7 "Helpful" Tips From A White Guy

7 "Helpful" Tips From A White Guy

Navigating the world we live in is tough. Here are some things I have learned.
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There has been a lot of talk recently about how us white folks should address sensitive issues around racism, free speech, and triggers. Up front, I am a white guy whose main faults are introversion and pending unemployment, so if you're expecting truly important or revolutionary writing, I'd advise searching elsewhere. This article represents nothing more than my way of working through highly sensitive issues, but here are some tips I've come up with in the past 22 years:

1. Trust Your Peers

A lot of the criticism I've heard about trigger warnings or being conscious of language has come from those who assume that what another person feels and experiences is somehow made up or disingenuous. I'm not sure if that assumption exists as a product of our cynical world or just hegemony, but it makes me sad to see that people jump to such an unreasonable conclusion. People have no reason to lie, so why would they?

2. Don't Assume Someone Else's Hurt Is About You

The perverse sibling of White Guilt is a tendency I'll call "White Paranoia." Here's an example I recently passed by: Person A says that they feel unsafe around white people recently. Person B, who identifies as a caucasian male, gets defensive because he likes to think of himself as a pretty reasonable dude. The argument gets heated, but why? Person B was never directly insulted, but he did feel implicated in the statement because of his own identity, and reacted acerbically. What he failed to recognize was that statement was not about him; it was about his friend, who felt hurt and unsafe. Dwelling on personal offense in that situation is like complaining about a sprained ankle in a car crash.

3. Don't Not Assume Someone Else's Hurt Is About You

To directly contradict my last point, sometimes Person B would have to realize that yes, they personally are actively participating in and benefiting from a system that is causing the hurt. While focusing on Person A first is important, swinging around after the fact to challenge what about Person B can change in themselves is just as key.

4. Civility Is Nice, But It Sure Doesn't Change Much

I am still 100 percent convinced that if we as Americans continue on our current trajectory, there will be an internal revolution in the next 25 years. Personally, I believe America needs to be challenged into relatively nonviolent change before that happens. Simply put, acting nicely and going through proper channels is conforming to an oppressive system, and a diplomatic protest could be considered an oxymoron. Disrupting the status quo and making things that seem a molehill to some into a mountain to rally around is absolutely necessary for society to advance; we never change unless we're uncomfortable. Take for instance the classic debate: #BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter. Some argue that the latter could appeal to more people, but that's missing the entire point. Movements are meant to change the world, not please the masses.

5. Empathy Is Essential, But Understand That It Only Goes So Far

The great secret (that is no secret, really) is that I will never experience what it is like to be Black in America, and to think I do would just be arrogant. While I do try constantly to empathize with my peers and understand what I can do to reduce my own transgressions, at a certain point, no one can exit their own identity completely. I am no different.

6. Don't Apologize

OK, yes, if you personally have acted like an a**hole, be a human and apologize to the person or people you have offended. But to focus all your energy on constant show-stealing apology instead of either actively helping or just stepping back when your effort is not needed or desired is selfish. Again, another person's struggle is not about you feeling better about yourself.

7. We Are All Human

Everyone on all sides makes mistakes constantly; to assume you are any different is a strange flavor of naïveté. I consider myself a fairly progressive person, but that doesn't mean I don't constantly make offensive mistakes (in fact, I'm still somewhat convinced that this article is one of them). Recognizing that you are a flawed and evolving thinker and that you will never not be is the first step toward improving what you can.

Cover Image Credit: i.huffpost.com

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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