By: David Decoteau

Being a cisgender white male: you can’t understand.
— Social Justice Warrior to me in a Facebook conversation.

...And with just a few words, a lifetime is discounted.  I am dismissed offhandedly, because of gender and the color of my skin.  If you didn't know better, that would sound an awful lot like sexism and racism, wouldn't it?  But since it's coming from someone who conveniently labels themself as "progressive" and "liberal", it's cleverly disguised as empathy and speaking out for the disadvantaged minority.

But please explain to me why I can't understand:

  • Can I not understand because I grew up dirt poor? Because I know the humiliation of using my "free and reduced lunch" card in the middle school lunch line?  Because every Christmas present came from the thrift store?  Because our parents had us "dumpster dive" for them?
  • Can I not understand because I had to physically and mentally fight everyday to simply get through my childhood?  Because I grew up with violence, and it was my "norm"?
  • Can I not understand because I suffered abuse? Sent home from school because my gym teacher noticed that my skin was ripped off and bruised from being beaten by a belt for days? 
  • Can I not understand because the cops were frequently at our house, picking my mom up off the floor after she had been smacked around by abusive men?  Or because I also got to know the firemen, when they came to our house to extinguish the flames after the house was purposely set on fire, by my father, while we slept, so that he could send a message to my mother about, "how much she needed him"?
  • Can I not understand because I was a victim of a hate crime?  Because I was assulted by a group of people who simply saw the color of my skin and based on that alone, began chanting, "Kill whitey" as they attacked me and other white people in my party?
  • Can I not understand because it took decades of working hard at two, full-time, manual labor jobs for me to break out of the cycle of poverty?  Or because I had to learn a new language to get advancement?  Or is it because working those jobs taught me the value and work ethic of immigrant labor?
  • Can I not understand because once I had saved enough money, I risked it all to create a business of my own which employeed 85% minorities and women?  All of whom got paid the same (and paid the same taxes),  as any white man or woman I employed of equal qualifications?
  • Can I not understand because for the past 15 years I've been Advisor to a group of college aged men who (during my tenure) have transformed themselves from a homogeneous group, to the most racially diverse group on campus?

When you lump me into one of your homogeneous, stereotypical "White, cisgender" collectivist group, you throw all my life experiences away.  You don't care to take the time to learn about what I bring to the conversation.  You discount everything, because all you can see is color and gender.  That's an amazingly sad set of blinders to go through life wearing.

I feel like I rose above a lot in my life.  I feel like the list above illustrates that I've done as much as I personally could (so far) to level the playing field for a lot of folks.  I've treated all people with respect...including myself.

And somehow, I accomplished all those things, without once having to shame, guilt, or put-down another race or religion.  

I didn't have to give anyone else a guilt trip, or erroneously equate them with something their ancestors might have done.  Nope: I accomplished all those things simply be going out into the world, and being the person I wanted to be, and bringing everyone who was willing, along with me for the ride.

You're doing it wrong

It might come as a shock to some of the Social Justice Warriors that just because someone is white and male, does not mean that person had a cake walk in life.  To assume so, is every bit as stereotypical, racists and offensive as saying every black person can jump, and every Asian is good at math.  Just because you moved your stereotypes and hate to a majority group, does not make you any less stereotypical or hate filled.  You just hate in a way that your peer group finds more socially acceptable.

You choose to ignore reality, and all of the other person's life experiences and accomplishments towards racial and gender equality: in favor of your predetermined and very comfortable assumptions?  That practice sounds exactly like what the racists, sexists, intolerant elitists you claim to abhor do in their lives.

What have you PERSONALLY done to make things better for other races and people?  

  • Did you pull a lever for a candidate whom you thought might make things better?  How did that work out for you?  
  • Did you bitch about racial issues on social media?  Wow, I admire your bravery.

The scarlet letter

Well, SJW, I have news for you.  I have a dirty little secret.  I've taken my risk level, for justified hatred beyond being just a white, cisgendered male.  I have the audacity to have an "R" affiliated with my politial registration card!  Yes, I dare to associate myself with the other half of America.  The half you seem to like to call "Stupid", "Zealot", "Homophobic", "Xenophobic", "Troglodytes" amoung a host of other hateful, dismissive and offensive terms.

Does my choice of this letter also dismiss all the life experiences I listed above?  Because the state of Pennsylvania forces me to choose an "R" or a "D" to describe myself: does that tell you all you need to know about me?  If so, you might want to take a look at the very low level at which your brain is presently processing information.  If you think that you can put people into boxes, based on three pieces of information, out of the infinite and chaotic number of features and characteristics that make us each human...well then...god bless you.

How about thankfulness, instead of entitlement and outrage?

Each year, I post something around Thanksgiving outlining what I'm thankful for.  In this world of distraction, stress, and chaos, I feel like once a year, it's nice to stop.  Sit back.  And take a quick inventory of how good we really have it, and the things that make modern, American life - pretty easy and enjoyable.

  • Are all things good for all people?  They are not.  
  • Can we do better?  We sure can.

But if you look back even just a century or so, you can see that the human condition has improved SIGNIFICANTLY for most people, all around the globe.  And it continues to improve.  And those improvements have not primarily come via shaming and discounting people, but via education, understanding and love.

We are all discriminated against.

Frankly, I'm REALLY tired of "privilege".  I'm tired of it, because its simply a word crowbar used to immediately dismiss anyone of a certain race without even a moments thought to their life experience.  It's a new bullying tool and some people are wielding their new weapon liberally.

Basically, Social Justice Warriors are saying that white cisgendered males don't get to have opinions or feelings because of our skin color. That their version or racism is better, and will erase the other versions of racism.  Sorry folks, it doesn't work like that.  Only love erases racism.

Me.  Does this photo change your opinion of who I am?

I have long, grey/brown, scraggly hair down to my chest.  When you see this, do you make any assumptions about me based on my features?  If you say "no" I know you are lying.  Because I've had both long and short hair and people DEFINITELY treat me differently based on how I decide I want to look on any given day.  Same with being fat, or red-headed or a woman or an alien from mars.

I tell you this, because I want you to understand that I totally get bias. I purposely play with it, by conducting my own little social experiments with my looks.  And with that I'm hoping you understand that we ALL get discriminated, thoughout all of history.  Look it up.  Maybe start with an "Ethnic cleansing" Google search and see how many millions of white people have been descriminated against in the ultimate way.  It's a part of life.  You just did it to me.  I do it to people too.  We are all guilty at some level.  And it's not just on features that we can not change.

Do I discriminate based on color of skin?  Absolutely not.  When I need to hire someone, I could give a rats ass what walks in the door.  If I think I can get the job done with this person on my team - they get hired.  If not, they hit the skids.

I do however, discriminate based on occupation.  I discriminate against every lawyer.  I haven't met enough good ones yet to balance out my personal experiences with the bad ones.  If I keep meeting lawyers, maybe even that too will change.

Peace to you my SJW friends.  Hoping that someday you can truly see that all of us kick and get kicked and that "fair" only applies to the starting line.  Fair has no connection to overall results.  When you see that to be true, you will understand life better, and get some of that peace I mentioned earlier.