The post-election hype about the 72% white “minority” (here’s a well-informed response to that mathematical conundrum by University of Michigan professor Juan Cole: http://www.juancole.com/2012/11/why-bill-oreilly-is-wrong-about-minorities-wanting-things-the-election.html) is even more pointedly for some, panic about the waning but continued dominance of an even more specific demographic: white heterosexual culturally Christian men.
Well, calm down, people.
In “Why the ‘End’ of White Men Is Actually Good for White Men,” Hugo Schwyzer explains why sharing power and leadership is good, not just for actual minority groups, but for those who historically and still currently constitute the majority of societal power holders. I especially appreciate his fourth argument that when white men as a group don’t just get to run things because they’re white men, “[they] can–-maybe–-trust [their] successes are due to [their] merit” (http://jezebel.com/5960099/why-the-end-of-white-men-is-actually-good-for-white-men?tag=genderal-interest).
One of the most pernicious tropes in the affirmative action debate is that minority and gender-based preferences in admissions or hiring make it impossible for non-whites and women to be sure of their own abilities. For two generations, angry white men have complained that they aren’t given any special benefits by the state. This lament, of course, ignores what’s obvious to everyone who isn’t wearing blinders. (Privilege conceals itself best from those who possess it.) The benefits of whiteness and maleness are so numerous (Peggy McIntosh’s famous 50 point list* hardly covers them all) that most white men just can’t see them. Though middle-aged white men like me may never know just how much of our success is due to unmerited advantage, the eclipsing of our power means that our sons and grandsons have at least a better chance of growing up in a world where their triumphs will be due solely to their merits, not their skin or their sex.
Schwyzer logically points out that unearned success is not some unique and exclusive minority benefit. Quite the contrary, the old-boy network, nepotism and flat-out discrimination have always ensured that at least some white heterosexual culturally Christian men have gotten theirs without earning it. And what a relief to them to know that someday they’ll be free of people thinking, “He only made it because he’s white.”
*Here’s the list: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html