When Donald Trump was elected president, I began experiencing a very tangible feeling of rage towards white men. Every man who I passed on the street aimlessly window shopping or casually sipping a latte was enough to make the veins in my neck bulge. I just wanted to scream out, “Do you know how easy your fucking life is?? Nothing about the outcome of this election will make the quality of your life worse. In fact, for many of you, it will get BETTER.”
Every single time that a white male co-worker was distraught about the outcome of the election or just needed someone to vent to or had some very reasonable explanation as to why I shouldn’t be that worried made me want to punch them squarely in their dick. You don’t even want to know what I think when I see a fat, middle-aged white dude wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, but I think you can use your imagination.
I also happen to be married to a white, late 20’s, educated, upper-middle class man. So there’s a bit of a conflict that arose in my household because of this election despite both being from similar political camps. This election has been a wake-up call for many groups of privilege, but most especially for white men. My husband and I have had countless angry fights because he is completely unaware of those invisible benefits simply because is a man. So in many ways, my work as a devoted feminist and as a grassroots activist, has been to help my husband better understand and recognize the privilege he inherently has because of his gender, race, and geography. He has listening intently and has been incredibly supportive of me and my feelings and the potential outcomes that this presidency could have on my life and our life together. However, what is more challenging is trying to make people who aren’t my husband have some of this same perspective.
This post is not to bash anyone who is trying to become more “woke.” I applaud your efforts and I hope you continue to be an ally to those who do not have the same rights and privileges as you. But, and this is a big one, do not speak on behalf of or as a representative of a group you are not a part of. If you are not a woman, do not speak on behalf of a woman. If you are not an immigrant, do not speak as one. If you are white, do not speak on behalf of any other race. I cannot emphasize this enough, because when you do that, it erases any progress that an oppressed group makes.This is also called, “mansplaining.” Newsflash: no one wants that shit. Ever.
If you have never experienced oppression, congratulations, you are unique in that aspect, and probably a white man living in America. But, for literally everyone else in the country and world, you are experiencing oppression in overt and subtle ways 24-7. From how you dress, what you eat, where you live, how your travel, and everything in between, there are rules that are established by a dominant group to keep you relegated to these roles. So, my clear and direct advice to white men who want to become allies and want to better understand privilege you can do two things: listen and stop talking. This is not your moment to be angry. That’s pretty much every other time in the history of human existence. Give this moment of social concern and action to the groups that really need it. That is the best donation of your time and energy you could possibly give.