Where to begin…..I’ll begin optimistically by saying I hope we are seeing the last gasp of the White Male Patriarchy and the beginnings of a generational change. Then I shall digress….
I am a White Male of a Certain Age. I grew up in a very Conservative, Republican family. I went to Washington and Lee University when it was an all-male school. I was a frat boy. I was raised on the myth of the Old South. I worked for several Republican Campaigns in the late 1980’s.
Then I began to think and watch. Watching comes naturally to me. I sit back, watch, think and analyze. I’m an introvert and my College friends jokingly call me “Nick” as in Nick Caraway in “The Great Gatsby.” I observe my class and ultimately judge them.
I’ve watched people like Brett Kavanaugh all my life. I went to college with guys from elite DC/Maryland private schools. As a public school boy, I’m glad I’m not one of them. I know some great guys from those schools, but most of them are “outsiders” who survived, not “insiders” who flourished. Frankly, while those schools may have turned out some fine scholars and gentlemen, they also turned out an awful lot of entitled assholes.
Once in a “Diversity Training” class when I was in the Corporate world, I was asked what group of people I feared most. Without hesitation, I said “White Males. Especially Southern White Males.” When asked why, I said: “Because I know them.”
I used to be one of them. I think I have a very different perspective because I have been both been an “insider” and an “outsider.” When I told my family I was Gay, the main reaction I got was not religious, but social. And it came mostly from the women in my family.
They could not understand why I would give up a position of intrinsic power. They advised me to stay in the closet. To keep my power. The women knew how much power a straight, white man had and they feared for me if I gave that up. They were, to an extent, correct. Only by stepping outside the power culture could I understand the power that White Men have by default.
I think one of the greatest influence on me was Molly Ivins. When she said “Once you realize they are lying to you about race, you realize they are lying to you about everything”. I knew she was right.
I’m a liberal Democrat now. By evolution. I’m not a Democrat by birth or background. And, I might add, the Republican Party of today is not the one I grew up with.
I still struggle with some of my friends who knew me before I came out. Some are wonderful people. They don’t understand the power they have by default because it has never been challenged. White Privilege is something they just don’t understand because they have always had it. They see their journeys through a different lens. They don’t know that, whatever they may go through, they are already ahead of so many other people.
The Trump administration has been a challenge for me. It is depressing to me on a daily basis. I don’t understand how the people I knew “before” can support someone who is so incompetent and morally bankrupt. Someone who is so hostile. All I can think is that they subconsciously want to hold on to their privilege without knowing they are doing so. I hate to think they may be supporting all this because of money and racism.
But some have made it clear they are racists. That has been hard to swallow. People I grew up with and love have become people I no longer recognize….
And that brings me to todays “hearings”.
Dr. Blasey Ford was questioned by a woman because a bunch of old white men were scared of her. She was in their way. They were worried about the “optics”. How it would be perceived. They wanted to go through the motions of listening to her, but to try to minimize the damage to themselves.
Once it was clear the “woman prosecutor” wasn’t serving her purpose, the old white men took control again. They gave Brett Kavanaugh a “Safe Space” for his interview. And his behavior was not that which I would want from a Supreme Court Justice. His blatant partisanship, anger and belligerence were not the behaviors of a deliberative, fair decision maker.
I know these men. I grew up with them, went to school with them and I fear them.
They will erupt in anger when their privilege is challenged.
And they will do anything to hold on to their power and their privilege.
I hope to god, this is the last gasp of this white male patriarchy.
One of my first Political Science courses at Washington and Lee in the fall of 1977 began with a young professor telling a room full of young, privileged, white men that they were anachronisms.
Now, 41 years later, this Old White Prep hopes he is finally right.