To celebrate the start of winter we’re teaming up with Gearmunk to bring you 12 things that you can do this holiday season to support the women led and powered outdoor ecosystem. For Day 5, we’re sharing a little something from pages of one of our Sisterhood of Shred Facebook groups that addresses why it's NOT so hard to be a white man these days.
Question posed by a professional in the snowsports industry:
Not shred related but curious on other people’s thoughts. I was having a conversation tonight with 2 white cis males about my experiences working as a woman in the ski industry and being a woman in general. Trying to focus on small achievable goals like changing vernacular used commonly like “Don’t be a pussy,” do anything “like a girl,” and general insults that center around female body parts or attributes. I was met with a response that I should not let those words affect me and it’s hard to be a white male right now…
Have any of you had any luck with eloquently trying to provoke change in the thoughts about diversity inclusion? I try to be gentle but I’m really passionate about changing this world to allow the best people to be in charge, get the job, get the pay, etc. Any insight as to how to break down the barriers?
Responses, worth taking note of:
“I can't defend myself as a white male" is code for "I am losing/have lost my license to freely behave in unacceptable ways and I'm mad about it.” Time to do a little reflecting: Why do you behave in ways that cause you to have to defend yourself?! Appropriate and reasonable conduct *doesn't need defending.* The argument is a confession: “I'm part of the problem.”
The entire notion of “don’t let it affect you” is offensive. This isn’t about your feelings, this is about systemic oppression that is embedded in our language. The impact is a range of societal norms that limits people’s full participation in society.
I always appreciate the apologies from the other men around if someone is being an asshole, but it’s not enough. They need to speak up to said asshole. Be an ally. That’s one of the best things I’ve found about public action, there’s more men willing to defend your viewpoint. Maybe it’s even because they were uncomfortable by what was being said or done but were too uncomfortable to say anything! Once that door is opened it’s a lot easier.
Talking to someone who truly believes "It's a hard time for white males" is really really hard… I usually go with a round of rapid fire questions to try to draw out what evidence they actually have for feeling this way. It sounds something like this:
Me: Why do you feel that way?
Man child: I don't know, you just can't say anything anymore.
Me: What do you want to say that you can't say?
Man child: Um, I'm not sure, just anything.
Me: Well, for me to understand your position you'll have to at least provide some evidence.
Man child: People are just too sensitive.
Me: Sensitive how? What might you say that would make people too sensitive?
Man child: I don't know… (uncomfortable shuffle, changing direction) Well, white guys just get blamed for everything now.
Me: Like what? What do they get blamed for?
Man child: Just everything.
Me: Like what, give me some examples.
Man child: (Changing direction again) Well, white males have a harder time getting into Stanford.
Me: (Taking large gulp of drink) Did you know someone who didn't get into Stanford that was fully qualified?
Man child: Well no, but you know what I mean.
Me: Unfortunately I do not, but I am trying to understand. Why don't we start at the beginning. Why is it you feel that white men are under attack these days?
Man child: Never mind, you don't understand.
Me: You’re correct, I do not.
Any other tips on how to #ShredThePatriarchy? Email us at hello (at) coalitionsnow.com.