One of my friends said something the other day, “I’m really lucky to me a white male.” And I thought, “Thank you, finally.” I don’t think that white men often realize their privilege in this country. It was refreshing to hear that admission.
The comment was spurred by a discussion about rape, but that’s not the only way white men are lucky for simply being born white and with a penis. In American culture, they’ll never know what it’s like to be a minority or to have judgments placed upon them before they even open their mouth every time they meet someone.
White men are born into this world with every privilege. It’s easier for them to prove their worth in the classroom, easier for them to get jobs, easier for them to get raises.
They are viewed as the norm. A white man is human and every other type of person creates his or her identity based on their differences from the white male. A white male is human, but a white female is woman. A white male is human, but a black male is black. A white male is human, but a black female is a black woman.
And yes, they don’t have to fear rape. It isn’t right that one half of our population should have a specific crime committed against them at such staggering numbers. We talk about it like it just happens, but that’s not true. Women fear walking the streets alone at night. We change our schedules and actions based on this fear. We drink less than we’d want because of this fear. These things are considered good judgment, and to do otherwise would be foolish, but why should good judgment come from a fear rooted in inequality, a fear that is solvable? Taking these precautions is resignation that there’s nothing we can do about our oppression.
Men need to start realizing the privilege that they have. They need to stop being so threatened by the feminist movement. We are not trying to take away their privilege. We are merely trying to be equal. We’re trying to make our voices heard in the classroom, in the office, in the media. We’re trying to eliminate our fear.
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