The Vulnerability of Being a Young White Man in 2018 America

Last week (October 8 – 12, 2018), thanks to the Kavanaugh confirmation, the American brand (so-called) White man took a beating. The emotions surrounding the confirmation, with its intense counter-protesting, landed, so to speak. They landed hard. Those of us not a part of the 62-63 million who voted for Donald J. Trump to be President of these United States, processed the fact that no amount of nonviolent protest stops the hegemony of white supremacy.

 

The emotions landed so hard, Eric Holder uttered a gaffe, which will fuel the Red Wave requested by Trump in a recent rally. The hegemony is rocking; questioning for the first time in a long time whether or not confidence in the status quo remains.

 

Kanye West’s visit to the White House did not help matters. Saturday Night Live did a brilliant take-down of how the staged-for-the-media event landed among the American people. The effort to console the status quo’s ego and provide reassurance that everything remains in its place did not succeed.

 

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DC Superman on Alternative Earth 2

 

On my Facebook page, in direct response to the Kanye meeting, I posted a picture of Val-Zod, one of two Black Superman on alternative universes inside DC comics. Val-Zod lives on Earth 2. A discussion ensued. Unlike a lot of Facebook pages, I cultivate an audience respectful enough to engage in vulnerable dialogue. One young man eloquently captured, what I imagine, others are feeling in this moment. I asked him if we could share his thoughts.

 

I will disclose that I desperately want to understand what is going on inside the psyche of White America. I find it fascinating. May these words spark a dialogue how to find the words to describe the paradigm shift in White American consciousness happening in this here and now.

 

A Young White American Male’s Statement

 

My name is Michael Orr. I’m a 25 year old white man.  Both my parents are Caucasian. I have benefited countless times in my life from the systematic misogyny and racism that holds our government together. I have seen my peers be persecuted and looked down on for nothing more than their gender or skin color and known that it was wrong but have no idea what to do about it. Was the solution to go live in the woods, eat grubs and refuse to participate at all in a system that was egregiously tipped in the favor of people who belonged to my demographic? Maybe. That’s not what I chose but maybe that’s what I should have. Perhaps it would have opened up a spot somewhere else for a more qualified man or woman of color to take.


I think we know however that there would have just been another white man to fill it.
So instead, I have been struggling most of my young life to break free of the chains that our culture places on the minds of its youth. To see people 100% as what they are, as how they choose to represent themselves and not how society tells me to see them.

It has been a massive struggle. I am not enlightened. I am always growing and finding out ways that I have been wrong in the past.

I came up in South Florida, most of my time was lived in Miami. My childhood was blessed financially, I was never hungry or without clothes. I always had a roof over my head. There were some fairly traumatic aspects, the kinds of things a child experiences with two parents that are addicts and mentally unstable.

I grew up angry, depressed, with low self esteem and a constant sense of being an outsider. My parents were never together in the traditional sense so I got passed around a fair amount. Every neighborhood I lived in with my mother was highly diverse. She has an ultra strong assimilation instinct born from a childhood fraught with traumas of her own, and so my time with her was spent essentially learning how to be anything except for white.

My father has lived in St. Lucie County since before I was born and likely will until the day he dies. For all of his faults, he never once raised me to see people of color as less than. His general discontent and hatred for people is equal opportunity, although I have come to realize it is largely directed at himself. I didn’t grow up aware of race really. My little brothers from my mother are half Cuban and half Haitian. I was just one shade in the palette.


I did poorly in school, not because of a lack of intelligence but a lack of interest. I was so disaffected from life at an early age that I couldn’t see the point in anything, much less school. I started doing drugs at 12 and didn’t stop for a long time. People in active addiction became my tribe, my family, my race. It didn’t matter what color your skin was, who you slept with, what you thought or felt about the world so long as you didn’t get in the way of me using. And so I disconnected further from reality. I knew the world was still turning, that there were injustices to be fought, and that I had a calling to stand up and fight. I just didn’t care enough to do anything about it.


I’m clean, now. I see the same problems that have always been there and I am suiting up for the work that needs to be done in myself and in the world around me. I have seen the effects of white privilege in my own life and the way it affects other people who aren’t born into the beneficiary class. I’m ready to see it stop and to do my part.


Do you know what I see when I look at this meme though?


I see the same fatalism mirrored in that man on the ledge that I have felt my entire life. Knowing that he is a cog in a system that was built on slavery, genocide, cronyism, and deception. And not knowing anything else to do but end his own participation in a final, irrevocable action.


I also see a colored man reaching out, in the most heroic gesture any human being can make to another, bridging the gap that currently exists between two imaginary races and saying, “don’t do it. You still have value. You can still do something to change this.”
I have said this before and I will say it until the day I die.


Any ideology that is binary enough to group people by the imaginary construct of race is a poison. On either side. If we as individuals are not taking the time and effort, the courage and compassion, to see other human beings as singular people who are capable of transcending the limits of their backgrounds and skin color, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are missing an opportunity to add one more soldier to our ranks.


There is a war coming, Terry. It will shake this entire world to it’s core and it will be fought right here on American soil. It is going to be a battle between the Haves, and everyone else. I am not a Have. You are not a Have. That alone is enough similarity to band us together. We are on the same side, and the greatest trick of our government’s psi-op program has been convincing people that they aren’t. If you are not a multimillionaire or higher, a person who knowingly benefits from marginalizing others based on superficial attributes like skin color or gender, if you are not a Have-Not who chooses to fight others in the name of your slavemaster, you are a member of our army. Whether you know it yet or don’t. And for those who see the clear, frightening reality of our world it is our duty to recruit. To organize. To spread awareness and help our fellow soldiers prepare for the coming conflict. To raise our own consciousness and awareness so that others will know that we are what we claim to be.


You are my brother because we are both HUMAN BEINGS and we know it. Or at least I know you are. I see you for all of your glory and I hope that you see it too. For our united potential is so much more than what “they” could ever amass.

 

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American White Male, Michael Orr, age 25 (2018)

 

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