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Works and Days

You’re a White Male; He’s a White Male; Everyone’s a White Male—But Me

September 11th, 2012 - 12:00 am

I was introduced to this phenomenon at 30, when as a young professor at CSU, I had a shouting match with a senior (white male) professor in the philosophy department. He raged on and on about the “lack of diversity in our department!” — in explanation of why he would not hire a gifted young and exploited white male part-timer. So I reminded him that he and his eight full-professor colleagues — unpublished, hired ABD without finished degrees in the heyday of the 1960s, and poor teachers — should then resign after a good 30 years of mediocrity and give their slots to young minorities and women, especially given that the white male part-timers they discriminated against were far better qualified than were the tenured faculty. His answer: “Chaos!” “Anarchy!”

Is an all-wealthy, all-powerful Oprah or Michael Jordan “grumpy” or “old” or “wealthy”? How about Clintonites Franklin Raines or Jamie Gorelick, who hand-in-glove helped to loot Fannie Mae for millions and were at the heart of the 2008 housing bubble and collapse? Was another liberal Clintonite, James A. Johnson, who drained Fannie Mae, one of Reid’s rich and old white males? In this regard, don’t look to our leadership for guidance, since we live in an age where the president of the United States urges Latinos to “punish our enemies” and the attorney general talks of “my people.”

Bosnization

If an America is to become Bosnia, as a white male am I then to regress to claim greater affinity with Jefferson than does Barack Obama? I am “proud” of Lincoln because he was a white male in a way the Asian-American cannot feel such affinity? Do I have special claims on Socrates or Jesus by virtue of being “white” and “male”? Or alternatively, should I curry favor with the new racial barons, by jesting about those “wealthy white men” and “old white males”? Or again, am I responsible for Harry Reid or Bill Maher?

Where Does the Nightmare End?

At best, race will become irrelevant as it has in the case of a Susana Martinez or Marco Rubio. Both can win a state-wide race in a way that members of the Latino or Black caucuses could not, because race is as incidental to their personas as it is essential to race-based congressional cliques. If Rubio were to commit a crime, he would be held to account, in a way that a Charles Rangel or Maxine Waters never will, since everything in the latters’ case become racial, a sort of calculated insurance against accountability.

At worst, the proverbial white male will begin to see society as does a reactionary, bigoted Richard Fowler or Louise Lucas or Melissa Harris-Perry — all of us as little more than mooing cattle, herding in groups in the pasture on the basis of the particular spots on our hides and the size of our horns, or perhaps the United States as the common prison yard, where we divide up as tribal hoodlums by the color of our skins and nothing much else.

Is Hell for a white male such a place where you are supposed to have natural solidarity with a buffoon like Michael Moore?

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage by Shutterstock.com.)

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