Why do we hold white men to such a low standard?
Johanna Brolin
7414

We hold white men to such a low standard, because we are the foot soldiers of empire in the modern age, and empire rewards our loyalty with privilege. Ideological racism was the fertilizer mixed into the Greek soil from which grew Western civilization. Patriarchy is an older poison, it has festered in the human heart since we settled into our first farms and villages. These corrupt principles still guide many white men to evil, they turn women into our supplicants, and force people of color into tortured silence. While as a species we humans have won many battles in our collective revolution against our imperial natures, it has taken thousands of years of misery and struggle, and for all we know, there are thousands of years of sacrifice ahead. It is my daily prayer that the road to liberation is much shorter than that.

While in your family, men may have been taught to respect women and each other, love their families, recognize their own weakness, fight injustice, and provide for those that suffer, this is not yet the norm in Western culture. The statistics you highlighted have multiple causes, but one is that boys are still being instructed in a masculinity that is harmful and toxic to others. Go to any public school in America outside of the most progressive enclaves, and you will still find boys establishing their playground hierarchies, with the strongest and cruelest winning respect with shoves and jeers. You will still find boy’s coaches whose prescription for weakness is public shame. You will still find teachers lending their kindest words to girls, and most of their punishments to the boys.

The problem is deeper than tradition. As Dr. Louann Brizendine explains in her book The Male Brain, women’s brain structure makes it easier for them to empathize. Men’s brain structure makes it easier to solve problems. After puberty, we tend to have 20 to 40 times more testosterone in our bodies than women, the hormone that triggers aggressiveness, competitiveness, and violence. It also blocks the effects of oxytocin, the hormone linked to compassion and trust. Should we be at all surprised that these neurological differences exist? Any casual interest in history reveals countless generations of male soldiers marching off to war, while the females toil invisibly back in the home. If culture alone was responsible for patriarchy, it seems that there would be more examples of cultures that have bucked the trend.

Boys cannot remain boys. We must not let them. Let us work together to create a culture which can override the natural aggression of men, and channel our inclinations towards better behavior. Men must learn to be more open with themselves, and compassionate to each other. We must be able to talk about our flaws with as much honesty as humor, and humble ourselves enough to take advice. Brotherhood must be enshrined, not denigrated. The desire to dominate must be replaced by a desire to protect. In short, the world urgently requires the popularization of a warm, inclusive, and honest masculinity. The empire will still have its foot soldiers to prop up its decaying edifices, until we have the courage to revolt, and finally beat our swords into ploughshares.