Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The White Male Club

The other day I saw a man awarded with the Black Engineer of the Year award. It got me thinking how much hatred and vitriol would be poised if there were a White Engineer of the Year award. Such a racist concept could hardly be tolerated in the country of equality known as the United States and I could already perceive of the hatred spewing forth from all corners of the country if such an award were instantiated. While I in no way wish to create such an award, it did strike me as odd. Even I, the white man, would be appalled at such an award. But why?

It seems racist for a white man to uplift his skin color and yet entirely beautiful and poetic for a black person to take joy in the color of their skin. It is the story of the underdog raising up against the challenge that fate has bestowed upon him. The minority winning over the multitudes that were trying to keep him down. We love a good hero story and there certainly is not one to be found in the white skin. There is nothing admirable at all about taking joy in white skin. Such a person should be ashamed to even consider mentioning how thankful they are to be white. An odd double-standard to be sure.

Similarly, there are societies of women engineers and yet no society of male engineers. Again, I do not see the need to create one and I am certainly not the first to notice this difference, but it still brings me back to the question of why it is so god-awful to consider. The answer is obvious, of course. The white man should not uplift being a white man because it was the white man who oppressed the black and the female. They now have the right to declare their victory and to rise up in strength and honor while the white man watches and applauds. And indeed we applaud. It is great to see black men and women achieve things including becoming president of the United States or CEO of billion-dollar companies. They did it! And more power to them!

Yet I have this sneaking suspicion that this is not without cost. The white man cannot have a social club celebrating while maleness because everybody knows the white man is the bad guy that caused all the problems to begin with. And to celebrate being the white man is downright evil, dirty, and any terrible thing you can imagine calling a person based upon the mere fact that they are a white man. Is this not precisely what racism is? Now, I am not getting all teary-eyed and complaining woe is me for being a white man since I do not see myself as being withheld any privileges or rights, but I still do not think that makes racism a good thing. It should be noted that this likely has an equal and opposite reaction like any other force of physics.

Announcing ones own race or sex and uplifting it is likely to draw attention to race and sex. Go figure. And when attention is drawn to it, lines are drawn and people are categorized. People who are categorized and recognize their category will associate with their group and become more like it and less like others. Distinctions are made and people will define themselves by these distinctions. White males, having no permitted voice, will sit and watch it happen while women's activists will become more entrenched in their identities and promote even more "us versus them" mentality. And this is exactly what I see in the feminist movement. I do not call myself a feminist because I am a humanist. I want all humans to be equal. Being a feminist is to uplift the cause of women but I would sooner uplift the cause of equality for all humanity--not just women. But I, like many men, are lumped into a single category of women-haters if we do not blindly accept the view of a particular feminist advocate. I see much of the feminist movement as a hate-group against men as much as I see Christianity being a hate-group against atheists and Muslims. Of course, even this perception of mine is likely wrong, but it is the perception that matters and the perception I am talking about. The perception alone causes a problem.

Some men are not going to feel sympathetic toward the feminist movement when the feminist movement often demonizes and blames all men. This is sexism plain and simple. It further drives the gulf between men and women and perhaps even fulfills its own prophecy of misogynistic men. Men see women blaming all men, men then similarly blanket all women and the women claim rape since they are both under the same blanket and the man is first to be hung. I often try to keep reason in the loop and say we ought to blame those who actually committed the atrocity rather than an entire group, but then even I get the noose placed around my neck condemned as a closet misogynist pretending to be rational. It is a lose-lose situation.

Like Ralph put it in Wreck-It-Ralph, "I don't want to be the bad guy anymore. Is there a medal for being a white man? To that, I saw HA, and no, there isn't." Having societies devoted to one group or another will cause all the more racism and sexism. They themselves are, by definition, racist and sexist. They segregate, distinguish, and celebrate based upon a race or sex. We need to unify under a single category. We are all human. As humans, we can fight for any other humans for any rights. If we see a group being kept low, we can all fight against it as humans without creating a specific group made out of the hindered group. We do not need a women's group to fight against the injustices of women. We do not need a feminist group to do it either. We need a humanist group. A group that includes all humanity to stand beside women and not opposed to them. It only makes sense to include the people that we wish to stop discriminating or else how are they ever supposed to stop? We cannot stop discrimination by discriminating. This should be an obvious reality. The response to white man holding down the black man is not to discriminate against the white man by having a black-only club and demonizing the thought of a white-only club.

Now, I do understand where this came from. Black people regretted being black because of racism so the natural reaction was to help them celebrate their difference rather than to be ashamed of it. And to some degree, I believe this helped. I simply think it also hindered simultaneously. The proper response should not have been to celebrate the race, but to forget it entirely. It does not matter if you are black. Your skin color is unimportant. You want to be an artist? Go be an artist! You want to be president? Go be president! Do not worry about the color of your skin; get out there and do your best! There will be some people who are racist scum, but do not let that hold you back. They are the ones with the problem--not you. You are human and you have every right to do what any other human can do. Go do it!

Stop building walls and we can stop being segregated. Celebrate humanity. Stand together. United we stand and separated we fall into petty squabbles of color and sex where neither side is any less racist than the other. Equal rights exists today. Use them. Put away the race and sex cards and grab yourself a human card. Make some human groups that I can join and celebrate and fight alongside you. I am your ally. Keep your groups open to me and we can indeed be brothers and sisters. One humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment