Quality Quotes #11

“Sandy shook her head.  ‘Boys,’ she said, and with that single word excused me from all responsibility.”  Ann Patchett, in The Dutch House.

This trenchant quote damnear caused me to choke when I came across it while eating breakfast this morning.  I was blind to the concept of white male privilege until after I had been married for many years.  Even then, the idea remained quiescent for some time.  My eyes really didn’t even begin to open, in fact, until after I had been a probation officer for a while.  But soon after I was blessed with the gift of my first child, The Girl, full realization dawned.

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By the time The Boy came along a few years later, I’d acquired considerably more knowledge about the whole disagreeable history of white men’s maltreatment of women and people of ‘other’ racial, ethnic, religious, and economic status.

No.  Forgive me.  I’m being disingenuous.

I was raised in what was once considered the finest educational system yet created by humankind; American public schools.  I completed my Bachelor degree after 8 rambling years of eclectic fields of study at several quality American institutions of higher learning.  All my knowledge of the aforementioned abuses had been accumulating for decades.

I think it’s fair to say that, after the events described above (years of marriage, beginning my career as a PO, birth of The Girl), I had an epiphany, akin to what born-again Christians describe as their testimony, their conversion experience.

Then along came The Boy.

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And I began to experience firsthand the concept of white male privilege enacted in real time.  It may surprise you to learn that The Boy ain’t no angel (who among us is?), and neither are many of his buddies.  I have been shocked, again and again, to see their misdeeds glossed over, whitewashed, indeed dismissed because “boys will be boys”.  In retrospect, I can see how my own misdeeds were tolerated, often even encouraged, using the same rationale.  I am saddened, sometimes sickened, by these revelations.

His mother, The Boss, and I endeavor daily to instill in him (and in The Girl, of course) the habits of kindness, compassion, and respect toward all.  I’m sure the kids become tired of their old Dad’s pontificating.

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But it’s not just empty preaching.  When I’m able and it’s appropriate, I use my voice, via the platforms of this blog and my FaceBook page, to denounce reports of abuse of all kinds.  It should come as no surprise to those of you who know me, personally or through my blog, that I often fall short of my lofty goals.  I am human and flawed, as are we all.  But I try and will continue striving, even when almost every day, it seems, the news is getting worse.

WordPress is a tolerant and supportive community, so I don’t think I’m exactly opening up a can of worms here, but I would like to hear y’all’s thoughts.  Is the concept of white male privilege real?  Or is it the product of overblown condemnation from a variety of repressed or abused groups?  How much abuse, repression, or condemnation have you endured, and from whom did it come?  Are the abusers worthy of forgiveness?  Are they capable of repentance and change?  Or is it useless to even hope for change, to hope for better?

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My hope is that all of you enjoy a lovely week free from abuse and repression of all kinds.

Take care, be well, and happy blogging!

Love,

Denny

–Via Your Daily Word Prompt for 5/11/20, “trenchant
–Via Your Daily Word Prompt for 5/10/20, “quiescent
–Via Word of the Day challenge for 5/10/20, “mother
–Via Ragtag Daily Prompt for 5/10/20, “disagreeable
–Via Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for 5/10/20, “platform
–Via Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for 5/9/20, “empty

11 thoughts on “Quality Quotes #11

  1. I don’t know why it’s limited to white males, but maybe that’s another subject. As for while males? I am extremely wary of them. I do think (based on experience) that generations after mine are different around women than my generation is/was, maybe more open to the idea that we’re not fundamentally inferior. I don’t know. I’ve been criticized by men for being “independent” and a host of other things which I now understand are just ways to maintain power when they feel threatened. Basically, I think a lot of men are cowards when it comes to the idea of male/female equality. But I also lived through the first wave of feminism which was, even to me, kind of surreal. It’s a really complicated question and I will never know the answer or contribute much to your enlightenment about it, I’m afraid.

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  2. Do the wealthy enjoy more privileges? Do politicians/people in positions of power enjoy more privileges? Do white males enjoy more privileges? YES to all three. I can write a whole post about this but I think the answer and examples are all flagrantly flaunted for all to see…once you start looking/noticing. And I want to be clear; I am not bashing. I am stating an obvious fact. If other people don’t see/notice it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

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    1. And I just want to add one more thing Denny: if you are a male and white, you are not likely going to notice ALL the privilege except the most obvious (such as wage discrepancy…oh, and the fact that the USA still hasn’t -legally- recognized women as humans having ‘equal’ value to men – how much more obvious can it be?)

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      1. I know, KC, it’s very difficult to see it all from my own perspective.

        A year or two ago, I made a post that called out white male conservative evangelicals for their hypocrisy and oppression. A woman blogger I follow took exception to my post, and we had a brief argument. I finally mollified her by explaining that I am a white male and, although I am agnostic and more liberal than conservative, I have attended white conservative evangelical protestant churches for as long as I’ve been with The Boss (27 years) so was speaking as a member of that community in an effort to inspire change & betterment.

        I’m far from perfect & still slip up from time to time, but I do what I can when I can.

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      2. Well, I’m a little curious about how she took exception but not a whole lot. I find people are very, very ”sensitive” (it’s really more about being angry and short-sighted than ‘sensitive’) and simply cannot refrain from responding to every perceived slight (even when they are wrong). Here’s the thing about WMP: it’s hard to see the trees for the forest.

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  3. Martha sent me here. White male privilege is all too real. When you benefit from it, it’s easy to think it’s it’s not real – of course “all the benefits I get I earned, right? No one treats me special.” I have a friend who has been stopped for DWB multiple times on the way to work. Actually, it’s aggravated DWB. He has the gall to drive a black luxury SUV while having brown skin. AND he drives it in the dark because he goes to work early. He was the chief of surgery in a large teaching hospital, but that’s beside the point. (He has since moved to the south from this lily white midwestern town – our loss.) He described one incident when he was stopped at a red light. A police car pulled up next to him, eyed him, eyed the vehicle. When the light turned green, the officer pulled in behind him and turned on the flashing lights. Someone out there is saying, “Well, he must have done something to arouse suspicion. No one gets stopped for no reason, right?” True, no one white does.

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  4. I haven’t experienced much racism or sexism at the hands of white men, but there were a few incidents which were absolutely revolting. One attempted to cough on me during the earlier stages of lockdown this year and the other, last year, hurled abuse at me (and our area, though I’m not quite sure why they were even there because it’s largely an area and borough known to be mainly Labour supporters, that’s Democrats for American folks). But… otherwise, much of the islamophobia and racism I’ve experienced have mainly been at the hands of white women. The last place I worked at, interestingly, I found out that the person who was in the role before me (she’s now my friend) received great support from our colleague who is white and male. He wasn’t big on talking about whether or not he’s a good person, but when it came down to it, he stood up against our manager bullying our friend. Whereas, my white female colleague, who’s supposedly going hard on the performative allyship, withheld damning evidence of bullying and abuse and a clear indicator that our manager especially shouldn’t be working at a centre where we deal with disclosures of child sexual abuse because of the comments she made about me. I’m going to pull her up on that. If she’s the ally she says she is, she’d report our manager too and hand in the evidence especially knowing our manager specifically targeted black and brown staff. It wouldn’t be a breach of confidentiality on her part because it was originally a breach of confidentiality in itself. I’m cautious about white women, most white men have been nothing but kind to me, but I am slightly wary about it because I have to factor in physical attraction and how much this plays into good treatment. My manager was south Asian too, so I’ve learned not to trust anyone who is non-black, including, I hate to say it, my own community and white-passing folks, when they say they’re an ally. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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