America, we need to have a conversation about white men. They’re the arrested development case of our culture, refusing to grow up and act like adults. They’re holding the entire nation back and the only way they are ever going to get over themselves is if we stop coddling them whenever they scrape their knee. I get it, they’ve been the center of attention for so long that we just don’t know how to raise our voice to them. We’ve seen the kinds of temper tantrums they throw when they don’t get their way. It would be so much easier to just let them keep strutting about like they own the place if only so we don’t have to listen to their bitching and moaning about how mean everyone is to them.
But like a 40-year-old living in his parent’s basement because he’s afraid to move out, we’re not helping them and they’re making our lives a living hell. It’s time for them to stand on their own two feet.
Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about Millennials who are forced to live at home because they’re drowning in college debt. That’s more like house arrested development and it’s not exactly a choice. I’m talking about white men who, despite being the single most privileged group in the world, bitterly complain about how oppressed and persecuted they are in America.
You know who they are: The right winger that goes on TV and says with a straight face that racism is dead in America and why do blacks get such special treatment all the time? The nasty little Men’s Rights Activist that complains that women won’t have sex with him and thinks it’s awesome an InCel went on a murder spree. The neo-Nazis and Klansman marching in the streets screaming their hatred of Jews. The progressives who bitch and moan about women voting for their own issues instead of for what white men say is more important. The liberals who say they are allies but refuse to acknowledge that white privilege is even real much less that they benefit from it.
This is not a problem confined to one side of the political spectrum, although to be fair, far more of the bullshit comes from the right than the left. Still, white men all across America in every walk of life stride across the land oblivious to the damage they do to everyone around them in their fog of perpetual victimhood combined with the delusion that they, at all times, know what’s best for everyone else. They commit most of the mass shootings, most of the domestic terrorism, most of the racial violence, most of the white collar crime, most of online harassment, and the list goes on. And we, as a society, enable this crap every single day by refusing to stop treating white men like delicate snowflakes.
Yet, somehow, even as we baby white men, we treat blacks as adults long before their time:
…research published last year by the American Psychological Association found “evidence that black boys are seen as older and less innocent and that they prompt a less essential conception of childhood than do their white same-age peers.” In other words, people tend to think of black boys as bigger and older than they actually are.
In one experiment, a group of 60 police officers from a large urban police force were asked to assess the age of white, black and Latino children based on photographs. The officers were randomly assigned to be told that the children in the photographs were accused of either a misdemeanor or felony charge. The officers overestimate the age of black felony-suspected children by close to five years, but they actually underestimated the age of white felony-suspected children by nearly a year.
But it’s worse than that because even as police underestimate the age and overestimate the innocence of white kids, we continue to treat grown white adults like children:
He may be 33, a billionaire many times over and unquantifiably powerful, but he is still relatively young and cloistered — he has, after all, only ever had one job, and he started in it when he was 19.
“Boy billionaire”? He’s 33 fucking years old! In what universe is he a “boy”?! The average life span of an American male is 78 years. 33 is just a few years shy of half of that. We call that “almost middle age”, not “relatively young” or “not a grown up” and definitely not a “boy”. But this infantalizing language is rife when discussing white men. The same kind of language can be found when discussing white college rapists or crooked CEOs under the age of 40 but, surprise!, you won’t find it when discussing Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin and they were both teenagers, actual children. Not so coincidentally, they were also black.
It doesn’t get any better as white men get older, either. Perpetual childhood means never having to be responsible for anything you do. White men get to have a “midlife crisis” where they go out and buy a new sports car or bang their coworker who’s 15 years their junior. They do this to make themselves feel young again. Society finds this endearing and pats them on the head for it even as it leaves their marriage in shambles and tears their family apart. They just have to be true to themselves, man…
And the damage this coddling is doing to society is much greater than on an individual scale. The white nationalist movement that grew out of the Alt-Right had its origin in the manufactured “GamerGate” controversy. GamerGate was literally young white male gamers screaming at the top of their lungs the absolute rage and hate they felt at women invading “their” space. Try to imagine black men doing the same thing and not being slapped down for their trouble and you’ll see why only white men can get away with this kind of childish behavior. Black men started a movement to peacefully protest police killing them and white America had a multiyear conniption that has yet to ebb.
The bottom line is that Peter Pan has to grow the fuck up someday and America can’t afford to have all of these irresponsible man-children flailing about trying to hold on to their status as the golden child of the family. It’s exhausting and, frankly, we’re all sick of it.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.