On July 3 author Roland Merullo published a Boston Globe op-ed titled “In Defense of the White Male,” and it’s every bit as cringe-worthy as it sounds. “Everywhere I turn these days I encounter the term ‘white male,’ almost always used in a pejorative way,” reads the lede (the art for the piece was a hilarious collage of white men from different eras). “These blanket condemnations are part of a very narrow and skewed reading of both history and current events. While it’s certainly true that white men have started wars, participated in torture, and committed rape, they/we have not cornered the market on evil behavior.”
His argument: White men have also done good things, like “developing medicines” and “inventing everything from the automobile to the cell phone to various methods of birth control.” Never mind that the reason so many white men have achieved so much is that they’ve excluded women and people of color from their fields. He also writes that “associating us only with evil deeds, selfishness, and violence is as misguided as making general disparaging statements about any other group: women, blacks, Muslims, homosexuals,” which trivializes the far worse prejudices these groups face.
It seems that Merullo missed the many, many times feminists have addressed this #notallmen defense by explaining that no, not all men are evil, but yes, all men have male privilege, and all men could benefit from examining that privilege—and uplifting less privileged people—rather than defending their own reputation. Like saying “all lives matter” or calling for a “heterosexual pride day” (yes, that happened), defending white men detracts from issues that actually need addressing.
Fortunately, Twitter filled Merullo in on all the points he missed.
Women and minorities each comprise less than 20% of lawmakers in congress so I think these guys are going to be okay https://t.co/0h0GdKiJR9
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) July 4, 2017
That "in defense of the white male" would be the funniest satirical piece of the year if it wasn't terrifyingly sincere.
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) July 4, 2017
Re: this "in defense of the white male" article: Just no. The writer confuses individual experience/feelings with structural arrangements.
— Darnell L. Moore (@Moore_Darnell) July 5, 2017
In defense of the white malehttps://t.co/Org2NjI2pn
— Carl Williams (@carltonwilliams) July 4, 2017
In defense of the white male as you're beamed from sea to shining sea saving the world, knowing everything, and being the most attractive.
— I Wish You Good Fortune In the Wars To Come (@ShantaFabulous) July 4, 2017
Don't think you & I read that article the same way. White men don't need defending. We need to shut up, listen, then help all who aren't us.
— JoshFessel (@JoshFessel) July 5, 2017
If there was anything good to come of this article, it was all the jokes made at its expense.
The "white men suck"/"white men rule" debate is boring, folks. We've got a lot of chest hair. That's it, really. https://t.co/8o7x7AyNby
— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) July 5, 2017
The Boston Globe just published a piece called "In Defense of the White Male." Boston. The jokes write themselves.
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) July 4, 2017