Not Every White Man Is Mediocre

I think the Me Too movement is awesome. It’s been a flame to start so many other fires, to light so many indecencies. I love that minorities (whether due to race, ethnicity, gender) are being actively recruited, taken more seriously, recognized more than ever before. It’s important that hiring managers understand it’s no longer okay for their search for a new employee to begin and end with white men, whether previous behavior was conscious or not. And that company leaders recognize that come raise, bonus and promotion time, they need to recognize more people than just the ones who look like them, but others who perform as well (or better, as the case may be.) It’s refreshing that creative agencies no longer have to be asked by clients to ensure they have a diverse cast in their advertising; it’s just something they naturally do because they no longer fear it looks forced – instead, it is a true reflection of society. And while I believe it happened too abruptly in the NYC public middle school system for educators and administrators to justly plan for it, it’s pretty amazing that the new process is all lottery, so those kids who didn’t have the benefit of a fabulous elementary school aren’t just siphoned off into an inadequate middle school and so on, to let privileged history repeat itself. And that more than half of the spots are reserved for minority and under-privileged kids in these public schools as, duh, more than half of the population in New York City is minority and under-privileged. Of course there is so much more to be done but to witness all of this progress, despite the giant leaps we seem to currently be taking backward on so many front at the highest levels of government, is incredibly encouraging.

BUT…

I take issue when those fighting for the freedoms, rights and opportunities of those who’ve been held back use yet another group as a punching bag, even if that other group was the one doing the original beating. Why? Because it’s a gross generalization that feels inaccurately personal and wholly hypocritical.

I came across this random opinion piece in a random Canadian publication from a Canadian diplomat/entrepreneur/author guy via LinkedIn, and while I appreciated his self-deprication and share in a lot of his views, it struck a nasty cord for me. No, sir, not all white guys are mediocre. First off, I question his credibility; I don’t think he thinks of himself as as unworthy as he claims. I don’t like people I don’t trust. Secondly, he’s committing the same sin he’s accusing his villains of committing, which is lumping surface-similar individuals into a big group, and then claiming that the group sucks.

I’m a woman; I’m supposed to revel in this lashing. Perhaps I haven’t gotten paid at the same level as my male counterparts. And perhaps I haven’t gotten the same promotion opportunities as my male counterparts. And perhaps I don’t have as much confidence as my male counterparts to just jump at a role for which I know I’m under-qualified. And perhaps…. Or perhaps not. But what I do know for sure is that while I’ve known and worked with some shitty white men and some mediocre ones, I’ve also known and worked with some really exceptional ones. I’m also married to one (who works his ass off and is uber-talented at what he does), and I’m trying hard to raise one.

I know we sometimes need to deliberately swing too far in one direction to eventually land in the right place, and the author is clearly using humor to make the bite more palatable for a wide audience (which always helps), but this mud-slinging is off-putting and unfair, and I fear counter-productive. Sling your mud at Donald Trump and Boris Johnson and their ilk all you want; they are individuals who deserve it and can be used to make a much bigger point. But when it comes to mixing all the white men together in a pasty mass, can we all be a little more lady-like?

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