“How to build a better white guy” is a conversation that could turn academic fast, replete with all the jargon that the sneering class finds so tedious: intersectionality, emotional labor, systemic oppression, the dreaded “privilege.” But when I sat down with my friends, only one question sprang to mind, and it was personal, not pedantic.
“Do you ever stick up for me?”
.. So, if you care, how often do you say something? Maybe you’ll confront your close friends, but what about more powerful men, famous men, cool men, men who could further your career?
.. One of the subtlest and most pervasive is social ostracism — coding empathy as the fun killer, consideration for others as an embarrassing weakness and dissenting voices as out-of-touch, bleeding-heart dweebs (at best). Coolness is a fierce disciplinarian.
.. People of color not only have to deal with racism; they also have to deal with white people labeling them “angry” or “hostile” or “difficult” for objecting.
.. “SJW” is an acronym for “social justice warrior,” a sarcastic pejorative that purports to refer to online progressive zealots who cross the line from activist to moral scold. In practice, though, the term usually means “anyone asking me to adjust my behavior for reasons I deem annoying or frivolous,”
.. The “dirtbag left,” in contrast to these “warriors,” promises a world in which you can have it both ways: You can be good without ever seeming uncool in front of your buddies, you can be an advocate for social justice without ever considering there might be social forces beyond your ken, you can be a crusader for positive change without ever killing anyone’s buzz, you can be a progressive hero without ever taking identity politics seriously.
.. She testified that she and female colleagues were not invited to a business dinner with Al Gore, the former vice president. “It was said that if there were women there, the conversation would be tempered,” she said, “and it was because women kill the buzz.”
.. I’m frequently contacted by young women weighing the (iffy) benefits and (massive) costs of calling out sexism in their male-dominated industries. I always think: Why is this even our responsibility to fix?
.. One of my podcasting friends told me that he does stick up for women in challenging situations, like testosterone-soaked comedy green rooms, for instance, but complained, “I get mocked for it!”
Yes, I know you do. Welcome. Getting yelled at and made fun of is where many of us live all the time.
Speaking up costs us friends, jobs, credibility and invisible opportunities we’ll never even know enough about to regret.
.. But I need you to absorb that risk. I need you to get yelled at and made fun of, a lot, and if you get kicked out of the club, I need you to be relieved, and I need you to help build a new one.