Black Lives Matter march in downtown Chilliwack on June 5, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Black Lives Matter march in downtown Chilliwack on June 5, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)

COLUMN: An open letter to my fellow straight white males

We’ve had one hell of a run these past few thousand years but maybe it’s time to share

An open letter to my fellow white, heterosexual, males:

Boys, we have had one hell of a run.

It’s been a blast for the past 12,000 years or so since the agricultural revolution when humans started to move from hunter-gatherer societies to settling down and growing crops and mastering the art of animal husbandry.

Along the way, let’s be honest, many of us straight white males (SWMs) haven’t been super nice. We ended up with a world where – in Europe and in North America at least – we took charge, took credit for the work of others, and profited on the backs of women, slaves, and indentured servants.

Decade by decade, those we took advantage of may have clawed back one tiny bit of recognition and apology after another, whether it was women, or descendants of Black slaves, or Chinese head-tax payers, or Indigenous victims of Canada’s attempted cultural genocide.

After some (not very) civil disputes in the U.S., we finally decided to free the slaves, which was pretty nice of us. Right?

We apologized to the Chinese Canadians. You’re welcome.

We also decided to let women vote and do other stuff that even incompetent white men are allowed to do.

You know: drive, sit on juries, have jobs.

As for Indigenous people? Please hold, it’s coming. (I’m told.)

• READ MORE: B.C. touts Indigenous reconciliation in protest-delayed throne speech

• READ MORE: B.C. apologizes for historic anti-Chinese laws, ‘head tax’ – 2014

The LGBTQ community? Well, we legalized sexual activity in 1969. And us SWMs listened to Frankie Goes to Hollywood in the 1980s, and watched Will and Grace in the 1990s, didn’t we? We allowed the entertainment industry to create a whole bunch of shows that included many (mostly white) homosexual (mostly male) characters.

Listen, we are not bad people. Sure we get Tasered and carded and harassed way less often than people of colour. Sure the worst of us spent decades physically bashing, emotionally torturing, and professionally oppressing members of the LGBTQ community. And some of us haven’t always treated women the way they should be treated.

But it’s not our fault, we were born this way.

White privilege? Sure, it’s pretty sweet to be born a straight white male, but many say that is not our collective fault. There has been a lot of white privilege pushback in recent days, many SWMs – others too – claim that it’s not a thing.

At the risk of being shunned by some of you, my fellow SWMs, I think it might be time we take a back seat. If not a back seat, can some of us at least ride shotgun for a bit?

No one is asking SWMs to be eliminated from the planet. They aren’t shipping boatloads of us in chains to unknown worlds, and horrific futures of permanent slavery. No one is trying to erase our culture, whatever that exactly is. But some are asking we be a little more inclusive and accepting.

While those in our SWM ranks, such as Don Cherry, accuse “you people” (i.e. immigrants of colour) of stealing from us, what is generally sought by people of colour, women, the LGBTQ community, isn’t more than we have or frankly even as much. For the past few hundred years, all “they” have been looking for is something at all.

• READ MORE: VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Recently the voices have been getting louder suggesting the scraps we threw off the side of the table weren’t enough.

Guys, let’s stop getting so defensive. “Straight pride? Male pride? White pride?” Please. That’s what the last 12,000 years has been all about.

As I said, boys, it’s been a hell of a run.

We’ve been metaphorically standing on the neck of so many people for so long that I don’t think we can cry about them scratching at our ankles, telling us they can’t breathe.

To my fellow SWMs who have been resisting, please pull the car over. Take your hands off the wheel, sit in the passenger seat and just observe, maybe listen for a bit.

It doesn’t have to be emasculating or an existential threat.

Let’s just learn to take turns.

Make no mistake, things are a lot better for the non-SWM community today than they were even 20, 100, or certainly 1,000 years ago, but clearly we still have a ways to go.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

@TheProgress
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP Emergency Response Team members on Charles Street in Chilliwack on Jan. 15, 2021 after an undisclosed threat was made by a male. The matter was resolved peacefully. (Darcy Loewen photo)
Heavy Chilliwack RCMP presence on Charles Street Friday after ‘disturbing’ phone call

Man who made threats to harm self and others eventually taken into custody unharmed

Two people were in a vehicle that rolled over on Highway No. 1 near Lickman Road. They are now out of the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vehicle rolls over on Highway 1 near Lickman Road in Chilliwack

Two people in SUV at time of collision in westbound lanes

Both eastbound lanes are completely west of exit 135 on Highway 1. (Google maps)
UPDATE: Traffic now getting through following car collision on Highway 1 in Chilliwack

Incident happened shortly just west of exit 135 for Agassiz/Harrison Hot Springs

Carin Bondar announced Nov. 26 that she will be running in the upcoming byelection to replace outgoing school trustee Dan Coulter. (Sarah Sovereign Photography)
Chilliwack school board candidate Carin Bondar calls for vote-by-mail option

As the COVID pandemic continues, Bondar fears voter turnout will be low for next month’s byelection

The route of the pink parade. The Record has blackened out the name of the teen. Facebook photo.
Pink-vehicle parade to be held Sunday in support of transgender teen assaulted in Mission

Teen and family to watch parade drive single file along waterfront at 3 p.m., Jan. 17

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read