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Being a Straight, White, Male Used to be a Pretty Good Deal...

Updated: Oct 8, 2018

A study in April by Diana Mute, a politics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, suggested that 'it was not economic anxiety that prompted white, Christian, men to vote for him [Trump] but that their dominance as a group was under threat'.

We're all familiar with the term non-white, right? For everyone else who's 'not white' lumped together by folks with good intentions, yet harmfully call themselves colourblind. Well, I like the term non-black and non-brown for those who no longer want to be a subcategory of white.

So does Australian comedian, Hannah Gadsby, who in her recent show (on Netflix) Nanette, said that the straight white male thinks of himself as 'top shelf normal, king of the humans,' isn't top shelf or king anymore. She says it's a '...tough, very confusing time [for straight, white males]... because, for the first time ever, you’re suddenly a sub-category of the human.' Things are changing and shifting for straight, white men and they're most dramatically being redefined along demographic lines.

In the US, non-Hispanic White children, under 18 will no longer be the majority by 2020, those considered minorities - Latinos, Blacks and Asians - combined, will outnumber them, making up over half of the population at 50.2%.

A real-life example of that is what used to be a small Lilly-white mining town called Hazleton, Pennsylvania where things began to change when Latinos arrived. Today in Hazleton, non-Hispanic whites are now outnumbered by Latinos, with the non-Hispanic population at 44%, down from 95% in 2000, while in the same period, Latinos went from 5% of the total pop. In 2000 to a 52% majority!

Hannah's solution to this white identity threat is to 'learn to... move beyond your defensiveness... get some space around it, learn to... develop a sense of humour about it" or 'lighten up, learn to laugh.'

it's a"tough, very confusing time [for straight, white males]... because, for the first time ever, you’re suddenly a sub-category of the human'

This isn't reverse racism, which is often the response to such comments and a part of white fragility; coined by Robin Di-Angelo, a professor of white studies. By the way, white fragility is used to describe white peoples' unquestioned point of view and their consequent defensiveness when said point of view is challenged. This is racism with good intentions. We can be good people AND be a racist. Yes, both good and racist. You can be a good-racist!

How? Unconscious bias, which according to Ruby McGregor-Smith, who carried out the Race at Work Review 2017, is the most significant source of racial prejudice in the workplace and much more pervasive and potentially insidious than any other form of discrimination.

Great, so what can you do about a bias we might have but don't know we have it? Let's turn to another woman for great advice, Ruby McGregor-Smith, she suggests that 'we have to question how much of this bias is truly ‘unconscious’ and by terming it ‘unconscious’, how much it allows us to hide behind it. Conscious or unconscious, the end result of bias is racial discrimination, which we cannot and should not accept.'¹

Sounds like a more intelligent deal for all of us, even the white guys.

¹ McGregor-Smith 'Race in Workplace McGregor Smith Review.'

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