10 Dos and Don’ts for White Guys in the Era of Trump

By Ben Atherton-Zeman

The Senate just voted to advance legislation that puts women’s lives at risk. The President was recently embroiled in a fight with MSNBC talk show host Mika Brzezinski that led to him tweeting that she had a “low IQ” and was “bleeding badly from a face lift,” words that fall in line with his other attacks on women, people of color and immigrants. Last month, Philando Castile’s killer was acquitted—just the latest in a long pattern of police acquittals after killing Black people. Within days of that decision, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was murdered on the way back from Ramadan prayers, and afterward one of the memorials erected in her honor was set on fire.

Can’t I just go back to bed?

Actually, yes. I can. As a white, cisgender male, I am able to tune out the injustices happening to women, people of color, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. I can do this because it doesn’t affect me as directly as it does others. To “go back to bed” is usually not an option for people who don’t look like me.

I know many of you—many of US—don’t want to hear this, but that’s called white privilege. That’s called male privilege.

And because white males benefit from and perpetuate systems of sexism and racism—even when we do our best to challenge systems of societal power—it is our responsibility to speak out, now more than ever. Fellow white guys: let’s stay engaged. Sustainably. Accountably. I want to join the chorus of voices urging white males to speak out against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of hate and discrimination.

Specifically, I’d like to ask my fellow white guys to stick to these 10 do’s and don’ts in the era of Trump—and beyond. (I use the phrase “white males” and “white men” in this piece as a shorthand, realizing that gender is a spectrum. Perhaps “male-identified” would be more accurate.) Continue reading…