Part I - White Man - I'm Impatient!


Fellow white man, I’m impatient!   We are not on the same path!   I do not want to be your “buddy”.   I am open to, and welcoming of “allyship”, however I’m very skeptical.

Over five years ago we started working together.   I certainly was a “mixed bag” then.   One thing I had, though, was a drive towards serious systemic change.   Building that change required that I deepen my personal work.  I also needed to go well beyond the personal work (alone).

Helping build the change necessitates:

1.    1. Confronting other white men and welcoming their confronting of me,

2.    2. Being deeply uncomfortable frequently,

3.    3. Feeling like and often being an “outsider” in various spaces,

4.   4.  Listening deeply and being seriously curious,

5.    5. Making mistakes and trying to minimize the harm that we and I create,

6.    6. Welcoming the journey – the process – not being “end goal” attached,

7.   7.  Working with others – not being an individual pushing forward alone,

8.    8. Being Accountable – internally within myself and among us fellow white men, as well as to others.

I see a lot of fellow white men who are:

1.    1. Quite aware of “the issues”,

2.    2. Well intentioned,

3.    3. Doing “the work” and

4.    4. Ineffective and at times even consistently harming and/or greatly limiting others.

Example:  Several years ago a group of white men began meeting regularly seeking to work with and support working class white men.   They certainly had a lot going for them!   I’ve found where they seem to be at deeply disturbing.

It was probably a good idea that they were a closed group.   It was good that they built internal trust and took the time to have clear objectives.   Where did they go wrong?

I can’t be entirely sure that they’ve seriously messed up.  There are significant warning signs though!   During the time that they built their project together, they weren’t accountable to others within the larger group.    Whatever transparency they had is visible, if at all, to only “insiders” in the organization.  

There were no regular, detailed reports, put forth so that I, and others, might know what they were doing.   There was no way that I, and others, could give feedback, as they moved ahead.

Now they are doing things.   They may well be doing excellent things.

We, the outsiders, were welcomed to a meeting to learn about their work and to connect with them.

That meeting disappointed me, as well as allies of mine!    We listened to three or four of these men tell their personal stories.   There then was a little time for questions and feedback.   We were again told to wait – wait – wait.   The questions were only superficially addressed and there was no time for us to connect.

The process could have been substantively different!   The lack of outside input all along, unfortunately, lead to tunnel vision that greatly limited the meeting.

I could have been in a breakout group where one of these men could have told his story.   We could have interacted with him (alone).  We could have had the time to deeply really hear and experience  him.  We could have connected with each other.  There then could have been time in the larger group for more than superficial answers to questions.   We could have been welcomed into the work now, not told to wait.

This story is a metaphor for we white men and how we “dysfunctionalize” our efforts.   We are buddies, huddling together.   We lack the support of each other, because we shut each other out until it is too late to connect.   We are over-burdened.   Our work moves slowly, creeping forward, if moving forward at all.

White men aren’t waiting for us!   Some of them are doing the work elsewhere, apart from us fellow white men.   Some of them reached out, but when finding the path blocked, aren’t seeking to do the work (any longer).   The most “effective” of these men have indeed found their place!   They were and are welcome blaming: women, immigrants, liberals, Black and Brown People!   We have failed to reach them (in time).

I’m impatient!

MERJ, Men for Equity and Reproductive Justice ( began in the Fall of 2021.   We had four deeply committed white men.   As I write today, we still have exactly (the same) four committed white men.

MERJ’s failures is tied to the issues that isolate us.  STAND in the Bay Area has similar issues.   The largest group seemingly working nationally on these issues may be really changing in positive directions.    If they are, their lack of transparency, makes their work invisible except to their “private club”.

Our toxicity as white men keeps us on the sidelines much of the time!   When we do the work it tends to be either limited, flawed, or invisible to (most) fellow white men.

One might think that we would learn from the women!   We might think that Queer, Working Class Black Women and Non-Binary Folks would inspire our work.   We might think that we would be financially and otherwise supporting these women in meaningful ways.   We might think that our curiosity would lead us to numerous challenging, important others and their work.   We might think that we are actually building a real deep, important movement.

I have amnesia!   I have forgotten who we are!   We remain who we are!   We are stuck in Patriarchy!   We aren’t deeply committed for multiple reasons.   We don’t “need” to either be doing to work, or to sustain our efforts.

I’m impatient!

(NOTE:   This will be a two Part Writing – to be followed by:

“White Man – Let’s Work Together” – which will follow once it is written.)



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