The Burden of the White Male is the Responsiblity of the White Male

What made me think of this topic was another discussion that has been going on here about white males. 


Here's my opinion; We as white males, specifically who live in the United States, are in the highest position of power and more importantly comfort than any other group or demographic definitely in the country and arguably in the world. We rarely feel discomfort or to put it more succinctly, we rarely feel the discomfort of the "other". The discomfort of the woman or the person of color or the immigrant are three that stick out in my mind. I'm sure there are others.  We do not get looked at differently because of our skin or or body type or the way we dress. We are not judged because of these attributes or characteristics. We rarely feel the wrath of stereotyping we so often put on others. So when we hear anger from persons of color, immigrants or women, instead of reacting, we need to step back and listen. The burden is on us. Whether we like it or not, racism and misogyny is very much built into our society and we need to take the responsibility to deal with it more than any other group.


So for all white males out there, I challenge you, think before you react. Take the role of the other. Most importantnly, put yourself in situations of discomfort as much as possible. Attend an event that you are the minority, not the majority and see how you feel. This is our burden.


My question to you is; do you think this is our role to take? Do you think this is important? How do you, as a white male, see what your role or responsibility is in your society, United States or otherwise?

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james d,


where you said "i have no interest in finding out how special my whiteness is in any form" I assumed you meant you didn't have any interest in finding out about how special being white is.


If I have misunderstood: could you clarify that?


Here is a much better summary of privilege than I could otherwise express:


Privilege for you is very likely largely about the things that don't happen to you.  So in the US being black and arrested gets you a worse punishment than being white and arrested for the same crime, apparently.  You are more likely to face the death penalty if you are black.  I don't know the specifics in Canada, but in the UK (where I am from) it's about access to education and health, poverty generally in fact - and life chances across the board.


Sure there are times when being a white male might not be perfect: but they are massively outweighted by the times that being a white male is just much better.


Privilege is not having to even know about the problems other groups routinely face - and then the bad bit comes so often, in just believing that you are in fact the victim. As you have done repeatedly here. 


Now that's privilege.


I was stunned to find out how privileged I was too by the way: I though coming from a poor, village background put me at a serious disadvantage...until I found out otherwise by listening to other groups explaining my privilege.  And it was alike a light turning on: I had indeed missed it all of my life.


PS apologies: I edited my previous post and you quoted the old bit.  I changed something like "the whole of society helps you at every turn" to "muuch of the way society is contructed helps you at every turn".  The latter is a better expression: the former is just inaccurate.

to clarify - what i mean is that i in no way want my life to reflect the idea that my being white makes me better in any way than someone who isn't. i have spent my life in many countries and many cultures to know that, especially the american cultural idea that they are superior because they are from the usa, sickens me. to think that my being white makes any difference in my life just does not hold any truth in my life. I think you are assuming an awful lot about life here.


first, my son was arrested for a small amount of crack and went to jail for trafficking. he spent more time in prison for his crime than his buddies who were arrested around the same time, were both black and both had guns... so that doesn't sound like white advantage to me...

here in canada, we have universal health care, so if you are living in canada, you get health care... PERIOD. it has nothing to do with who you are, only if you are a citizen or landed immigrant or not. To put my kids in any kind of private school, i only needed to pay the tuition, it has nothing to do with the color of their skin...


i see the problems others face every day, and i am thankful i live in a country where help is available to them in the many forms ranging from government programs to soup kitchens, which are filled with mostly white males by the way, here anyhow.. can't say what the rest of the country experiences..


as for the society helping me... in canada, we have a social network for many things including health care, education and even mental care, which i have had to make use of as my life was in need of many things and i struggled with depression my whole life. it has nothing to do with my being white, but here we have places for anyone who needs help. perhaps being a canadian gives me an unrealistic view of the world, but from what i have seen of it... i can't make the leap to saying being a white male has made a huge impact on my life, though i do agree with the comment that it is much more difficult for me as a white man to get any type of government work now as it is acceptable to discriminate against me...


have i missed something else? please show me...


james - sorry - no reply button to your post, so here I go.


First up, the specifics of your own son's situation are obviously impossible to argue.  I'm truly sorry if that was the case.  I suppose the point of this thread is that justice should be colour blind but often isn't.  Further though, the chances of anyone getting into a particular criminal situation should not be different depending on their colour.  In the UK and I believe the US, definitely France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal (countries where I have read the studies) it is massively different in each case.  ie if you are black you are, on average, much more likely to get into trouble with the law and much more likely to have a bad outcome in court.

But in many other ways, just by being white not black, I am definitely advantaged.  We too have free health care and free education.  But guess what?  Access to better health care and education is directly correlated to colour.  Sure it's all free.  But when the studies are done, white people get seen faster, get better health outcomes, get taken more seriously by doctors.

In the UK too any colour can, iun theory, get into the best schools.  If they have the money.  But having the cash to get in is again directly correlated to colour.  Getting to interview is difficult if you have the wrong accent. So on paper there is no difference.  But the paper doesn't cover all the facts of the case...


White privilege is alive in well where I live...

Actually Jimmy-self hating boy - it depends where you live and the taxes you pay in to - if you are wealthier and pay more property taxes - your local school will be better off and better funded - it doesn't matter if you're black or white - nice try.
"Actually Jimmy-self hating boy - it depends where you live and the taxes you pay in to - if you are wealthier and pay more property taxes - your local school will be better off and better funded - it doesn't matter if you're black or white - nice try."
Sassan K:  that's pretty unnecessary.  Why do this to what has been a pretty clean debate?  It's also quite untrue: I have many faults but that isn't one of them.
So you didn't read my post properly.  I explicitly stated that I was talking about the UK - the situation I know best.  In the UK, property taxes do not go into local schools.  Our public schools (which are not public at all in fact) do not represent our black communities.  They remain elistist and inaccessible: not because of entrance policies based on race or colour.  But because wealth and the necessary soical status are less accessible to black people than white. 
They are pretty inaccessible to white people too of course... but more so to black people.  This is not a point for debate: it's a matter of statistical fact.
For those not in-the-know. The uber conservative Canadian government recently eliminated the mandatory long census. The Minister responsible for these matters resigned in protest. This means that Canadians will no longer have reliable demographic information in order to quantify social equity. Conservatives in Canada, following in the footsteps of the Bush era, have decided it is better to keep your eyes closed to injustices and pretend they don't exist, over the benefits of knowledge. Wilful blindness is now the Canadian way.

Here's the rub though, it's illegal to discriminate in favor of white males. It's legal towards minorities and females. In business terms, a minority female is a goldmine because it fills up the legally required quota. Qualifications and how well she performs her tasks are secondary.

It does not matter how hard I work or how well I do, as a white male I am actively and legally discriminated against by most institutions. I am also ineligible for most grants and social benefits and will receive less legally mandated follow up and guidance throughout my life.

Now that around 60% of college students are female, I don't believe it is required to lower the bar any longer. If I were a minority female I would be offended if those were my major qualifications.

Graph showing development of number of university students split by gender:


You misuse the word discriminate. Discrimination is one when group keeps another down, because of a difference, any difference. Women and minorities are not "keeping men down". We are fighting to rectify centuries and millenia of malfeasance. Without laws supporting a process of rectification, change DOES NOT happen. Privilege maintains privilege, unless one fights it.

Well, look at the graph. It should be closer to 50/50, It's excellent for women, but how would the graph look if you took away all the higher educations women get into with 15-20% lower grades? I support different physical demands to i.e. the police academy or the military for women. I don't think it's right that in Norway, if you are a women, and applied for the same education I had would get in with a GPA of at least 4.8 while I had to have at least 5.25 (out of 6). Why was this? Because only 20% of the applicants were women. Same goes for engineering.

The funny thing is, it has also had an impact on many people. There are a lot of truly horrible bosses out there, which are utterly useless. Lots of them are men, but replacing any type of good manager with a bad manager which has been promoted primarily due to gender or skin color, be it due to positive or negative discrimination, is bad for everyone.

The only clearly allowable discrimination is against idiots grasping for more power than they could ever be expected to cope with. Like Sarah Palin, she's nothing more than a female white idiot. People who haven't deserved what has been handed to them plainly don't deserve it.


I'm actually very pro-discrimination up to a point: From the graph, artificial discrimination was a very good idea up until the early nineties. A 60/40 split is not an even deal in any matter of equal opportunity for achievement, no matter which way it is tilted. The goal is 100% of the population, not only 50% of all men and 60% of all women.

Best image of where there is most discrimination in the world:

Positive education uptake policies are necessary until the positions people are training for represent these minorities proportions in society.


If you look at education by speciality instead of applicant characteristics, you will find that properly managed educational institutions will up admissions in specialities which are more needing in society. If your country needs more doctors they will increase medical seats.


It is no different. As long as the "field" stats of employment represent an imbalance, we need to train more people from the unfavoured group.

"As long as the "field" stats of employment represent an imbalance"

So, there needs to be a subfield balance too? As in, a balance in education overall is not important, but specifically there must be 50% of each sex earning MEs, JDs, MDs, and MBAs (the most common educational titles among the elites). If so, shouldn't there also be male quotas for nurses, a field where women are chronically overrepresented?

Some fields are dominated by one gender and occasionally by one ethnic group, but that in itself is not a proof of any illegal discrimination.


They cannot understand it because they are inside of the box.  Because they are white their race is never an issue and they don't have to think about.


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