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My Identity Organization: a Call to Action
I am (1) white, (2) male, and (3) straight as opposed to gay. So I am thinking about creating an organization specifically for straight white males including myself. In previous periods, I might have defined myself more broadly as being an American but the forces of political and cultural history have conspired to put me in a shrunken demographic box expressing my gender, race, and sexual orientation.
And so, I accept the identity that I have lately been given. In this day and age, it is not a proud identity but one that carries historical baggage. White people once enslaved blacks, men subjugated women, and straight people persecuted gays. So that is what other people think I am in group terms. I accept that. It’s a starting point of this discussion.
Nevertheless, I want to be the best person I can possibly be. I want legitimately to be proud of myself. I think an organization could be created to serve those ends. It would be primarily an organization of straight white males but other variations are also possible.
In this organization, a person would start by accepting his demographic identity. He would be proud to be white. He would be proud to be a man. He would be proud to be a straight man. Easy as it would seem to be, the concept goes against much of our recent cultural history. There are real penalties for individuals who would try this on their own.
Here is the problem: The co-called “majority” population of America has become marginalized. White people have become marginalized politically as have men. There is no use crying about this or trying to upgrade your image. Instead, embrace your identity with all its negativity.
Try this on and see how it feels. Proudly identify with the white race and with the male gender. Let them throw their worst at you. You will be called a “racist”. You will be called a “bigot”. You will be shunned in polite society. However, if you survive in good cheer, you will have won. You and others like you can take your community back. You will be free.
The beauty of an organization is that it attracts like-minded people. You would find other white people who are not ashamed of being white, men who are not ashamed of being men, etc. You would find people not afraid to express out loud their pride in themselves for being who they were born. In practical terms, they would not be afraid of being called a bigot.
This would be a huge step forward, increasing personal self-confidence. The tide of victory in the culture wars would profoundly shift. Maybe even, the rising death rate among white Americans aged 45 to 54 would reverse itself and start to go down.
Well, you get the idea. Straight white men in America should again be proud of themselves and, just as important, they should express that pride in the company of others both like and unlike themselves. They should openly identify with who they are. They should not be afraid of being called a bigot for identifying with a group that does not include others outside this parameter of self-definition.
But there is more that can be done - much more. Let me say at the outset that the goal is not to put other people down but to lift up one’s own self-defined group. Let other people do as they please or think whatever thoughts they may have about themselves or about me. That is their business, not mine. My business is to speak to my own people in the context of the culture wars and point a way forward in terms of group identity. No longer will "white male" be a pejorative term if I can help it.
Therefore, the next step after accepting one’s own demographic identity is to take a look at the situation in which one finds oneself. What type of life do I have; and is it the best life to which I could reasonably aspire? If I start thinking that way, I may find many things about my situation that could and should be changed.
So now, in theory, we have a demographically defined organization with aspirations for a better life. Again, this would be primarily an organization of straight white males. (To the extent that the concept offends you, it shows the need for such an organization. But let’s get past this and focus on what can be done.) It would be a problem-solving organization that tends to its own business instead of disparaging others.
Speaking personally, I think that straight white males as a group are trapped in a framework of expectations that denies them the opportunity to live to the fullest extent - to make their own mistakes, experience the vicissitudes of life, and occasionally accomplish something great. They enter school at the age of five, spend the next twelve years engaged in well-defined group activities, go to college, graduate, and then look for a job. If they are lucky, they will find a suitable job with adequate material rewards. But it will also be a situation of rigid personal requirements that are relieved only when a person retires.
I can imagine a better life than this where individual freedom is allowed to a greater degree and people do not graduate from college with so much debt. That life would include recognition of dignity for "majority" as well as minority persons. I do not know how such a life can be achieved. But a starting point might be to achieve it through the efforts of an organization of straight white males who are reasonably proud of themselves and find strength in their group identity.
Right now, we have reached a social impasse where we think that the present system of education and careers represents the most that is possible in terms of human opportunity. That is not so. We can do better, all of us. But it is also my dream that white males in particular will throw off the shackles of ill-meaning criticism that permeates society and take the lead in an enterprise of self-emancipation. Let’s transcend the smallness of current thinking and make something of ourselves.
Note: The time for action is upon us. If you would like to participate in an organization such as that suggested above, please contact us and a list will be created. There is no obligation to do anything. We are still feeling our way. But this website with its substantial viewership does offer an opportunity for organizing. If interested, please send your name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address (and any comments you care to make) to this link: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
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