Being White & Male (and in Solidarity) in a time of Rising White (Male) Nationalism (II)

Being White and Male (and in Solidarity)

In a time of Rising White (Male) Nationalism (II)

Rus Ervin Funk


Last week, I offered a first part of a discussion on my experience of being white and male, in the post Trump election period which is also seeing a rise in visibility and bold-ness of white nationalist movement and rhetoric. I suggested that there were things that Mr. Trump was saying and doing that was providing an environment in which white nationalists appear to be feeling increasingly emboldened, and that regardless of my politics or positions, as a white man, I benefit from what’s going on.

I began a call to action in which I invited us as white men to begin taking action by examining (borrowing from Kimberle Crenshaw) the intersections of our identities (I started examining our identities of white-ness and male-ness) and how our privilege from these identities also intersect.

I’ll push forward with this aspect briefly to point out that being white and male are only two of our identities, and the rest of our identities also include different access to privilege and/or experiences/histories of oppression. I, for example, am white and male, and 50-something, a parent, in a committed relationship with a woman, a home-owner. All of these other identities make up different aspect of who “Rus” is, and all of these which I have identified here also have some privileges attached that people who do not identify in these ways do not have.

This interlocking and mutually supporting experiences of privilege complicate my work for justice, and my efforts to act in solidarity with others. I don’t have the space to detail the ways these forms of privilege intersect nor how this complicates my work. I mention this here to take note that my comments here are an attempt to be as complete as I can, but within a context that is somewhat incomplete.

In terms of continuing my call to action, I want to explore some practices that I’ve found successful in my efforts, and which to varying degrees drive my activism. I offer these as a way to begin thinking about how we may reach out to, engage and organize white men as a part of a broader social justice movement that continues to push forward in the months and years to come. As Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked, “the universe bends towards justice.” We are a part of the universe and our efforts are a part of this bending towards justice.

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