PSA: Don’t Alienate White Men
I recently wrote an article on why, despite being a progressive in most ways, I’m opposed to abortion, and people have not been happy about it.
That was to be expected, of course. Abortion is a hot button issue, so no matter what side I take, I’m going to make someone angry. The problem is, when the responses started coming in, they weren’t just attacking my positions, they were attacking me.
I’m a straight, white, cisgender male, meaning that I am in one of the most privileged groups in the country. Just by how I was born, I was given a lot of advantages in life, and I’ve tried to recognize that and be mindful of it.
The problem is that it’s becoming more and more common for people to try and shame me for it.
When I wrote the article on abortion, while some of the responses respectfully disagreed on the issue of abortion itself and explained why, others attacked me for being a man. I was told that I shouldn’t have an opinion on abortion, at least, as I’m a man and I will never know the pain of childbirth.
I will admit, that’s a completely valid claim, but the overarching point it’s making is very problematic. It’s essentially trying to say that, just because of who I am, I shouldn’t be adding my voice into the discussion of an important political issue.
Truthfully, there is no benefit in doing that. Although it’s changing, white men currently make up the largest plurality of the US population, and they also make up a disproportionate share of Congress. These activists who try to push white men out of the conversation need us to accomplish their goals, as we’re the group with the biggest influence on what gets done.
Let me just say, I can understand where the feelings that drive people to do this come from. White men have been the cause of a lot of past pain and suffering, and everyone has a right to be angry, but that’s also something we can’t correct. All we can do now is create a better future, and pushing us away can only shoot the march for progress in the foot.
As a white man, I will never truly be able to understand the experience of a woman or a minority. I will never walk a day in their shoes, or be able to feel their history and the impact it has on them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about them or want to help them, because I most certainly do.
Ensuring a level playing field in society is one of the greatest challenges we currently face, and we can only do that if we work to rectify some of the inherent problems in our society created by past and present discrimination. All of that can only be done, however, with the help of white men.
Minorities and women can march and yell and write angry comments all they want, but without the most powerful group in the country feeling like they can be a part of that fight, nothing productive will ever get accomplished, and the fight for equality will never be won.