Are white men losers?

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By Tom Holmes

Contributing Reporter / Religion Blogger

Are white men losers?

            The short answer is "yes," and that answer helps explain why over 60% of white men vote Republican.

            White men have been losing for over a century.  Take voting.  In the beginning, i.e. 1776, only white men with property could vote.  We were king of the hill.   We started sliding down the power hill in 1920 when the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.  Then in 1965 the Voting Rights Act fulfilled the intention of the 14th Amendment passed in 1866 by insuring that African-Americans would have no obstacles to voting.  In that same year Asian-Americans had the status of "aliens ineligible for voting" removed.  All of this was right and fair, but white males nevertheless experienced a loss.

Signed into law in 1972, Title IX "requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding."  Although many schools do not comply with the law and forfeit federal funding, white males have nevertheless been pushed a bit further from the center of the stage.

An article in the Economist Magazine (Dec., 1209) stated, "The economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years. . . . Millions of people who were once dependent on men have taken control of their own economic fates. "Women now make up almost half of American workers (49.9% in October). . . . . They earn almost 60% of university degrees in America and Europe. The rich world has seen a growing demand for women's labour. When brute strength mattered more than brains, men had an inherent advantage. Now that brainpower has triumphed the two sexes are more evenly matched.


"In America three out of four people thrown out of work since the recession began are men; the female unemployment rate is 8.6%, against 11.2% for men. The Bureau of Labour Statistics calculates that women make up more than two-thirds of employees in ten of the 15 job categories likely to grow fastest in the next few years"

Again, all of these changes might be just and long overdue, but if you are a white male, the change is often experienced as a loss.                                        

In a review of A Woman's Place, The End of Men And the Rise of Women By Hanna Rosin, Jennifer Homans writes, "But this 'rise,' which Rosin so cheerfully reports, is in fact a devastating social collapse. It starts with inequality and class division. As Rosin herself shows, men at 'the top' of society are not 'ending.' It is all happening to the lower and middle classes, because 'the end of men' is the end of a manufacturing-based economy and the men who worked there, many of whom are now unemployed, depressed, increasingly dependent on the state and women to support them."

Understanding the justice of having a woman or minority get a job instead of you feels like a loss in your gut if you are a white male, even if in your head you know it's the right thing.  Put it this way.  Say you are making $100,000 a year and your salary is cut by $40,000, and your neighbor is making $20,000 and her salary is doubled.  Which of you is going to feel empowered, energized and hopeful? 

In The Masculinity Crisis and the Gender Gap: Why White Men Vote Republican (2/7/2012), Hugo Schwyzer wrote, "The end result of women's emancipation has been, as conservatives like Charles Murray and Mary Eberstadt have argued, the psychological dislocation of American men. Raised to be "good providers," young men cannot possibly compete with a "Leviathan" state that provides far more to women and children. The much-exaggerated contemporary masculinity crisis is the inevitable consequence of robbing men of their natural and primary source of self-esteem, the ability to provide for their families."

It's not rational, of course, and cynical politicians and talk show hosts exploit the feelings of being marginalized.  Nevertheless, it doesn't help matters to demonize white guys, point fingers and say, "Just grow up."

A lot of us white guys know that many women and non-white men love us in spite of our weaknesses and faults.  We also know what the right thing to do is.  All many of us want is to feel like we are on the same team as we go through the hard work of adjusting to the new normal.  Help us celebrate our new found freedom to enjoy having feelings and participate more fully in the raising of our children.

 Also, allow us to point out, from our own sad experience, that becoming a CEO and being part of the rat race might not be worth the effort to get there.  Finally, don't assume that because the white guy in your life votes for Romney that he's a racist.


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Reader Comments

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WHAT? from Oak Park IL  

Posted: October 27th, 2012 9:16 PM

How is it a "loss" for white men for others to have equality? That's ridiculous. Minorities and women are not asking for privilege, we simply want equality. Sadly, no matter how you are feeling, white privilege is alive and well but I am more saddened that you feel any movement for others is a "loss" for you.


Posted: October 25th, 2012 10:42 AM

Are you kidding me? Losing? This is exactly the kind of thing that perpetuates racism and white privilege. Saying things like the 19th Amendment are "loses" for white males. Yes, technically, white males have "lost" complete control of a country that they only make up about a fourth of, but the fact that they ever had it is absurd anyway. I think you need to take another look at what losing really is. I can promise you that the neighbor making $20,000 can tell you.

Bob Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 21st, 2012 12:37 PM

CORRECTION: "need to get over"

Bob Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 21st, 2012 9:28 AM

White men to get over their gender and racial privilege. It's destructive to themselves and everyone around them. It's at the root of so many of our seemingly intractable social problems. The Republican Party, which was once a proud reform party committed to racial equality and feminism, has sunk into a morass of crude ignorance and bigotry pandering to gender and racial privilege. The Democrats, though purporting to uphold gender and racial equality, often only pay lip service to it so as not to upset the white male privilege apple cart. Time to grow up guys, we don't need that crutch anymore.

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