I once scoffed at claims of “white male privilege,” dismissing such criticisms as mere “political correctness.” But in the Trump era I have had my consciousness raised. Seriously. Me in @ForeignPolicy: https://t.co/OpgCFew2cF
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) December 27, 2017
Max “Kill All Those Noisy Foreigners” Boot, in Foreign Policy, for the Trickster God’s sake!
…As a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union, I felt it was ridiculous to expect me to atone for the sins of slavery and segregation, to say nothing of the household drudgery and workplace discrimination suffered by women. I wasn’t racist or sexist. (Or so I thought.) I hadn’t discriminated against anyone. (Or so I thought.) My ancestors were not slave owners or lynchers; they were more likely victims of the pogroms.
I saw America as a land of opportunity, not a bastion of racism or sexism. I didn’t even think that I was a “white” person — the catchall category that has been extended to include everyone from a Mayflower descendant to a recently arrived illegal immigrant from Ireland. I was a newcomer to America who was eager to assimilate into this wondrous new society, and I saw its many merits while blinding myself to its dark side.
Well, live and learn. A quarter century is enough time to examine deeply held shibboleths and to see if they comport with reality. In my case, I have concluded that my beliefs were based more on faith than on a critical examination of the evidence. In the last few years, in particular, it has become impossible for me to deny the reality of discrimination, harassment, even violence that people of color and women continue to experience in modern-day America from a power structure that remains for the most part in the hands of straight, white males. People like me, in other words. Whether I realize it or not, I have benefitted from my skin color and my gender — and those of a different gender or sexuality or skin color have suffered because of it….
The country is becoming more aware of oppression and injustice, which have long permeated our society, precisely because of growing agitation to do something about it. Those are painful but necessary steps toward creating a more equal and just society. But we are not there yet, and it is wrong to pretend otherwise. It is even more pernicious to cling to the conceit, so popular among Donald Trump’s supporters, that straight white men are the “true” victims because their unquestioned position of privilege is now being challenged by uppity women, gay people, and people of color…
There is a hairsplitting argument to be made about whether Trump is the cause or just the catalyst of so many staunch conservatives’ sudden realization: If they’ll treat their own family members and neighbors like this, they’ll certainly treat me just as badly. But as long as they remember their manners, I’m ready to accept Mr. Boot (and Ana Navarro, Tom Nichols, et al) to our big tent and the 21st century!