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Thursday, September 6, 2012


"It is with deep feeling I beg my 'white' brethren, especially in the South, not to fall for this jive again!! Last time you fell for it, you took up arms and died for a system not only unrighteous, but which actually kept you down along with the slave. Were there schools where you could learn to read, write, think and cipher? You know there weren't. The planters deliberately priced education out of your reach so you wouldn't figure out what was really going on!! And because you were marginally higher than the slave, you believed the hokum the planters fed you!!
'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.' Well, what'll it be this time? Will you have the courage to treat those who are different as equals and fight against our common enemy (the greedy planters) this time? Or will you fall again for the planters' lying racist narcotics? This election is America v. Amerikkka. That means all of us working together helping each other v. everyone trying to rob each other, or trying to rob a large number of us, by force, lies and/or legal stealth while most of us sink back into poverty, the commons become irredeemably polluted, and death by starvation makes a comeback--which many might not hear about because Faux News would never mention it!
This November--choose America. Tell Amerikkka to get lost and stay lost!"
These words are how I concluded an earlier post on this website, titled America v. Amerikkka, which is one way I see this year's election. And I feel the need to amplify that, especially in regards to other SWMs, as is the personals' abbreviation for straight white males. It is mostly to them that I address this post.
First, when someone else--a woman, a person of color, a 'gay' person--refers to us as 'privileged', that is pretty much a fact. But that's no reason to either yell back about all your hard work (I don't doubt most of you have; that's not the point--but the point is germane, so bear with me a little here) or run for the sackcloth and ashes and start lamenting; that is so useless I can hardly find words! Nor do I wish you to think of yourselves as 'bad'; I know as well as you that dam' few of us (if any) sought any unearned privilege; in this country it kind of comes with the territory of being born white males and having our hormones flow the 'straight' way. If most of us needed work to get where we are, then (and you are entitled to ask) you ask, where's the 'privilege'? Here are some examples:
1) Do you take it for granted that you deserve to be listened to?
2) Have you ever been stopped either on a city street or on the road and had your person and/or car searched, and none too carefully, for contraband?
3) Have you noticed differences in how differently other people treat you, as opposed to a woman, etc.? Are you 'automatically' treated as if you carry more authority than a woman, etc.?
4) Assuming bullying is something you avoid doing, when's the last time anyone 'got in your face' just for fun?
My fellow nerds and geeks probably still have memories of that last, but c'mon dudes, has it happened since  high school? I can say, for me it hasn't. Anyhow, what privilege we yet have shows up mostly in that very last point and variations thereon: if something important to others isn't at stake, are members of any other group getting in our way? No. Only if we consider our liberty imperiled by not being able to bully and wipe our feet on others can we think that. Those of us who understand the indivisibility of freedom know this. And from that principle is where we must take a plan of action. OK; as straight white males we do have more authority; so where do we go from here?
1) Listen. With our hearts as well as our heads, listen to how the world looks to women, people of color and so on. Sure, look out for con artists; they also come in both sexes and all colors. And as we try to shape new realities to include us all, remember that as long as we have such unasked-for authority it behooves us to offer the handshakes first as it were.
2) Learn when to speak and when to be silent. Let's use our 'authority' to encourage others to speak up as well as ourselves. Many of us do come from homes where we were neither listened to or encouraged to speak up (except perhaps when a parent was angry)--well, if we know how it feels, shouldn't we encourage others rather than monopolize the speaking? What would you expect of a genuinely mature man?
3) Do not assume we're the 'natural' leaders, moderators or whatever: we want to expand that template and do so by example. These are for starters and they are broad guidelines.
Finally, as we encourage others to speak out and help them climb the ladders of advancement, let's remember that the more openly expressed talent we have around, we are all the richer for it! I'd say my point is, finally, is not that we SWMs didn't have to work for what we have (most of us did) but that we have the least roadblocks in our paths! Whoever has explicit or implicit roadblocks in their path has to work that much harder to either clear or get around them, right? And I say that merits respect--and that we needn't resent the government's attempts to ameliorate that either.
Societies based on unearned (and unasked-for) privilege stagnate and regress: no more than 53% of Confederate soldiers could read or write, compared with 94% among the Yankees. So, fellow SWMs, let's use what 'privilege' we have to make our country fairer for all our fellow citizens, wherever and whenever the occasions arise. And I suggest a straight Democratic vote this fall be part of that for all of us!

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