Plight Of The Wealthy White Man
Let’s Face It
If you’re not a white man — you’re not a white man! People want to lament white man woes without acknowledging that they are not a white man and will not be given even half of the attention and sympathy that a white man can be drenched in from the public; however unworthy they are of pity.
Even the “liberal” will show there is a barrier or line they do not cross because they can’t see the other side, where Black people and people of color reside. That’s why many of us repeatedly state that being anti-Trump is not the same as being antiracist because there are levels to racism in this country, from slurs to discrimination in the workplace to laws that seek to strip rights away from marginalized communities.
White people have repeatedly let us down over generations, because their “assistance” and allyship is toward some nefarious “white enemy of equality” that exists outside of them. They don’t bring that energy to the enemy in their mirror every morning. So when the time comes that, through actions or words, they are brought face to face with their enemy selves, they retreat back into their privileged shield and refuse to acknowledge their failings.
Equality and equity sounds great until it’s them or one of theirs that are in the crosshairs of justice, then we need to be kinder, be civil and give the benefit of the doubt because the problems are those white people over there so we must unite! Black people and people of color are used to further their white agendas for an “almost equal” or “as equal as they can tolerate” utopia and then forgotten till the next time our numbers are needed. We can’t count on them no matter how “woke” they portray themselves to be because they will continue to misuse words, people and call outs, to play victim.
The “woe is them” sympathy for white men currently being handed out because they, from books to awards shows, are being held accountable and people are hosting pity parties. Accountability, for those who have gone so long without it, will always feel like an “attack”, “persecution” or the oft claimed, but rarely successful, “cancel culture”. It’s more of a “time out culture” as they wait for the news and social media to move past them so they can quietly reinsert themselves into their careers and, usually, the same power positions they used to abuse and dehumanize prior.
Yet people run to defend them to the degree that every action they do, from racist tweets to actual rape, is seen as “trivial” next to their…movie? Book?
Two recent examples of this sympathy for the endangered white male (*predator edition) is Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. When Polanski, for reasons that clearly have to do with a huge “fuck you” to every victim of rape and assault, was awarded Best Director by the Cesar Film Awards and the cast/crew from “Portrait of a Lady On Fire” walked out the conversation was devoted to the “tasteless” walkout rather than the why.
Of course, white male patriarchy exists globally despite many European countries claiming to be more “enlightened” than the United States (just see Brexit in the United Kingdom, watch Piers Morgan or read “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge to see how “woke” their white residents are). It’s a problem that exists across race and gender lines, one gluttonously feeding the other, and yet the conversation always reroutes to civility and respectability politics.
Rape is wrong — but you have to call it out in a tasteful manner…or else. The discussion on “civility” is constantly implemented to circumvent a deeper and lengthier talk revolving around how levels of accountability are handed out based on societal notions of value that are crafted based upon racial, gender, and wealth and, almost like a point system, a value number is given to the accused and the accuser.
The value attributed to Roman Polanski because of his movies is a red herring to disguise the real value he has in this society; that of being a wealthy, white man. After all, there are countless filmmakers struggling to break into the industry who don’t have a history of drugging and raping little girls. Yet, people want to argue that his art has real value? The value of Polanski’s art would not exist without the societal precursors of white, man and wealthy and an argument could even be made for societal concepts of artistry based upon those aforementioned qualities as well. It will always come back to race and gender until a full dismantling of the systems occurs because, from root to stem, the entire thing is rotten. When they say look past the artist to the art, they mean look at the societally acceptable values Roman Polanski checks off compared to his victims and give him a pass.
The next case is Woody Allen’s memoir being dropped by Hachette Book Group and the inexplicable cries of “free speech” that inundated social media because of this. One of the worst going around was from drowsy Stephen King who apparently sees this as some ridiculous form of censorship.
This, Stevie?! This makes you uneasy?! The fact that a publishing group would decide they made a mistake purchasing the memoirs of a rapist is what unsettles you? Not the fact that they did it in the first place or that his white wealthy man triple level privilege has allowed him to evade justice?
Not only is it unlikely that every single publishing company in the world will refuse to purchase Woody Allen’s memoir, but let’s look at the truth of it. Stephen King is uneasy that a wealthy white man is being “muzzled” because of his actions, whether he acknowledges it or not.
The next one implies this was the first time.
There are well established writers out there who still struggle, particularly those who exist at the intersections of oppression and; oftentimes, when their book is released by a publishing company they are given little to no promotion and often have to self-promote via social media and pray their followers will share and support. Maybe point out the real silencing and minimizing of marginalized voices in publishing as well as other career fields and the white gatekeepers prevalent in these fields that continue to propel and uplift white men while letting just enough “others” through to claim equality before you dare go to bat for a wealthy white pedophile.
Claiming that one rejection of a pedophile is an indicator of silencing free speech and “muzzling” as though it is not already rampant in the industry participates in the erasure of countless people turned away simply because they, based on physical appearance are not viewed as profitable, and demonstrates the privilege that wealthy white men like Stephen King are wrapped in. He doesn’t see erasure. He feels he is on the right side defending a white man’s “right” to have his book published despite his pedophilia.
Telling people to “vote with your wallet” is hilarious because that is likely why Hachette withdrew from publishing Allen’s memoir: fear that people would “vote with [their] wallet” and they would financially suffer. So how is this an issue?
Of course, he walked back his response ever so slightly.
But if that’s your opinion then why is there a problem? How are we going to progress when leniency isn’t granted based on merit but values that are often not earned but hereditary? When value always comes down to appearance and income? When sympathy is given to abusers more so than the victims?
When a wealthy white man is denied, news flash: he is not suffering. He is still wealthy, white and a man and will continue on in this world just fine because his value is his skin…and it will shield him from the brunt of accountability.