Dear Whining White Men, Stop Being So Defensive And Check Your Privilege

Sarah Wood
Apr 23, 2018 · 5 min read
“A black-and-white shot of a crying man in a suit and tie” by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

When you’ve been at the top for so long, and others start to creep on what you’ve deemed your territory, you will likely get defensive. That seems to be exactly the case as women, people of color and the LGBTQ community gain, or are at least trying to gain, equal footing and parity.

And no, you’re not imagining it, there’s a growing number of white men who are threatened by equity and legitimately feel they are losing out by others receiving the same treatment they’ve always gotten. Some will even go so far as to call it misandry and racism against white men, then form “men’s rights” groups. You know, for all those rights white men don’t already have.

How does the saying go? “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Then you have the new wave of philosophers taking advantage of this fragileness of male ego, like clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson. He will flat-out say that there is no such thing as white privilege. He told Joe Rogan:

“I think the idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible. And it’s not because white people aren’t privileged. You know, we have all sorts of privileges, and most people have privileges of all sorts, and you should be grateful for your privileges and work to deserve them, I would say. But, the idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group, there is absolutely nothing that’s more racist than that. It’s absolutely abhorrent.”

When you have to use the same phrase over and over by just rephrasing it, chances are, you’re not saying anything at all. No one is calling white privilege a “collective crime,” Jordan, but that’s what he’s telling his following. Imagine the victimhood that will create alongside the defensive backlash. Also, calling out white privilege isn’t racism, it’s pointing out a systemic truth. If that truth makes you uncomfortable to the point where you feel personally attacked, that likely says more about you than anything else. He’s enabling the crowd who claims “reverse racism” to feel they are correct in their assumptions they are being attacked simply for being white. They’re not. White privilege being called out is simply pointing out systemic advantages that have been around for centuries.

Then there are Peterson’s thoughts on women:

via Twitter

Where to even begin with that. Peterson has, on more than one occasion, made the inclination that women are neurotic and made for breeding and their men are to take care of them. Nevermind the fact that some women are with other women. Then, bringing Islam into it, it also raises the point that he doesn’t understand Islam or women or why women seek equity in a male dominated society. To be completely honest, he seems to build his entire philosophy around making himself feel better. You can see this in action on his Twitter and Facebook feed as he posts and boasts about himself over and over again.

Peterson is also against higher education institutions even though he’s a professor himself and while the number one part of being a psychologist is to “do no harm,” his beliefs and teachings are harming society as a whole as he seeks to hold back progress. Then he’ll say something like “regressive leftists” which is the ultimate hypocrisy considering the left holds progressive ideals. You literally can’t be a regressive progressive. It’s not a thing. The greatest irony is that Peterson doesn’t like higher ed because it “indoctrinates” our youth. No, Jordan, that’s just you. Most universities just seek to educate with facts, logic, and a broader understanding of life than women are for breeding, calling white privilege racism, and feminism is neurotic. Oh, and “social justice warriors” should be praised. Who the hell is against justice? Seriously.

Here’s the thing, though, Peterson is just one of many currently capitalizing off white men losing their sh*t as equity looks to become a reality. Even some supposed liberal men, the men feminists and people of color would hope to rely on, are in a state of denial over their privilege. Statements like “reverse racism” and “not all men” lighting up Twitter feeds nationwide. Don’t turn yourself into a victim just because systemic inequalities are finally being brought to light and it turns out you’ve been on the good end of that stick for your entire life.

Remember, “privilege” doesn’t necessarily mean wealth. That’s a common misconception as many scream, “where’s my privilege?!” Where’s your privilege? Your privilege is in not being followed in a store or pulled over while driving and shot because of the color of your skin. Your privilege is in getting promoted and having assumed skills because of your race and gender. Your privilege is in being able to get away with all this whining and still holding your privilege. If you don’t see your privilege, that’s a privilege. You’ve never had to live in a world where you didn’t have all the options on the table. You’ve never had to live in a world where you didn’t think justice would be served. Sure, there can still be wealth injustices and disparities, and those are very real and will not be ignored, but in order to see what the rest of society is talking about, you’re going to have to look past your own myopic personal reality and beyond your own nose.

Owning your white male privilege will be the first step to finally coming to a greater understanding of society as a whole, and guess what, people will think you’re a better person for it. Acknowledging injustice and lack of equity doesn’t make you less of a man, nor will it take away any of your existing rights. Feminists and Black Lives Matter activists simply want what you’ve always had — respect. So, offer us that instead of getting defensive. See our plights and be a supportive ally instead of going on men’s rights retreats as a safe space and pretending inequity doesn’t exist. Pretending it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. It won’t make us stop calling you out. It won’t make any of what I just wrote less true.

If ignorance is bliss, these men who deny white male privilege must be on cloud nine. However, with injustice and blatant sexism being called out daily, they are forced to see the truth and that is extremely uncomfortable for them. Yet, with that discomfort, if they allow themselves to embrace it for what it is, we can all move forward together in a more equitable society. So, please, stop whining and embrace the truth. But don’t expect us to hold your hand through your discomfort. That’s not our job. But your privilege will make you think it is — that’s white male privilege.

Sarah Wood

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Writer & Satirist. Creator @FreeWoodPost. Sax Player. Lover of Art. Hiker of trails. Boston fan. Host of @SWvarietyhour — Writer for hire.