A second column went up at Jez this week: Why the End of White Men is Actually Good for White Men. Excerpts:
The day after the election, I tweeted that I was glad that “middle-aged, middle-class white men like me no longer have sole control of the levers of power.” A friend in my same demographic shot back grimly that “after all, we are the cause of all that is wrong and soul-less in the world, or so the narrative goes.” We’ve all heard a variation on that point before, as white dudes complain that they’re unfairly held accountable for historic and contemporary injustices. Whining about “reverse racism” or about being “blamed” for the exclusionary practices of those who shared (and share) our color, our class, and our sex doesn’t change the reality that we’re the ones who’ve enjoyed unearned advantages for eons.
So instead of mourning, it’s time for middle-class white dudes to look on the bright side. Not only do we get a more inclusive, fairer nation, we also get these priceless benefits that come along with the loss of our once vaunted power…
3. Women –- and everyone else –- will be more likely to tell us the truth. The more privilege you have (or are perceived to have) the riskier it is for someone who doesn’t share that privilege to be honest with you. Anglican feminist theologian Janet Morley suggests that when the privileged use power to dominate, they force the less privileged to use their “weakness to manipulate.” Most people dislike being manipulated — and yet a system in which women and non-whites lack equal access to power is one in which honesty often comes with dangerously high risks. We soothe people whom we fear, and we flatter when we’ve got few other options to get what we need. The more power white men hold in public and private, the less likely that they can fully trust the smiles and the nods and the “yesses” of those who don’t share their privilege. Put simply, when we lose our privilege, we’ll start to be able to trust what we hear.