Intelligent White Guys Get Embarrassed

  • No matter who you are, when you get called out on your privilege and realize you’ve been an ignorant jackass to people, it’s embarrassing. It shakes your self-image as a good person. It makes you feel small and stupid. Also, now you can’t just rely upon your own good sense any more. Because you might not have the experience to make any sort of sound judgment on a topic. It puts other people in charge of what’s right. And that’s scary. It makes everything complex and knocks you down a peg or two. In short, it sucks and nobody likes it.

    I notice a few key reactions from smart, well-intentioned guys as they reach the fork in the road determining “greater wisdom” and “becoming a douche” by bashing heads with a seasoned activist. These things usually happen to men who have a self-image as a good and intelligent person with sound judgment. So, for the edification of guys who may recognize some of these defense mechanisms and for the affirmation of activists who are SO TIRED of seeing them over and over again, here is a list of observed responses when intelligent new age guys are called out on privilege:

    1. Upping their “civil conversations” quota. Continue reading

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    The Guilded Cage of the Golden Rule

    So, I notice that almost everyone has this self-image that they are good. They do their best. They’re fair and reasonably nice. They follow the golden rule for the most part, sort of. Y’know, like everybody.

    And yet I find myself really drawn to certain groups and they’re groups of outcasts. Not outcasts. Not groups. Groups of outcasts. And I feel WEIRD around people who haven’t hung around groups of outcasts very much. I find them difficult to talk to and awkward. Because every time I mention being different from them (in any number of ways: poorer, feminist, theater kid, mom, Halloween) they suddenly get very nervous. Or defensive. Or both. And suddenly things get… awkward. This sometimes happens with folks who aren’t really group savvy, but it happens a lot less with people who are used to hanging out with diverse groups.

    Know why? Because everybody wants to be a good person. Continue reading

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