I was just reading an article in The Atlantic by Anne Applebaum. Titled “A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come,” the article spoke of the treatment of Jews in the late 1930s:
In a famous journal he kept from 1935 to 1944, the Romanian writer Mihail Sebastian chronicled an even more extreme shift in his own country. Like me, Sebastian was Jewish; like me, most of his friends were on the political right. In his journal, he described how, one by one, they were drawn to fascist ideology, like a flock of moths to an inescapable flame. . . . People he had known for years insulted him to his face and then acted as if nothing had happened. “Is friendship possible,” he wondered in 1937, “with people who have in common a whole series of alien ideas and feelings—so alien that I have only to walk in the door and they suddenly fall silent in shame and embarrassment?”
These words caught my attention because this is what I have experienced and observed in the U.S. over the past decade, and the pace seems to be quickening. Within the past year, three different women — middle-aged or older straight white women who have been my friends for many years — have suddenly begun treating me like garbage, not for anything I have said or done, but simply because I am a white male. I’m not guessing about that; each of them made clear that this was precisely the reason for this treatment.
I am not the only one astounded by the swiftness and severity of this change. Feminists keep speaking as if we were still living in a fantasy version of the 1950s, with every man a brute, every woman barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. But, meanwhile, the male experience, and especially the straight white male experience, has changed rapidly, particularly for those of us who work in universities or are otherwise exposed to progressives on a daily basis. It has been especially traumatic for us because, unlike the conservative men who have been scoffing at “feminazis” since the heyday of Rush Limbaugh, we have tended to believe — sometimes to absurd extremes — that our support for the rights of women and minorities made clear that we get it, we’re part of the team, we are working for equality too.
Against that belief, among many male experiences discussed in this blog and elsewhere, we have my experience of being thrown out of my PhD program in the School of Social Work at the request of a rather unhinged white woman (undergraduate major: gender studies); and we have these words from a TownHall article by Mike Adams at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington:
Dear Chancellor Miller:
On May 9, you announced that you were initiating a process to “rethink” our university’s approach to diversity and inclusion. Then, on August 16, you announced that eleven individuals agreed to serve on your Chancellor’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. For the following reasons, I find the composition of the committee to be deeply problematic.
1. Your inclusion committee is 0% white male. I have written three books dealing with campus diversity issues. . . . I am certainly among the most qualified people you could have invited to serve on your diversity committee. But you did not reach out to me. . . .
2. Your inclusion committee is 82% female. Over a decade ago, our school launched, at taxpayer expense, a new Women’s Resource Center. It was strange, given that the student body was then 68% female. Put simply, we need to stop pretending that women are a minority here at UNC-Wilmington. . . .
4. . . . Bill Ayers was an education professor who used to make pipe bombs for the purpose of blowing up his political enemies. . . . Just a few years ago, one of our education professors signed a petition in support of Ayers, the unrepentant domestic terrorist. You have now placed that professor on the inclusion committee. . . .
5. There are no white students on your committee. . . .
Your letter concludes with your assertion that “It is extremely important that this be a fully transparent and inclusive process.” Does this mean you will let me attend the first meeting of your new Chancellor’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion? Additionally, will you let me ask tough questions and publish the committee’s answers in my weekly column?
If you won’t answer my last two questions in the affirmative, then I ask that you at least be honest about what you’re really up to, here. In that case, you could just hang a sign outside your meetings saying “Inclusion in Progress: No White Males Allowed.”
I’m not much like Mike Adams. For one thing, I didn’t have $600,000 to invest in legal fees (which Adams recovered, when he won his lawsuit), and was therefore unable to fight the deep-pocketed, taxpayer-backed university in court. For another thing, I’m definitely not a conservative Christian. But I understand, now, that such considerations are irrelevant from the tribal (i.e., progressive) perspective: I am a cisgender white male, and — like being a Jew in prewar Europe — that’s the only thing that matters.
We’re all familiar, by now, with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s observation (i.e., “Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew . . . Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me”). Enlightened by that observation, at this point I expect the oppressed minorities who want me to speak for them, to do their part and speak for me. That means the Jews; it means the blacks; it means the conservative white women. All of us, speaking out against the elite white feminists who were generally comfortable with numerous abuses — such as America’s grossly excessive imprisonment of men, especially minorities — until women started getting thrown in prison too. Then, suddenly, they decided that mass imprisonment might not be such a wise policy.
My expectation is reasonable. Standing up for straight white males makes sense from a minority perspective. Many Jews are white males. The life of the poor white male in America is usually but not always easier than that of the poor black male — but both share many experiences of oppression by the justice system and the market economy. And if non-progressive white women don’t care enough to defend white men, they won’t just have more problems with their husbands and sons; they’ll also find themselves even more under the thumb of a more viciously empowered feminist elite.
To me, the situation has been pretty clear. If you believe in equality, then you have to defend it. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in equality, then that’s something I had better learn and respond to. If the big priority for the Jews, the people of color, and the white women is to sneer at the hicks and honkies and consider them worthless, then people like me need to get over the idea of equality, and rediscover our own forms of bigotry. That’s obviously not what I’d prefer. But within present conditions, we can no longer be surprised that others have already reached such conclusions. I’ll repeat: if you really believe in equality, it’s time to act like it.