Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
Let’s take a step back in time for just a second to show a little empathy and appreciate what the white American male has gone through, and where he came from. When the United States started, white males used to own the WHOLE pie. They owned it all, everything, including all the money, land, and property. They literally owned other human beings who happened to be darker than them, from cradle to grave, so they could make even more money with less work.
As a white man in those good old days you usually didn’t have to compete against any woman or black person to secure a job or buy a piece of land. You were just given it by the other white men or could simply steal it from a native. The women and the slaves and the indentured servants did all of the housework for you too, while tending, perhaps in some frisky combination, to all of your sexual needs.
On top of it all, it felt good to know that God and Manifest Destiny were on your side too. Let’s admit it: what a great deal! Not a bad deal if you can get it. Hell, if I were a white man at the time I would probably have loved my life and wanted to keep things that way forever. And more to the point, we Americans to this day still worship at the altar of what these white men made for their progeny, for me and you: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Continental Army, the Minutemen, the Boston Tea Party, and the Revolutionary War. Those white men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and my favorite Benjamin Franklin are considered polymaths and heroes worldwide, and rightly so.
Relative to back then, the allocated proportion of the pie has gotten a whole lot smaller for the American white man, just as it has for white males in South Africa, Britain, and the rest of the world. White men in fact used to rule over most of Africa, Asia, North America, and South America from their European corporate headquarters, but nowadays Europe is in descent, Russia is a basket case, China and India are knocking on the door of superpower status, women can be CEOs, a Hispanic can sit on the Supreme Court, and a half-black can be POTUS. This is a zero sum game. White males get less pie. Minorities and women get more pie, and their share just keeps growing. This must be thoroughly emasculating, and I totally understand it. The backlash was bound to happen. It was only a matter of time. That time is now.
As a minority, it’s easy for me to believe that everything is better in America for everybody nowadays thanks to more equality. To folks like me, Barack Obama is the ultimate embodiment of the promise of what America just could be, the full realization of the dreams of the founders, Abraham Lincoln, the 600,000 Americans who died in the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all four of my grandparents in India who admired this country so much. They were gushingly proud that my mother and father lived here, fully understanding they would hardly ever get to see them from so far away.
It’s gotten gauche to deny the reality of American progress. And yet, I believe a lot of Americans feel otherwise; they resent that it’s not trendy to lament their current lot as white men losing ground to others slowly and steadily as time goes on; that Black Lives Matter marches in their neighborhood; that no politician truly cares about their perceived victimhood, while the government apparatus ominously benefits women and minorities instead of them. Robots and foreigners are stealing their jobs, while Mexicans are pouring across the border to rape their daughters. Having a half-black president was barely digestible; following that up right off with a lecturing woman would be too much insult to take. It’s just not fair. These fears are very real, and they are perfectly embodied by one white man. He promises to be their savior, that most thoroughly American of characters, the con man who each day dines on bowlfuls of gauche, Master Donald Trump.
Whether Donald Trump wins or loses the presidential election itself, his place in the history books has already been cemented, and I even almost admire how this deeply insecure pathological liar has clawed and tweeted his way onto those pages, shamelessly, tirelessly, and without an ounce of self-reflection. Trump’s foremost legacy will forever be as the face of the last gasp of American white male supremacy. And it’s too bad that history will not look upon him, or indeed those of us who lived in America through 2016 and let this happen, kindly. Think of how we today look back on the Vichy regime. We’ll be listed right next to them in history’s basket of deplorables.
It had to be ugly. And it sure is. White male supremacy won’t go down without a fight. But the joke is on the white man who votes for Donald Trump. White supremacy is verifiably in its death throes, as America continues to lead in bending the arc of history toward justice, in spite of our true colors. The young white males of today are far to the LEFT of Hillary. Trump has no plan, let alone any sort of ability, to reverse the forces of technology, globalization, or progress that are helping foreigners, women and minorities rise toward more equal footing. To be fair, nobody does. It’s simply happening.
Ironically, the process can certainly be sped up by Trump’s political participation if white men decide in large enough numbers that they want to keep playing with this shiny new orange object in November. There will be no border wall built to keep the Mexicans out. There will never be an America that’s great “again.” There would simply be an America that blunders around for four years with racial violence, gridlock, war, and trillions of dollars in obliterated equity, while the march of women and minorities would continue apace anyway, because they still have so far to go. The pendulum would be sure to swing more unforgivably than ever against the white man during this period.
The white supremacist is today, instead of working to advance himself, educate himself, and acquire the requisite skills that will make him more competitive in the new global environment full of opportunity, watching Fox News and waiting for Donald Trump’s teeny little magic wand to make everything better for him. If Trump loses in November, at least the fantasy of these simple, uninformed people will come to an end for good, and the tandem of Trump and Clinton will have done us all a favor. If Trump wins, the fairy tale reverie will simply continue until the unfulfillable hopes of the white supremacist are much more cruelly dragged along and dashed into the ground. The reckoning comes either way.
For all of America’s 240 year history, it was awesome to be a white man. And it still very much is. The solution lies in white men coming to recognize that fact. A calm ocean lifts ALL boats. The long forward march of progress for the white man on the backs of other human beings can be looked upon with affection by its descendants, and it’s worth remembering, including all the good it’s done for us as Americans. But today these sentiments belong not in reality but in a museum, right next to where the dinosaur fossils are.
Wonderful! Keep writing!
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Many thanks for reading and encouragement.
Mahanth, I love you for sure, however, this time IMO you have gone too far in misleading your readers. As a white male father of one of your white male friends, I strongly disagree with your apparent assumption that all (or even most) white males support Donald Trump, or even find him in the least bit acceptable. Certainly not the educated ones. And, I certainly challenge your thoughts that white males in general founded their fortunes by taking advantage of blacks and women.
One must keep in mind that when this country was settled the native tribes were in constant warfare with each other. And, there were no blacks here. There were no Asians here. Nor anyone from India.
The native Americans had made little progress in advancing their cultures through organization. Now, I do not mean this to be derogatory in any sense of the word. Simply put, they were not at that time as advanced in as many ways as were those from China, Japan, India or Europe.
The people from Europe arrived here first (as opposed to the Asians).
So, of course the people from Europe prospered here.
Slavery has been in existence for eons around the world by every race and pretty much every country. The native Americans had slaves. The Chinese had slaves. There were slaves in India throughout the ages. Further, human trafficking continues today in parts of the world. Clearly, most white men in America owned no slaves back then, nor prospered because of slavery. So, why pick out white men in America as presumably the all-time worst guys in the world and tie them to Trump? C’mon, is Donald Trump viewed as such a threat that all white male Americans must be made to appear as nasty and short-sighted as he is. I sense an undue, excessive amount of underlying anger in your piece.
As for women, I submit white males in America took no more advantage of women than men of any race or country in the world. Please, if you can, show me where I am wrong.
To be certain we now have advanced in our country where non-white men, and women of every race can succeed, and are succeeding, in business, politics, and every profession.
We are made up in this country of peoples who have arrived here from all over the world. They have settled here, are accepted in our society and are making their way.
To those of us who are educated “white males” we embrace fully the competition of all persons regardless of race, heritage or gender. We all become stronger as a result.
Politically speaking however, this does not mean that we must support or vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she is a woman or has held certain offices. After all, she is trusted by a mere 31% of our populace. And, this for good reasons!
Gary E. Smith
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You know I love you too. And respect your opinions very much.
I would like to thank you for a thoughtful and intelligent response to this essay. A bunch of people have already taken to trashing my Indian background in responses online, which is unfortunate and not even relevant to this particular discussion- though I enjoy getting those responses exactly because they prove my point about today’s America (though the poster “GhostTown” shoots down the deplorables as ably as I could have). One can see those here:
I would like to add a few things to address your points:
1) I don’t believe that all white men who vote for Trump are necessarily racist. I also know that many white males are not going to vote for Trump. I do, however believe that the only way that he wins is by relying on, and egging on, the subset of white males who are supremacists in this country, thought I don’t think they really have it that bad, and this essay is about these people. And it appears that he will indeed win white males by a large margin. Without them, he has no chance. And they are are supporting him through whatever nasty thing he says or does.
2) I’m not advocating that anyone vote for Hillary in this piece. However, I don’t think that she presents the threat to our democracy that Trump does.
3) You are right in that slavery and misogyny and other behaviors are not unique to the United States. However, I have been unsparing in my assessment of the political situation today because American could unleashing a very dangerous force not only on ourselves, but the rest of the world. And this movement is unquestionably being led by white males.
4) I think that you and I share an optimistic view of America, its past, and its future. I only pointed out the dark stains of our past, which includes a subset of people and not all people, because I believe we are witnessing something very desirable: the last gasp of this type of behavior, which Trump in my mind undeniably embodies. That’s a good thing.
Speaking of good things, let’s keep the dialogue going even when we disagree.
Thanks for your Reply, Mahanth. Actually it appears to me that we may be on a similar page, although not exactly. Why? For the reason that I can never have quite the same view as you.
However, I do believe that each of us (regardless of race or background) could do more to emphasize the positive aspects of our society and cultures in the U.S.
The Caucasians were the first to arrive and commence supplanting the native Americans. And, we continued to increase our population for quite some time before peoples from other cultures and races immigrated to our country in any numbers.
We are the most people diverse country or place in the world. I am proud of that as it represents a powerful force for change – change for the betterment of not only our country but of the world. Are there growing pains associated with this? Of course! Is it easy to meld everyone together? No. The great majority of people tend to be biased toward, and more comfortable with, people from their own “tribe.”
Over time, substantial time, white Catholics and white protestants have come to accept each other – and even intermarry. Italians and Irish, although at first not accepted, are now accepted fully. The same can be said of Jews and Christians. (It could be noted that those who initially settled here were of the Christian faith, and the religious freedom promised pertained to freedom for all of the many sects of Christianity). This has been expanded over the years to include non-Christian religions. (We can also note that currently we have many women, African Americans, and Asians holding major political offices throughout our country).
We have come a long way. And, we have a long way to go. We are working on it.
Now, what do I mean when I stated above that you and I can never have quite the same view.
Well, since “whites” are still a majority of the peoples in our country, and I am a “white”, and since you are of Indian descent and therefore in a minority, our experiences and outlooks are different. I am comfortable here in this country. I have no idea if I would be as comfortable living in China, India, Japan, or, for that matter in any of the European countries. Would I have the same opportunities as here, I do not think so. Could I live a happy, healthy, interesting life?
I believe I could.
In any event, your main point seems to be not about “white men” (flailing about in an effort to retain power over the economics and politics of the U.S.) but about the potential danger that may ensue the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency. With that point, we find ourselves in complete agreement!
“darker than they” – “not darker than them” (The full being, “… darker than they were…”
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As a lifelong Republican, it is with some regret that I find myself in a position where I strongly believe I must vote the entire Democratic ticket this year. The Republicans have not only nominated a buffoon to run for President, but also the Republicans in Congress have overridden Obama’s veto of legislation they passed which will allow suits against Saudi Arabia for 9/11 damages. To make matters worse, the Republicans in Congress are now attempting to blame President Obama for their stupidity in passing the legislation in the first place and then for their overriding his veto. Double stupidity!! I can no longer hope for a turnaround in the Republicans. (I had thought I would vote for Johnson/Weld, however after experiencing Johnson’s performance the last week or so — his apparent lack of knowledge and consciousness, I cannot support him either). Go Hillary!
Gary, I am sure there are others like you.
I have faith in this country’s people, and that the electorate will do the right thing when the stakes are so high. I have found it hard to support Hillary as well, but I have come around. She is now all that stands between us and a mad-hat despot.
Reblogged this on United States – India Monitor and commented:
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