I’ve noticed some straight white dudes spouting off about sexism, racism, homosexuality and transgender issue on the internet and even tumblr.
I thought I could maybe help my people. I.E. middle aged straight white dudes, understand a few things about writing and interacting on the internet, lest they end up looking like sexist small minded sexually frustrated impotent morons whose hearts are brimming with fear.
Ok, lets get one thing straight. Straight white men are completely entitled to our opinions. But realize, our opinion on sexism, racism, homophobia carries no weight because we don’t have any true experience in the matter.
Let me share a little story.
I was in Germany completing work on a giant cruise-liner. Before the ship is done about a thousand shipyard workers and contractors live onboard doing finishing work. Each night at 8pm we’d have safety drill meeting.
By 8pm its after supper and most of us have already had a drink or five. A few hundred of us would cram onto one of the stairway landings with another couple hundred or so on the stairways above and below, trying to squeeze in one of the two doors to the theater where the safety meeting was. One of my co-workers Mike said something to me about how this doesn’t seem to be the safest way to conduct a safety meeting and I chuckle, looking up from my email on my phone. I look around at the sea of pasty stubbly faces, Russian, Ukranian, Bulgarian, German, Polish, Austrian and I’m surprised. Almost all of them are glowering at me. I mean like, I’m gonna kill you motherfucker, staring. I then realize they are not so much looking at me as they are at Mike, who’s a black guy. A quick scan of the whole crowd and I realize Mike’s the only black guy in sight. I feel a flash of tightness in my chest. I start controlling my breathing as I realize its shallow and I’m a tad dizzy. The air, stagnant with the smell of body odor and Schnapps. Hundreds of eyes murmuring hatred. I look at Mike and he’s calmly starring straight ahead, bobbing his head almost imperceptibly to the music in his earbuds.
That little moment has stayed with me and I think of it whenever I hear someone talk about prejudice or sexism, homophobia or transgender issues. As a straight white man I have no fucking clue what its like to deal with racism/sexism/transgender/homophobia. I got no clue. It’s not my reality. Sure I can read and watch movies and get a little tiny speck of an idea. Sure I can see my wife, children, family or friends suffer, but still I don’t have any clue of the day to day, moment to moment life and what it entails.
My suggestion to straight white dudes is you listen. Even if you get annoyed by someone bitching about white men for the hundredth time, keep listening. A little annoyance at someone expressing a life filled with sexism and prejudices isn’t a large price to pay. Listen listen listen and then live your life. You may wind up like me, peering in for one minute at a mass wall of discrimination and hatred. Once this happens you might just stop acting like a dick who has a clue when it comes to discrimination. You may begin to listen closer and deeper and become a human fucking being.
Also, maybe don’t call women sexist names, like cunt, bitch, slut, whore, and ect. Even if you’re talking about a worthless excuse for a human being like Sarah Palin. Calling her a cunt obfuscates your message. Sarah Palin is a dimwitted greedy hick who happens to be a women. And when you call her a cunt/bitch/twat waffle people suspect you are just a scared little man who hates any woman who has a bit of power because you resort to unimaginative sexist name calling. Also using sexist names that you think are imaginative like twatwaffle isn’t imaginative. So you heard Doug Stanhope say it the middle of a transcendent diatribe were he takes the piss out of humanity in its entirety, starting with himself… and your whole takeaway is “can’t wait to call any girl who doesn’t laugh at my jokes a stuck up twatwaffle.”
Listen. Be creative. Learn. Grow.
And the only thing I would say to women and people and sexualities that experience discrimination is to keep speaking up. Keep sharing. I’ve grown and learned a lot in my five years on tumblr. Not all straight white dudes are total assholes. Some of us are just ignorant. There are many words I’ve learned not to use because they’ve been hurled like rocks for years and caused people pain. Hell, if a 41 yr old straight white guy raised by right wing religious nuts can learn and grow I’d like to think anyone can.