving into an apartment
- Mowing the wrong lawn
- Shopping for prom clothes
- Napping in a university common room
- Asking for directions
- Not waving while leaving an Airbnb
- Redeeming a coupon
- Selling bottled water on a sidewalk
- Eating lunch on a college campus
- Riding in a car with a white grandmother
- Babysitting two white children
- Wearing a backpack that brushed against a woman
- Working as a home inspector
- Working as a firefighter
- Helping a homeless man
- Delivering newspapers
- Swimming in a pool
- Shopping while pregnant
- Driving with leaves on a car
- Trying to cash a paycheck
Notice each of those items has a link. That link takes one to the CNN article reporting on that ridiculous event actually taking place. Someone actually decided to call the cops because people of color were engaged in these activities.
This is the type of thing that prompts normal people to ask the question, “What the fuck are these people thinking?” The answer is that they’re not thinking at all. People who call the cops on those who are only living their lives are racist jackasses.
I have looked over all of these and tried to imagine under what circumstances someone might be so misguided as to feel the need to call the police. The only excuses I can see is either blatant racism or else every one of these people is hallucinating and thinks brightly colored unicorns that need to be tamed, or some other such nonsense.
People of color know this ongoing form of oppression all too well. The fact that there has been an uptick in reporting this nonsense is new, but there has never been a time in our nation’s history where white guys weren’t calling the police on people of color simply for existing. The biggest difference now is that other people, people of conscience, are watching and making sure that these absurd incidents don’t go unnoticed and, in many cases, that the person calling the police is appropriately shamed or even legally punished.
Still, just in case there is any lingering confusion, these are the instances where one should call the police:
- When you witness a murder
- When you witness a shooting
- When you witness a carjacking
- When you witness a robbery
- When you witness a vehicle accident
- When you are stranded on the road and need assistance
- When you are being attacked by a herd of wild elephants, lions, or tigers
- When you’ve fallen and can’t get up
- When your car is not where you parked it
- When someone takes a ball bat to your head
- When someone removes your spleen without your permission
- When your identity is stolen
- When you don’t know where you are
- When you don’t know who you are
- When you discover a 30-foot crater in your yard that wasn’t there before
- When bullets come whizzing through your windows
- When people come whizzing through your windows
- When cars come whizzing through your walls.
Are you beginning to get the idea? When something actually happens to you or you witness the real commission of a serious crime, then it’s okay to call the police. Any other time, think about what you’re doing before you do it. Calling the police just because people of color are living is being a jackass.
Just Because Someone Is Different Doesn’t Mean They’re Wrong
A large number of white guys seem to have issues with anyone that is different from them. One of the biggest issues with the white supremacy movement is the ridiculous and hilariously unsubstantiated opinion that being white and male somehow makes one better than everyone else on the planet. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There’s nothing wrong with people being different in every way imaginable. People who are of a different race are not wrong. People who are in a different place on the gender spectrum are not wrong. People who love differently are not wrong.
Bottom line: People being who they are and who they want to be is not wrong.
What this comes down to is minding one’s own business. Does it hurt a white guy for someone to not speak English? No. Does it hurt a white guy for a woman to love other women? No. Does it hurt a white guy for someone to worship different mythology? Not at all. All of those are personal issues and that means they have absolutely zero bearing on anyone else.
Since lists seem to be the one thing each of these sections has n common, let’s create another one. Here is a partial list of personal choices, characteristics, and traits that are not anyone’s business except for the person to whom they belong.
- Being gay, bi, lesbian, trans, pan, omni, or anywhere else on the gender/sexuality spectrum
- Being vegan or an omnivore or any other dietary preference
- Having non-white skin
- Being Muslim, Hindu, or any other non-Christian religion, or no religion at all
- Being an immigrant, regardless of the circumstances
- Having sexual fetishes
- Being voluntarily celibate
- Whatever number of children one has, including none
- Having colored hair, or not having any hair at all
- Body modifications
- Being overweight or obsessively fit
- Having emotional and intellectual challenges
- Physical deformities and challenges
For centuries, white guys have picked on and bullied people like these simply because society let them get away with it. We’re not doing that anymore. Calling people names like “Pocahontas” because they claim some native ancestry or “Cryin’ Chuck” because someone shows emotion is being about as big a jackass as is possible and there’s absolutely no room for it in today’s society.
New flash: Diversity is a strength and going forward it is the cultures that are most diverse that are going to lead the way and dominate in terms of innovation and economic growth. There is no gain to be made by leaving people out of the conversation simply because something about them is different. We, as a society, are increasingly finding more ways to embrace and celebrate how beautifully diverse we are and the more white guys get in the way and try to put people down or push them to the side, the more often white guys are going to find themselves on the losing end of legal action. We’re not putting up with the segregation and separation and bullying any longer.
What white guys need to realize is that just because people laughed at their antics before doesn’t mean their actions are acceptable. People laughed because they were afraid of becoming the next target. We’re tired of laughing and tired of making excuses for you when you’re nothing more than a bully. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with someone being different from you. In fact, in most cases, being different from you is a good thing because no one wants to be the jackass who bullies someone into committing suicide. White guys have been doing that far too much and it needs to stop. Now.
Don’t Expect Back What You Don’t Give
I’m starting to hear white guys complain that they’re not being respected anymore. I’ve got some bad news for you, dudes, you never were respected that much in the first place. For centuries, people have feared white guys, tolerated white guys, and acquiesed to white guys because they didn’t think they had any choice. White guys controlled everything and to challenge them has too often meant death. We’re not talking ancient history here, either. This past week’s tragedy in New Zealand is a perfect example.
White guys scream about demanding respect, respect for their person, their position in a company or in government, respect for their heritage, and respect for their accomplishments. When focused on themselves, white guys are all about respect.
When someone else is the topic, though, white guys seem to forget the meaning of the word. They have a history of doing things such as pushing people to the back of the bus, or forcing them to eat in a different part of the restaurant, and making them use a separate entrance. White guys have too frequently showed disrespect for entire countries, referring to them in derogatory manner and denying them the investments they need to succeed. Traditions and cultures are frequently ignored by white guys as well unles they see something they can appropriate for their own use.
Society respects those who raise the bar in how they treat others. No one is going to respect you for having a lot of money if one simply capitalizes off the family trust fund. Society respects those who use their wealth to help other people and improve the human condition for those who have little or nothing. No one is going to respect your achievment when it comes accepting creit for the work of others and profiting from the innovation of others. Society respects those who lift people up, who give credit where it’s earned, who leave no one in the shadows and distributes the rewards fairly across those who participated.
History works against white guys who want respect. The legacy you have is not a good one. People who have already suffered at the hands of white guys aren’t likely to trust the next one no matter how much he smiles and tells them he’s different. They’ve heard those words before and found them to be lies.
If white guys want respect they have to give it in greater doses than can be returned to them. They have to use their privilege and positions of power to help people, not just people who look like them, but people they’ve never met, people who struggle, people who have addictions, people who have too often been kept from participating fully. If white guys want respect, they have to be willing to step aside and let someone else lead, they have to admit when they’re wrong and apologize quickly and earnestly, not waiting until their back is against a wall.
If white guys want respect, they have to stop mistreating their own families. Doing things like sleeping with a porn star while your wife is pregnant is one of the biggest jackass moves ever. Divorcing your dying wife to marry your mistress is another jackass white guy move that kills any respect for you. Turning your back on a child because they’re gay or marry someone of a different race or religion immediately strips you of any respect you might have had.
Folks in Indiana have mourned the passing this week of former US Senator Birch Bayh. I want to be careful here about praising someone I didn’t know, especially a politician, but at least on a few instances Senator Bayh set a good example for white guys. One was in his authorship of Title IX that requires women to be given equal acces to higher education and athletics. I went back and looked at some of the opposition he faced to that legislation and was sicked by some of the demeaning excuses given by his fellow Senators who opposed his work. Senator Bayh also wrote the constitutional amendment lowering the voting age to 18, realizing that there were young people dying for a country in which they had no voice. Senator Bayh also played a significant role in the construction of the Equal Rights Amendment and even though he couldn’t get that one passed, he made an overwhelming effort to give a voice to millions of people who still, to this day, struggle to be heard. Senator Bayh was, at least in those specific moments, a white guy who earned some respect.
Unfortunately, there are too few white guys who are willing to put their careers and reputation on the line for the sake of others. There are too few white guys standing up to not only apologize for the sins of their forefathers but taking steps to correct the damage they’ve done.
Instead, we get one jackass after another who thinks that white supremacy isn’t really a problem, who think racists can still be “really good people,” and who are willing to deprive their own people of the assistance they’ve earned in order to build a massive symbol of intolerance along our Southern border. There are too many jackasses looking for respect they’re never going to receive.
No One Is Coming For Your Job
White guys, more than any other group, have an irrational fear of being unemployed and becoming obsolete. If white guys in any way face obsolescence it is because of their own failure to adapt to the changing conditions of the world around them. No one is doing anything to white guys. Rather, they’re stubbornly refusing to change, as though learning new skills and new ways of work is somehow beneath them.
Let’s look at these things called facts. US unemployment is around 3.6%, the lowest it has been in over 20 years. And while it’s true that those numbers don’t account for people who have given up on looking for jobs, the fact remains that there are hundreds of thousands of jobs going unfilled because there is no one available to fill them. Farm and day labor jobs are especially hurting as they have traditionally relied on the immigrant labor force. Those employers would love it if white guys would apply for their jobs, but they won’t. White guys think the work is beneath them and that those jobs don’t pay enough. Yet, they don’t want anyone else to have them, either, but cause that’s somehow “stealing” their job. Never mind the sheer lunacy of the fact that one can’t lose what one never had.
We should also bear in mind that white guys have a really bad history of bringing in other people against their will to do the jobs they don’t want to do. What do you think the slave trade was all about? White guys didn’t want to pick cotton because it’s hard, menial work. So, they forced people of color to do that work for them. Now, white guys are complaining that people of color are taking their jobs? That’s some jackassery right there.
If anyone is coming for the white guy’s job, it’s technology and yes, that might be something worthy of some worry. However, even that problem can be solved by learning a new skill. One is never too old to learn how to code and coding is the new equivalent of working on a manufacturing floor. By the time we reach 2030, coding is going to be considered a basic skill expected of everyone entering the workforce. The prudent move would be for white guys to start taking classes now.
The United States economy cannot survive without foreign workers. At the moment, there are approximately 13.2 million people working in the US who are from foreign countries. If all those workers were forced to leave, our economy would completely collapse and many more jobs would be lost as employers went out of business. Immigration is a key and fundamental component to growth and without it, every other job is in jeopardy. We don’t have enough people to fill all the jobs.
Here’s another thing one might want to consider: about 65,000 immigrants currently serve in the US Armed Forces. Anyone who seriously disparages a young person who is willing to lay down their life for a country in which they were not born is a special kind of jackass.
No one is after your job, dude. And even if they were, there are millions of jobs waiting for someone to fill them. This fear mongering about jobs is something only white guys who are jackasses do.
Just Trying Being A Nice Guy
I could go on and on and on about all the things that white guys need to do to not be a complete jackass. The list is lengthy and about the time I think I have everything covered, one of you comes up with a new mind-boggling low that shows us there is still more jackass ground to cover.
The typical defense is “Not all white guys are jackasses,” but I want to challenge that statement. Not all white guys are jackasses all the time. There are plenty of white guys who are cool on most issues but have one bad habit such as refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns around someone who is nonbinary. That’s a matter of respect, dude. Show some and maybe you’ll get some back. Other white guys do little non-verbal things, like making a show of wiping down the gym equipment after it was used by a black person who also wiped down the equipment. I saw that happen just this morning. Jackass move, dude.
More than anything, my challenge to white guys is that you know better. You know what you’re doing, what you’re saying, and how you’re acting is wrong. If you were still two and pulling this bullshit, your Mom would yank you up by the shirt collar and blister the seat of your pants. Regardless of how they themselves might have acted, white males alive today were taught to treat everyone fairly and equally, to listen to what other people say before responding, and that the color of a person’s skin makes absolutely no difference in the biological construction beneath that skin. You know better.
White guys need a time out. They need to take a step back, stop running for political office, and see how much the world improves when it’s not being run by one jackass after another. Sit it out for at least a generation. Watch. Learn. Improve. Then maybe you can earn your way back into the public trust.
But right now? White guys, as a group, are a mess. It frightens me that I am too often identified as one of you. The world rapidly grows tired of putting up with your foolishness. If white guys don’t improve, there may eventually be a legitimate reason to be afraid. Do better.