The White Male Burden


Those who are considered minorities(which probably soon won’t be, because there may actually be fewer 100% White than the combined other races) don’t really understand what it’s like to be White. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indians and anyone else who don’t fall under the White category believe they are the only ones who are stereotyped against. What they don’t realize is that people look at us too and think certain things. Maybe they associate us with being richer, or unable to dance, or that we’re probably Irish and all eat potatoes. Not all of us like potatoes, I assure you. And then you throw in the male part and suddenly you’re adding on more, like being unable to cook, or even having a smaller penis than males of other races. Minorities act like they’re the only ones who suffer from stereotypes, but what I mentioned above is only the tip of the iceberg.

I’m just kidding; I love potatoes. So I guess I don’t have it that bad.

It’s hard keeping up with all the news going back home, but US news tends to make splashes in Colombia too. With that and social media keeping me up to date, it’s hard to not be aware of what’s been going on in Ferguson and other parts of the States. (I’m also spurred to write on this topic because I’m reading A History of South Africa, which exemplifies the most senseless white supremacy that you could imagine)

First off, let’s not start by saying it’s the fault of either side. Both Black people and White people, not to mention Latinos and Asians and the rest of the rainbow, all commit crimes daily. Many of them are racially driven, not just the White-against-Black ones that currently splash the headlines. I’m not here to say that Whites are in the wrong and it’s time for Blacks to take their turn up top. That would be silly. In reality, all anybody truly wants is equality.

However, isn’t that already in place? Laws have been enacted to punish employers hiring or firing based on race. Every American citizen has an equal vote, regardless of race. There are no interracial marriage restrictions, there are no divided sports teams, there’s no label on drinking fountains or special bus seats. Hell, there’s even a word only Blacks can use and they have a clothing brand that, within it’s name, intrinsically excludes anyone who isn’t “Us.” Let’s not even start on Affirmative Action. If anything, the country has overcompensated in it’s pursuit of equality, don’t ya think?

(Now I can’t truly capture the soul of this next part, because I simply don’t fit in it, but bear with me)

No, not in the slightest. These are all surface-level steps that appear legitimate when listing tangible items in the evidence of equality, but it’s what’s underneath all the obvious that really hasn’t changed. I’ve had conversations with many of my black friends and found out that they often feel hated for no reason, just by a look they get from someone. Often the way they are looked at, talked to, or treated in general is just so layered with unspoken negative sentiments that it’s hard to ignore.

“Yo bro, what do you think of the new Kanye Album? Isn’t Yeezy the shiz?”

“I dunno, I don’t really listen to rap.”

“Oh… Really?”

This is an isolated example, I know. But really, genuinely ask some of your non-white friends what it’s like being a minority(which I remind you may soon only be verbal-designation as opposed to a mathematical fact). You will be shocked to hear the stories of racism they directly or indirectly experience on a daily basis. While you yourself may not be racist(I won’t draw lines between conscious or unconscious), so many people in this world have yet to surpass centuries-old superiority complexes. As mentioned in the book, A History of South Africa, when working towards a deal with pro-African political parties in 1988, then-President Botha wasn’t even “considering the possibility of a black majority government in South Africa.

Yes, that was 1988 and it was in South Africa, which as we all know has come a long way in it’s fight towards equality through the help of Nelson Mandela and others. Again, on paper and in general professional practice, equality is more present than absent. But my best friend was born in 1988, so those sentiments aren’t even a generation away. And to make it geographically relevant, my Dad was alive when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. That great leader of change may be dead, but the memories are still kickin’.

A quick story:

1) At the University of Cincinnati, my white friend Mike and I joined our black friends Marcus and Jarrell. We were going to a “black party,” or a party where the majority would look different than Mike and I. When we got there, I found out it was going to be Mike, myself, and a white girl who clearly was a part of the group despite her skin tone. I didn’t feel threatened, nor was anything directly said to me, but watching everyone’s eyes glance over me for being different was easily one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life.

Later on that night, after that party and a normal one(“normal” was used intentionally) I asked Marcus and Jarrell if that’s how they felt when they went to parties with us.

They both looked at me with straight faces and said “Every time.”

In this case I walked just a few feet in their shoes, and I knew which route was easier.

We, as non-racist White Males, should not have to suffer for the sins of those trespassers. We are not an entity, we are not one. Nor are we our ancestors who made these mistakes and burdened us with the consequences. We should not have to deal with that. It’s simply not fair.

Despite all the sarcasm above, one statement does ring true. It is indeed unfair.

But also unfair are the looks, the comments, and the built-in stereotypes. Unfair are the deaths that still occur daily, the shocking statistics in our jails, and the propaganda that litters our media. But most unfair is this idea that we shouldn’t have to make sacrifices too. We shouldn’t have to let some of the minorities get advantages to even things out. We shouldn’t have to bear the difficulties that their grandparents suffered by my grandparents, because well, I’m not my grandpa.

What Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Indians and others don’t realize is that to arrive at this middle ground called “equality,” we are the ones who have to give up something. They don’t recognize the burden of being the only ones who have to go down.

What a heavy cross we bear. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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