April 4, 2013

Some of my best friends and family are white men – so I’m not anti white men. But it is disappointing that white men have so much extraordinary power in U.S. society.

Remember those pictures of white men – all in the U.S. Congress – deciding about women’s rights and women’s health and women’s reproductive choice? Remember those pictures of white men – from the NRA – making their recommendations about mass shootings?

Check out this absolutely marvelous op ed piece, “White men have much to discuss about mass shootings,” by Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress, Washington Post, March 29, 2013.

The authors eloquently demonstrate the dominance of white men in our society…and the mostly unquestioning response our society offers to white men. Consider these two questions: If African American men and boys were pulling the trigger in these shootings, would we listen to a group of African American men promoting more guns to control the gun violence? If mass shootings were an issue of mental health, why aren’t women and girls killing masses of school kids?

It’s hard to question what we’ve been socialized to believe. “Each of us is programmed from  childhood to believe that the top group of our hierarchies – and in the U.S. culture, that’s white men – represents everyone.” White men have dominated U.S. society – our telling of history, our elections, our economy, and pretty much every element of power – since the beginning. So it’s hard to challenge their actions, their beliefs, their leadership, and their dominance.

“This societal and cultural programming makes it easy for conservative, white-male-led groups to convince the nation that an organization led by white men, such as the NRA or the tea party movement, can represent the interests of the entire nation when, in fact, they predominately represent only their own experiences and perspectives.”

“If life were equitable, white male gun-rights advocates would face some serious questions to assess their degree of credibility and objectivity.” The authors identify a series of questions that you and I – our society, citizens, and government – should be asking about white men and boys and their mass shootings.

By the way, to paraphrase the authors: Research shows that white men engage with guns “disproportionately more than people of other ethnicities and races.” That includes making, buying, and selling guns; going to gun shows; and demonstrating for unrestricted gun control.

It’s time that we demand – yes demand! – that white men examine their role in mass shootings. And, it’s way past time that we require white men to examine their role in the war against women, and even the economic debacles of the past few years.

What are you doing? Are you ready? Are you committed? Read the article!

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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