Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Helpful Message To Straight White Older Men Everywhere

Are you a white man? Straight? Maybe somewhere north of 40 years old? I'm one of you; I know what I'm talking about. And I'm trying to help.

You might have your own secret theory about all those Other People sharing the country with us. Maybe you have an interesting idea about women's ladyparts and rape, or what causes people to be gay, or about how slavery really wasn't that bad. I bet you think your notion is courageous and politically incorrect, and you just might have the answers we're all looking for.

Okay, well, you need to shut the fuck up about your theory. Now.

Normally I want people to be open and share, but you should repress the hell out of that. No one wants to hear it. You're going to get stomped on. And also, you're wrong.

How am I so sure you're wrong without even hearing what your theory is?

About twenty years ago I wrote a draft of a novel suggesting that most African Americans were Libertarian and didn't realize it. I know, I know. Many of you reading this are reacting like I'd just said I can only have sex while wearing a Christmas sweater. That was a terrible, stupid idea. It ranks up there with the time I was six and decided I wanted to see what a falling rock looked like from below. About three people read that novel, and someday I may need to kill them.

It hurts to write about it. But I had to, because I want to emphasize that it's exactly the kind of nonsense an ignorant privileged person thinks when they're trying to work out what it's like to live without privilege. You don't know what you're talking about. So you fill that gap with crazy. And if you're a certain kind of ignorant privileged person the one handicap you have is a debilitating lack of intellectual humility. Not knowing about something does not keep you from talking. But it should. Sweet Jesus, it should.

So... for your sake, for mine, and for the rest of the country's... please consider closing your damn mouth about other people and their problems. Maybe - here's a thought - you could even let people talk for themselves.

But let's not go nuts.

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