What's a white man to do?

In a provocative conversation with a friend this weekend, I was encouraged to give up my white man's guilt. "Black, Hispanics, women, gays? They don't need your help," my friend said. "Just pay your taxes and get out of the way." Her comment came in response to my upset over the re-segregation movement in Wake County these days, but her admonition went far beyond that. "Integration, feminism, immigration ... these aren't your causes," she said. "Your activism smacks of paternalism. You're part of the problem."

Maybe she's right. Maybe middle-aged white guys like me should just stand on the sidelines and let others fend for themselves. I have all the blessings I'll ever need, why not let those getting the short end of the stick work it out for themselves?

Take women, for example. As today's N&O reports, they're getting the short end of the stick in more ways than you can count.

A Blue Cross and Blue Shield comprehensive policy with a $2,500 deductible would cost a 38-year-old Durham man $182 a month. For a woman of the same age and hometown, the cost jumps to $269 -- a difference that amounts to an extra thousand dollars a year. Add optional maternity coverage, and the monthly premium would leap to $490 a month.

Maybe women just don't care? Maybe they're so used to being screwed over that they won't take to the streets to raise holy hell no matter what. Same with black neighborhoods in Raleigh. Maybe they do want a return to segregated schools. Maybe white guys like me should stop worrying about what's "right" for them.

Final thought: It's a good thing I'm not yet a victim of institutional discrimination like this insurance scam against women. Because I'm pretty sure I'd be one of those people who goes postal.

Comments

The ultimate guilt trip

I give Ed Cone credit for posting a snippet on Christopher Columbus today. I consider this particular holiday one of the blackest and darkest in history.

Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue?

I give Ed Cone credit for posting a snippet on Christopher Columbus today. I consider this particular holiday one of the blackest and darkest in history.* James

So you and Ed would be worshiping at a Mayan Temple today or be the main event for a heart removeable transplant to the Gods?

Mayan madness

Not really. But my ancestors, who on my mother's side were Susquehanna Indians, might well have survived with their land and dignity intact.

Vikings Win! Vikings Win! Not Minnsota Fats Columbo?

Not really. But my ancestors, who on my mother's side were Susquehanna Indians, might well have survived with their land and dignity intact.*James

Not really! Your southern ancestors were screw centuries before Colombo arrive when the Viking show up in Greenland [Why do you think they called it Greenland?] after the 1st fake Global cooling period during the 11 th century. Now for the Good News. The Purtians when they arrive in the Bay Colony [Mass] 1620 AD were shocked to see Tall Blue eye, light color skin Indians with Viking Tommyhawks.....Chances are that you just might be 1/1200 th part Viking Indian who screw yourself by mistake...

The most delicious piece of irony yet for this Monday

"Integration, feminism, immigration ... these aren't your causes," she said. "Your activism smacks of paternalism. You're part of the problem."

I'm so glad you had a non-paternalistic figure to tell you what your causes are and are not.

Without such guidance, what's a white man to do?

Tell me you made up this quote. I don't want to believe it actually came out of a thinking person's mouth.

 

It's a paraphrase ... but not made up

I didn't have a recorder running. There were comments posted here at BlueNC with regard to the re-segregation issue that suggested black families may want their own segregated schools - and that liberal whites may be on the wrong side of the issue.

Not just comments

There were comments posted here at BlueNC with regard to the re-segregation issue that suggested black families may want their own segregated schools - and that liberal whites may be on the wrong side of the issue.

James, it isn't just people commenting here.

http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2009/10/school-board-polling.html

Overall 61% of voters opposed the [diversity] policy with only 29% in support of it in that early September poll. Perhaps most telling 46% of African Americans were opposed to it with only 39% supportive. And even Democrats overall were only narrowly supportive, 49/39, while Republicans were opposed 82/9 and independents were 66/25.

As to the whole issue you raise, it is a difficult one, I agree. At a certain point, you do have to step back and look to see if your help is really wanted.

I don't think the solution

I don't think the solution lies in a "one system fits all" approach. We tried busing and that didn't help these kids. Simply returning to a neighborhood schools model and do nothing else won't cut it either. These kids need to be saved one at a time. Our group is hoping to reach out to the community and the school board and help start a KIPP program in Raleigh. These schools have proved wildly successful in other parts of the country, and even right here in NC. Look them up on the web and learn more. We can't have a KIPP school on every corner, but establishing the first will help provide a ray of hope for others, a ray they don't have today. I am not arrogant enough to that I know the best approach for helping all of these children, but at least I am willing to admit it. We still have school board members who deny this poll data and still think they know better than what the parents want for their children.

Nahhhh - can't do that

I'm a middle-aged (47) white male, straight, brought up in a christian family (although I am an atheist). I make a decent living, have not been near he poverty line for well over a decade, and am college educated. Basically, outside of that atheist thingy (which can be hidden well if I choose - but I don't), I am subject to almost no discrimination of any sort. I say "almost" simply because I just might be unaware of some prejudicial actions of others. According to James' friend, I should just shut up and enjoy the benefits society has granted me.

Wrong - on multiple fronts.

- ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

- 'First, they came for...' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came...)

- Sitting back without speaking for others reeks of the "I've got mine, screw you" attitude of too many folks.

- I am not a child, but there are children who are beaten daily. So, I should just sit back and not do anything for those children because my interference may appear to be "condescending"?

So folks who aren't fat, middle-aged white guys - please do not take my being upset at the lack of gay marriage, or the existence of a glass ceiling, or employment discrimination as my being paternalistic and an act of simply taking care of my lesser children. Same thing for taking actions against those acts, or voting for candidates who pledge to work against those acts. Please accept it as I intend it - effectively as acting on the golden rule.

Golden Rule?

I'm happy an "atheist" goes with the Golden Rule....

Mathew 7, Verse 12 in the Christian Bible.

Gold Rules?

I'm happy an "atheist" goes with the Golden Rule....

Mathew 7, Verse 12 in the Christian Bible.* Foxtrot

You must be using the Reverse Prevert King James Bible?

According to the Athesist Reverse Bible? The Golden Rule is cover in 1st Lenin, Chapter 1, Verse 1.

" He or She, Capitalist Pig who rules with the most Gold will rule forever, until the next Anti-Capitalist revolution occures"

Or according to the Great Architect, Fat Albert Pike Bible, Morals and Dogmas...33 rd Degree, Chapter 666, Verse 1,

" The Wizard of Oz that has the most Golden Rule Gold will rule the Universe and go where no man has gone before, until the American Space Program Bomb the Moon"

Mad Town...you're so cute

Thanks for the humor. I look forward to your responses.

HAHAHAHAHAHA....Thanks for that.

Tea Bagger Bible?

I forgot that the Republican Tea Baggers have a Bible too and there is a Verse related to the Golden Rule..

1st Shout Out, Chapter 1 Precint, Verse Town Hall Chao 1,

" When confronting the Devil himself in Public, Hurl Golden Bricks at him and hope for change in Kurgerrands"

Apparently your friend is confused

about the differences between empathy and paternalism, James.

The paternal drive emanates from perceived responsibilities associated with a superiority complex. There may be some (white) guilt in there, but paternalism is mostly about reinforcing that image of superiority. But that is not you, my brother.

We all have some level of empathy inside us, but most people spend so much time trying to tickle their own fancy they have little time left to worry about others. But there is an (unfortunately) much smaller group of people who can't easily divest their thoughts of people (even strangers) who are suffering from something.

A true empath doesn't really "seek out" the pain of others, it just happens. They see what they perceive to be a wrong being done, and they immediately try to imagine what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of that wrong. And the empathic person rarely even considers whether that other person is of different race or gender or what have you, because they see that person merely as another human being, with all the fears realized and hopes dashed and spark dwindling that we're all susceptible to, when life decides to deal us some bad cards.

That is you, James. And you won't be able to stop, even if you tried. You didn't just have a bulb light up over your head one day and decide you'd like to try empathy for a while. Doesn't work like that, pal. It would be a lot easier if it did, 'cause then you could just turn it off when it became too much. So you're stuck with being an empathic person, pain in the ass that it is. And I'm damned glad of it, my friend.