Delusional white male seeks America…
I woke up white today, and I have come to understand what this means now. I thought I was just lucky, but nope. Turns out the hand I was dealt is an easy bluff. I’m white, cisgender male, and have 24 years of experience being “straight”. This is due to the circumstances of my being from the Deep South, post-Jim Crow era. Playing straight was a means of self preservation and survival. In short, my cards are in my favor. With 2 of 3, I can bluff a full house while only holding 2 of a kind. So I thought I was just lucky, but with a president-elect such as the Donald, now I know that whiteness is a wieldy power, not simply a category on the SAT.
I didn’t know that whiteness was such an advantage. That was until I saw what gross mis-use that very advantage can affect. Following the rise of the Donald, it’s clear that whiteness was losing its value. This is the clearest connection I can make, given what is acceptable behavior of white males such as The president-elect. So now I call bluff, simply because I now realize how much influence I too can have…simply being, you know, white, cisgender male and well frankly knowing how to code-switch to a masculine persona.
- Remain silent and now I too am complicit in the vitriol that my fellow white males are now guilty of. (see Trump rally)
- Every misdeed that I knew before to be sinful will still be rewarded.
- I came out of the closet because it was no place to live.
I got some much needed clarity over a spanikopita and coffee with Nick this afternoon. We discussed an article in the NYTimes. Now I understand the enduring power of my race. Because I was one to engage with people of color, I too was shocked by a victory from the Donald.
Nick has this shamanic quality about him. The way he understands the world is truly profound. He was able to help lend word to the worry and grief I feel post election.
Words caused this rift. They can actually hurt. I know because I was bullied…a lot. It’s death by 1000 cuts. Sharp words give rise to reactions, however volatile. Divisive language is where it begins, but the rift ends with violence.
If we take a step back and look at the structure of language, we can see how there is correlation between two seemingly unrelated terms. Words have divided us. Before we used these tools there were weapons to divide us. Take a look at the literal structure of these tools that have little relation other than we spell them almost identically.
Word : Sword
And what has dominated our lives for a year of campaigning? Words, cutting to the core of every “other” save white, straight cisgender men.
The good thing about swords is they cut both ways. That’s what we must count on now. Words are what has divided us and I personally intend to lean forward to better understand how to use my whiteness to subvert all lessening of human value.