I hate being a white male
and how that makes me hate being a white male even more
Boy-oh-boy is it rough being a white dude. Lemme tell ya. First off, we don’t get enough attention. Plain and simple. Secondly…
Are you wary of the cringeworthy self-awareness of the “Still here?” bit, yet STILL find yourself interested in reading at least a few more
Words to the wise? The following could potentially be considered a “think piece”, at least in the sense that the author is thinking about the subject a lot, but a more accurate description would probably be “prolapsed journal entry”.
The inherent privilege of being a white male is my entire existence. It drives or at the very least assists nearly everything that has ever happened to me, and I imagine it will continue to do so for the remainder of my life.
I am the only child of an upper-middle class (Is that still a thing?) white family. Our whiteness has provided at least two generations of leg-up-edness, to the extent that if I fail professionally, I will have the monetary support of my parents, and when they someday pass, I will in all likelihood become exponentially more wealthy than I am now or may become before their departure. (But please never die, Mom and Dad, because I love you very much.)
I have not had to work as hard to achieve personal success as my non-white-male* peers.
*That hyphenate is confusing, I know, but so is the notion that “non-white-male” is a group that needs to be addressed as a whole.
I have never experienced prejudice due to my pearly white skin or modest male genitals.
I have never been sexually assaulted. I have been given unwanted attention, to which I have simply said, “No thanks” or “Goodbye”, which is code for “This is such an uncommon occurrence for men that it’s quite the novelty — hell, I’m actually a little flattered — so I’m going to leave this situation unfazed while still making twenty-five cents more on the dollar than you… babe”.
There is no racial slur to demean me. (“Honky” doesn’t count; it is the lamest, least-offensive slur in the English language. It’s so worthless I actually had to look up the spelling to figure out if it had an ‘e’ or not.)
To boot, I’m physically in the Top 1% of whites to ever white — six feet tall, 170 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, good teeth, pretty much accent-neutral (a few Chicago a’s make an appearance, especially when drinking), and the haircut once donned by fly boys and Hollywood beaus that has now become the standard-issue ‘do for white supremacists (fuck that, by the way). My one possible drawback is the fact that I’ve put a few sporty decals on my body, but then again, to some this might make me more “white contemporary”.
Oh, also, I’m cisgender and straight.
And I fucking hate it. I hate being a white male*.
*Hey, quick aside before we go any further: From this point forward, assume that when I use the phrase “white male/man/guy” it includes all the fixings described above pertaining to socio-economics, sexuality, appearance, etc.
I hate that I feel like not being a bigot isn’t enough. I truly believe that all people should be treated equally, regardless of skin shade or genitals or (ir)relevant this-or-that (with perhaps the exception of the demographic that I fall into) and yet I take virtually no pride in that. Supporting equality doesn’t seem to matter when you’re this white and privileged. I am an ally in your march who belongs in an alleyway.
I hate that some white men have a growing, multi-departmental club with the explicit purpose of hating in concert. They are called white supremacists. I hate them not just because of the bogus, sideways, ill-informed, illogical, fear-induced, baseless, immoral, whiny-ass-punk reasoning they uphold their ideals with, but because in their Utopia, everyone would look like me. We’d even have the same haircut. (This is a fine haircut and I really want the bigots to give it back.)
I hate that these white supremacists seeks to “restore” (whatever the fuck that means) “white identity” (and for real whatever the fuck that means), and that by many metrics, I am that identity.
I hate Proud Boys (but I also kind of admire the subsect’s truly embarrassing uniqueness). I highly encourage you to do your own research.
I hate that I can fall up without having to approach a ledge. My successes have not been many, but those I’ve experienced have come with little strife. No amount of affirmative action of hiring equality will stop me. I am bird shit on the glass ceiling.
I hate that white, powerful men seem to continually abuse and intimidate women. Today we refer to them as Harvey Weinsteins or Bill O’Reillys. In a couple months they will have a new face and a new name (or, sadly once again, will be operating in the shadows). Bill O’Reilly looks like he could be my real-life grand ̶w̶i̶z̶a̶r̶d̶father.
Here’s a bad limerick I wrote titled, “I Look Like a Man Who Deserves to Get His Penis Aced by Nicole Kidman”:
A white male named t.j. thought hard
About how he could try and discard
The way he’d appear
When he looked in the mirror
But he‘ll always be broke Alex Skarsgård
I hate that even the “nice guys” are capable or guilty of this behavior. White males have fucked up affection, intimacy, and personal boundaries. We are the reason our society is using the word “consent” more than we ever imagined necessary.
This one doesn’t matter but I’m including it anyway: I hate that I can’t even enjoy the song “Don’t Call Me White” by NOFX anymore because it makes me feel like — to use the terminology of OG punk rockers — a poseur.
I hate our president. I hate that we have a “leader” who represents all or most of the gnarly, despicable things mentioned above. And while one could argue that he’s actually more of an “orange privileged male”, I assure you he is, in fact, a white privileged male. Just like me.
I hate that I’ve chosen to use the word “hate” here, putting my feelings of white male guilt on the same playing field as racial/gender/sexual/etc. discrimination — areas where “hate” has such a profoundly more dangerous meaning.
I hate that as I write this, I question my voice… Who am I to complain about anything, let alone the thing that makes my life a veritable cake walk?, writes the cake-eater.
I hate that I’m already questioning whether or not I’ll push the “Publish” button on this article. I hate that I just typed that. I hate that the letters on my keyboard are white.
I hate that I expect this to be received for what it is: a white male grieving the emotional pitfalls of being a white male. I hate that I trust you to judge me harshly for it.
I hate that this is an article for white people written by a white guy. It is.
I hate that I find myself in a terrible state of depression because I cannot see any solution to this nagging, unrelenting identity crisis. I survive on a diet of distraction and inaction, quietly cursing the names of men that seemingly define my place in society. They define me. The privileged white man.
And here’s the kicker…
The thing I hate most about being a white male is that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I know (even if I can’t comprehend) how much harder life could be if I wasn’t. Feeling this makes me hate being white even more. There’s just no winning for this poor, unfortunate white man (See previous sentence for a cyclically redundant explanation of my ongoing emotional state… Are you tired of this yet?)!!!
So what’s my point with all this moaning and groaning? I don’t think I have one. All I know is that it’s frustrating. It feels like I live in a society where I have no idols, no one to look up to. Those who do represent an ultimate good either lay low or are drowned out by the voices of the white males who are agents of social and moral chaos. And when I see that chaos, I see myself.
I suppose I’m writing this because I know it’s helpful to dump one’s anger and insecurities out onto a page. Word therapy. And I suppose that part of me hopes this is a relatable feeling for others. Maybe someone has even found a cure! (Please post links for the experimental drugs you’re taking in the comments.) Or maybe I hope that facing my shame on a public forum will somehow give me relief. I don’t hold out much hope for that happening, though.
I want to believe that people are good. Regardless of race or gender or economics or religion or the (ir)relevant this-and-that, they are good. But today, as I type this, I can’t help but feel like my group — the inherently privileged one — is inherently bad.
I don’t see it changing, but maybe it will.
So I guess while I wait — for me to change or someone better than me to change the narrative — I’ll simply try to be good to people, while also being a white male, which (again) I hate.