If the system is rigged in their favor, how can white men help bring change?

The election of Donald Trump, climate change, #metoo -- it seems that these days white men are to blame for everything. Many are sick of hearing this. In his recent column, Nils Pickert calls on them to reflect on their privileges.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
If the system is rigged in their favor, how can white men help bring change? - NewsMavens
A group of European white men. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Recently, public opinion has been preoccupied with the misdemeanors of white men. They blame them for all of it -- the election of Donald Trump (triggered by the disappointment of white men), climate change (oh, the white men and their lifestyle!), metoo (filthy white men abusing their power). While all that may be true, white men themselves are getting fed up with their role as a group scapegoat. Many feel that as individuals they’ve done nothing wrong.

In his most recent column, Nils Pickert, columnist of the Austrian feminist site dieStandard.at and editor of the German feminist portal Pinkstinks.de, claims that white men should humbly face their privileges. He believes that because we function in a society that leaves white, heterosexual men little choice but to enjoy a preferential position, they are unable to distance themselves from it.

"Even if I am not a racist, I still benefit from being white on a daily basis. I cannot give up my privilege," Pickert adds.

It is understandable why the majority of white man do not want to be reduced to their gender and race, claims Pickert. But are they really prepared to live in a world where those things don’t matter? It took centuries for white masculinity to become a synonym for the norm. Will white men want to give up this position?

"If we, white men, really want identity conflicts to be history, we should stop complaining about our position and start fighting racism," Pickert argues. "The trouble is that most of us do not want to change status quo, because being a white man is the most viable strategy in the world of identity politics.”

Details from the story:

  • Many white men are annoyed by the recent outburst of allegations and frustration directed at them as a group.
  • In his column, Nils Pickert argues that even if white men refrain from sexist and racist behavior, they are part of a patriarchal framework and therefore enjoy privileges anyway.
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