I'm a White (Liberal) Man - Am I Okay - and Why Should I Do More?
I'm a white, fairly liberal man. I am okay - with being who I am. I should do more for various reasons.
Before I can realistically do more, I need to deal with my own basic "survival" essence. I have various medical issues that I need to take care of. I am working on them - including my own mental health issues.
Doing more can be a lot of things - obviously! I have a life partner. Doing more outside of my relationship, while neglecting my relationship would be wrong. Doing more within my relationship is important to me. I've not always been the best partner. I am lucky to have the opportunity to have a growing, loving relationship. I want to do my best - now - and help be a good partner.
Doing more also relates beyond my wife and my immediate family. Recently, I have been told by several men that within our common men's community we need to focus our training and our personal work solely on our - individual (immediate) issues. Where I have issues on various parts of who I am, I need to focus my work upon them.
At the same time, our men's organization is focusing upon "equity and diversity". We are largely a North Suburban Chicago, upper-middle class, cis-gendered-heterosexual organization which is disproportionately older men. Recently we had a presentation where we white men listened to a lot of the life experiences expressed by a group of non-white men who are veterans (also) of our organization.
In talking with one of the presenters, as well as another man - who is "outside the norm" in being married to another man, I discovered that they both agree with our current focus upon individual personal work (only). The latter man indicated that he would like to see more diversity in the recruitment of men, but he believes that the way that we learn to work on our issues is sound.
I believe that the personal is political and vice versa. I believe that as a white man, I have a responsibility to try to help dismantle a system that says that I should respect authority where it reflects the values and interests of relatively few very wealthy people, most of whom are heterosexual white men.
I believe that I live in a world that favors me, and men like me, because we are:
3. upper-middle class
4. heterosexual - cisgendered
5. able bodied
6. being primarily mentally "sound".
I see Black and LatinX People working to dismantle racism.
I see Queer and Non-Binary - as well as Binary - women and people often identified as being "female" or women doing work to end both sexism and homo/lesbian/trans phobias.
I see working class, often BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) - working to dismantle the class-based society we live in.
I do not believe that racism can be eliminated without the active support of significant numbers of white people.
I do not believe that sexism, as well as homo/lesbian/trans phobias can be eliminated without the active support of significant numbers of cis-gendered men.
I believe that significant numbers of upper-middle class and owning class people need to seriously work to end the class based oppressiveness which severely limits the opportunities for most people who are working class.
Historically, Black and LatinX women (with lesser numbers of men) have done the major work to end racism.
Historically Black and LatinX women as well as Queer Identified/Non-Binary and Trans People as well as lesser numbers of white, cisgendered women have done most of the work to end sexism as well as homo/lesbian/trans phobias.
Similarly - things move forward (and not) among working class people.
It was no accident that white, het, cisgendered men were the absent group doing AIDS support work in the 1980's and 1990's.
It is no accident that white men are the backbone of the efforts to "make America Great Again" (sic) in its related components.
It is no accident that when Black People told white people in the middle and late 1960's that it was time for them to do their work among white people to end racism, that we disappeared, particularly those of us who are male.
Change - takes major efforts - that are sustained!
I've been active in Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation (www.owmcl.org) for several years. Recently, I've co-started Caring White Men Sharing Together (www.CaringWhiteMen.com) trying to help more men start doing our work together. SURJ - Standing Up for Racial Justice - (www.SURJ.org) does excellent anti-racism work. A Call to Men (www.acalltomen.org) is an excellent BIPOC lead group which focuses significantly educate us all on the intersectionality of racism, sexism, classism and homo/lesbian/trans phobias).
I write a lot on my two blogs:
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