No One Cares, Straight White Male.
I've read this article several times. Every time I do, I’m more and more astounded by it. Not because of its trenchant insights, or the quality of the prose, but that anyone thought it was a good idea to write in the first place. The author, Rob Boffard, says he “agonised over it, tried out different angles, cogitated and pondered and considered.” I think he should have done a little more of all of this, and not written the fucking thing. Or, having written it, kept it to himself.
I mean, Rob, if I may call you Rob, I get it. You’re a straight white male, with, you can’t stop telling us, a white dick. You’re white, and your white dick loves it some women. Terrific. I kinda got all of that from the “straight white male” self-description, but if you just want to hammer your point home with the tool in hand (pun very much intended), I’m not going to stop you.
Somehow you think being a straight white male is a bad thing. You don’t explain why, Rob, but if you don’t mind I’d like to offer my own explanation for this puzzling belief. I think the idea that being a straight white male is a negative comes from the visibility of some of those things other groups do to address the centuries of discrimination and current inequality they endure simply for being themselves. All sorts of non-white, non-male, non-straight groups have their parades and their history months and their entertainment channels and their literary prizes and nondiscrimination laws. What’s a straight white male to do against such an onslaught of preferential treatment? How can one ever cope being a writer when facing such discrimination?
Rob, I feel your pain. Truly, I do, because like you I am one of those straight white males. And, seeing as how this has obviously affected you deeply, I’m going to offer my assistance with this problem. Straight white guy to straight white guy, free of charge.
Ready? Here goes. Feel free to take notes.
First, no one cares. I mean this. No one gives a flying fuck about your dilemma. Fuck off. And fuck your useless narcissistic entitlement masquerading as white guilt while you’re at it. You’re making the rest of us look bad.
No, no, that’s too harsh. Or not harsh enough, whatever. I’m going to take a deep breath and try this again.
Here we go.
You say, in your article, the following:
I have tried to understand this debate. I have tried to arrange my thoughts, tried to figure out what stance I could take on it. I am entirely aware that there aren't nearly enough female writers, that there aren't nearly enough writers of colour. I am cognisant of the fact that LGBQT writers are in the minority. I am painfully aware that writers of these persuasions are routinely insulted, belittled and discriminated against. I acknowledge that there is a massive problem.
When I first read this, I was relieved. He actually does get it. I thought, oh, the earlier fuckery was simply a buildup to this. He’s going to get some sense now and write like the non-asshole he probably is. Good for him.
But then you write:
“The debate is there, and it’s one we need to be having.”
“ I just don’t understand what to do about it.”
Here, you lose me again. Completely. First, what don’t you understand? Do you not have access to a halfway decent search engine? Here’s a tip: Type in the phrase “how to be an ally” into Google. You’ll see literally hundreds of articles, mostly written by people of color, chock full of tips to clueless but hopefully well-meaning white guys like yourselves on how we can help. It’s really easy to find this information — why haven’t you?
Second, what debate do we need to have? That there aren't enough minority/female/LGBQT writers? Then we need more. End of debate.
I’d like to point out that however well meaning your description of the problem is, it is also 100% wrong. There are tons of these writers. TONS. Books by people of these “persuasions,” as you so asininely describe them, are everywhere.
The problem isn't that there aren't any writers in these groups. The problem is that not enough people read and pay money for their work. Why? Because they don’t have the visibility and other advantages of straight white males like ourselves. They don’t have those advantages because we have straight white male privilege, a veritable intersection of overlapping benefits we get simply for being born with our white skin and our hetero white dicks. Congratulations!
These same privileges apply to other straight white male authors, so when you, as a reader, go to find something to read, these advantages will help their work at the expense of other’s work, regardless of its quality. Like you, they get advantages they didn't earn.
So the problem isn't that there aren't enough minority writers, it’s that too few minority writers make a decent living from their writing, and that’s because the privilege deck is stacked against them. You want to help with this problem? Great. READ their books, PAY money for those books, and if you read something you like, TELL other people about it. That’s all there is to it — it’s that simple. You were so close.
Challenges like those offered by K.T. Bradford are trying to, at least in part, to get people to do those three things listed above. No “difficult questions,” as you suggest. Just Read. Pay. Tell. That’s it. These three things, if enough people do them, will go a long way to solving the problem of not enough minority writers in the world making a living from their work.
Simply because you see a challenge on the internet doesn't mean you need to accept it. It’s not a dare. I’m willing to bet that you’re going to be fine just ignoring it. You can go on reading all the books by all the straight white men you like.
But if you want to address the issue of not enough other kinds of writers out there, and I will take you on your word that you do, broaden your reading a bit. You don’t have to accept this challenge 100%. There’s plenty of ways you can read works by a more diverse group of authors without tossing all straight white men out of your library. For example, every other book you read this year could be by a person of color. Or every third. Or you can pick five works by LGBQT authors to read this year, and then actually read them. You never know, you might actually enjoy it.
But don’t write more of these self-serving, victim blaming pieces of garbage that whine about how all of your massive unearned privileges that you've been blessed with since birth are somehow a huge hindrance. You come off like a narcissistic, clueless asshole. And Rob — one more thing. I think I’m pretty safe in saying no one wants to hear about your fucking white dick again.
Hope this helped. Happy reading!