I get all itchy and scratchy when white men and men in general are the subject of denigration, unless the denigration is very funny and devoid of any attempt to try right a social wrong, however well intended. The self-conscious sniveling humor that paints white men as predatory businessmen and white husbands as oafish beer drinkers leaves me unamused. Racially and gender-based humor should be unapologetic and, most importantly, fresh – the cliches about Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics, Men and Women have been done to death.
Two wrongs don’t make a right
Outside of rare, really good comedy, I think a culture has been created by those who believe they’re pro-minority and pro-women, and imbedded in that culture is the wrong-headed notion that because wrongs were done to the group they support, the situation can be balanced by doing a subtle or overt wrong to the group they view as inappropriately privileged. Hence the predatory white male businessman and the oafish white husband stereotypes I mentioned in the last paragraph.
Weak men aren’t a benefit to anybody
This culture creates an atmosphere in which a feminized man and a masculine-ized woman are the ideal. An aspirational white male role model is at once criticized for (and often prevented from) expressing its masculinity and ridiculed for failing to do so. Men who are too passionate about their life’s mission are viewed with suspicion, yet men who fail to be powerful enough in their relationships are disdained by women.
Nabobs of negativity
But what really bugs me about this mindset is that it’s based on an attitude of criticism and denigration. The undercurrent of negativity in social interactions limits our ability to appreciate one another’s power and beauty. After a while, we see only the weakness and ugliness in other people and social groups. This destructive view seeps into the self-consciousness of all but the most independent thinkers, and the culture at large, instead of nurturing great talent and passion, suppresses it.
Love, support, and success
It’s not a zero-sum game. Eva Gabor said that “Love is game two can play and both can win.” We could do a lot better by celebrating the accomplishments of all our people, whatever their gender and whatever the color of their skin. Unless a person is predatory or destructive, let’s learn to identify their strengths and unique viewpoints, and give them the social support to absolutely excel.
It’s almost as if we, as a society, are afraid of success. I suppose, like virtually all negativity, it comes from fear and insecurity, and if we’re afraid of others doing better than us, we’re going to react by denigrating them.
How much greater the world, if each of us is greater?
How much more could we all accomplish if, right from the outset, we all agreed that the success of others creates an atmosphere in which we, too, can succeed wildly? If that passionate, ambitious, productive man, who may happen to be white, wants to build a great company, let’s celebrate his vision, and celebrate all the great things that we are capable of ourselves!