I like to think of myself as a liberal person — very liberal at that. I support LGBTQ rights, minority rights, women’s rights, abortion rights, children’s rights, animal rights, and environmental rights. Have I left out a big category? I bet I support that too. I consider myself a feminist ally and an LGBTQ ally. On the flip side, I hate religious fundamentalists and modern-day conservatives, along with their coalition of anti-science, racist, misogynistic, tea-partying and homophobic mouth-breathers. I can’t stand Mens’ Rights Activists. I also abhor far-left movements that are anti-science, especially anti-vaxxers. I trust in science. I trust in smart people. I am an atheist, too, though I think everyone has the right to believe whatever they want in terms of spirituality and faith, as long as they don’t force their beliefs on others. In the Kinja-verse, my favorite main site is io9, followed closely by Jezebel (approved commenter on both main pages, among others) and I have posting rights on the Observation Deck and here on GroupThink. I am thankful to have those permissions.
I bristle, rightly so I believe, when I read racist, sexuality or gender-blaming comments. Not only does a person’s race, gender and sexuality have little to nothing to do with 99.9% of discussions, the blamer comes off as an idiot or worse. Imagine the outcry just about anywhere on the Gawker mega-site, if someone started a sentence, “As a black female, you obviously believe...” or, “That’s what I’d expect from a person like you.” Even trying to backpedal with an explanation like, “I didn’t mean all black women” wouldn’t get the commenter out of trouble. And it shouldn’t.
I’m an older white male (cis-het, even) and privileged as all get-out. Though I identify as male and am sexually attracted to women, I hate nearly everything associated with a masculine stereotype: sportsing, competition, bravado, muscles, everything. I’m a musician, a composer, a writer and a painter. Articles on Jezebel and GT appeal to me as a person, not as a male. I want to cheer with people who have victories and get mad, along with everyone else, when society attacks someone’s rights.
To the point then (finally):
There are a lot of articles, mostly on Jezebel, where white males (or, older white males, or white male liberals) are set up as a group target and then mocked or villified. If I try to comment with an explanation that I don’t think I’m a member of the group in the cross-hairs, I have to fight back accusations that I’m pulling a #notallwhitepeople,* or that I better check my privilege, or it even gets flipped over to making me sound like the bad guy for even trying to make that point. If you say I should keep quiet, it means reading an article and comments making me (and other men like me) out to be the bad guy.
I’m not out to defend white males as a group, but I am out to say that you can’t stereotype us (me) anymore than you can stereotype any other group based on skin color, gender or sexual preference. Yes, the white males who vote Republican are assholes, but that isn’t all white men. The white men who discriminate against women in the workforce are assholes, but they aren’t all of us either. Sure, it is certainly most white men who are jerks, but no one is starting off their attacks by making that distinction. And, in fact, some writers are suggesting that even white men who fancy themselves “liberals” or not one of the bad guys are just kidding themselves, that they are so privileged they can never “get” it, they can’t see how racist and misogynistic they really are, and that Liberalism would be better off without them.
So what should I do? Should I stay or should I go? I get the feeling I should just go, or just lurk. God forbid I should defend Hillary Clinton as a candidate (or the New York Times as a quality liberal newspaper), or suggest that maybe some older white men don’t listen to Maclemore, or try to say that, yes, some of us do really care about feminist issues and want to help and that we’re all not bad.
I will star every comment out of the grays. (Update: I’ve been starring replies for over an hour. I accept the collective wisdom: I over-reacted, I shouldn’t make it all about me. Really, many, many great thoughts from everyone. Thank you.)
* A bit about #notallmen and even #alllivesmatter: I hate those tags with a passion, because the first is usually tossed out by MRAs and the second by racists, and they are meant to trivialize or block whatever the discussion is at hand. I believe that articles about white male support of Republicans or disenfranchisement of women are necessary, and my point is not, and is never, to say the arguments in question are wrong or should not be made. I just want to focus the blame a little better. Hence, if I’m asking for something that shouldn’t need to be done, I should go.