I read the Houston Chronicle every Sunday while I eat breakfast. I’m sad that it’s gotten so small, and some weeks, it feels more like a flyer than a full paper what with all the ads in it.
This week, I had even more reason to be disappointed. Despite all the important news going on in the world, there were two feature pieces that told me they are completely at of touch:
“White men get help in addressing diversity”
“Working-class whites are having a moment”
Yup. Two big ass articles about white men. (To be fair, the second piece isn’t *just* about men, and it was written by a woman, but still...)
In the first piece, a middle-aged white guy, Bill Proudman – not a joke name – is interviewed about his business, “White Men as Full Diversity Partners.” I think my favorite line in the whole article is when the author summarizes a point from Proudman, saying that minorities often quite their jobs because “they feel mistreated because of their ethnicity or gender.”
Those bastards! How dare they feel like they’re being discriminated against! It’s not like they are, wait, never mind. They are. Duh.
But there’s more!
According to the piece, “the workers who quit, though, also hurt themselves and their communities when they miss out on promotions and pay raises.”
The problem they don’t seem to see is that they quit because of a *lack* of promotions and pay raises. They are trying to better themselves, but the discrimination stops it from happening. And then white guys say things like that, causing the “others” to suddenly be at fault for their responses.
I understand that Proudman is trying to help, but maybe if he had a diverse staff, that might show that he’s not just profiting from talking the talk.
The second piece has an awesome first paragraph:
“White trash, trailer trash, rednecks, hillbillies, squatters, crackers, goobers, and bubbas – all the names for these people are insulting. Their avatars in the culture, from Honey Boo-Boo to Bob and Mayella Ewll in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ are the opposite of inspiring.”
Woah. Really? Are you telling me that white people are…gasp!...sometimes painted in a negative light?!
In a later part of the article, there’s a comment from UT Professor John Hartigan, Jr.
‘That the white trash are simultaneously treated almost as badly as black people and still seen as the source of racial prejudice is just one of the paradoxes fueling white-trash hatred.’
Now, he’s talking about a book here, but still.
Think about this.
Poor white people being treated ALMOST AS BADLY as black people causes racial prejudice.
Let me get this right: unless the poor whites are treated better than black people, they’re going to be mad about it?
Because, somehow, they deserve to be treated better than black people?
Shouldn’t this be more about the fact that, while poor white people are treated badly, they still aren’t being treated as badly as an entire race?
My head hurt just reading this.
Now, I get it – don’t shoot the messenger. Just because he brought up the feeling behind it doesn’t mean he supports it or agrees with it. (No hate mail to him, please.)
But the fact that it IS the truth is more the problem.
How do you convince people that they don’t have to look down on anyone else? That they can just focus on themselves? That no one is deserving of scorn?
I have no idea. But I think we need to figure it out if we’re going to fix it.