Why White Men Should Refuse to Be on Panels of All White Men

Yet another church conference with all white men on the panel.

I’m on a lot of panels at conferences. Rarely are they all white men (anymore). If they are, then I refuse to take part.

It seems that the same thing happens in the tech world, and Cord Jefferson (a white man) is sick of it:

After watching this happen again and again, something occurred to me: Why don’t the white men who are asked to engage in this nonsense simply stop doing it? The boycott is a protest with a long history of success. If white, male elites started saying, “I will not participate in your panel, event, or article if it is all about white men,” chances are these panels and articles would quickly dry up—or become more diverse.

Read the rest: Why White Men Should Refuse to Be on Panels of All White Men – Culture – GOOD.

HT: Michael Toy

"Have you considered professional online editing services like www.CogitoEditing.com ?"

The Writing Life
"I'm not missing out on anything - it's rather condescending for you to assume that ..."

Is It Time for Christians to ..."
"I really don't understand what you want to say.Your http://europe-yachts.com/ya..."

Would John Piper Excommunicate His Son?

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tony

    What do you have against white men? Perhaps you’re a racist. Try being color-blind for a change – it’s much easier.

    • Perry

      Being color-blind doesn’t really work if you don’t address the iniquities and conflicts before activating the “we’re all equal now!” blinders. Just a thought.

    • Matt

      Yes, clearly he is racist against himself.

      • Also, sexist against himself.

  • good on you – its a big way change can take place

  • Thanks for posting this Tony. It’s really good to hear a White man say this. Minorities have been saying it for years. The next step is to stop tokenism and inviting just minorities who agree with a particularly needed perspective. The point of diversity is to learn from the differences, not simply look differently. We’ve come a ways, but still have a long way to go…

  • You need to not be on a “straights” only panel either. How many times are there panels where there are only heterosexuals. You need to make sure you are only on a panel that has LGBT on it as well.

    • That’s trickier, because some queers would rather not be outed or identified that way.

      • i have to disagree with you, Tony! Especially in Emergent circles, there are PLENTY of queers who are MORE than happy to sit on panels.

  • Tom

    I agree, but sometimes its easier said than done to find a minority willing to sit on a panel. I live in an area that is 85% white. Deduct the international students at the university and it’s probably more like 90%. Pick the panel from my church congregation and you’ve lessened the odds even more.

    • I think something drawn from a local congregation is a different deal.

    • Gordon Early

      My first take was ‘No women’. Not just monorities In fact the females are the majority.

  • Hemant Mehta

    Cord Jefferson is actually black. But you’re right with the overall idea!

  • Panels are supposed to reflect the overall demographic, which in many smaller cities is still white men. I wouldn’t take part in a panel that purposely put up a diverse panel solely for the sake of diversity if it were at the expense of the conversation. The issue is diversity within our education system. That is what you should direct your efforts towards. I’m not sure how NOT participating in a panel accomplishes what you desire.

    With that said, I do agree that if the panel is in a larger city, where there is plenty of diversity, then kudos.

  • david

    Um, some of the commenters here seem to have forgotten about women. I don’t think there are many “smaller cities” that are made up entirely of white men.


    • Eric English

      In the theological circles Tony is speaking in they most certainly are made up of primarily white men.

  • Would 12 Jewish men be okay?

    • Kevin H.

      There is nothing wrong with 12 Jews, as long as we agree to always paint them as medieval anglo-saxons in our portraits.

  • This is an interesting topic. I agree with one of the commenters above that said panels also need to be about people that come from diverse backgrounds, not just people in the same social/professional circle. As a woman in the digital marketing world, I listen to panels all the time that have rows of white men that are all consultants or lone rangers. We need to remember that diversity brings change and innovation. Diversity in age, race, gender, etc. It is all important.

  • Ok, something bothers me about this idea. While yes, I agree that there should be diversity, who has the right to judge who is “white” or not? Is Elizabeth Warren part Native American? Is my 1/4 Japanese Heritage enough to make me Asian, even though I look white? I’ve been in places where people hated me because I’m not white enough, and for others I don’t count as anything but white. So do I get to sit on the panel? Or am I (and others like me) the true minority; mixed raced, color blind and unheard.

    • Eric English

      I am not sure your question has merit, but let me clarify anyway. Yes, you might have white looking skin, but as far as a classification of race goes “white” refers to those of light skin ethnicity who are of European decent.

      Your question is loaded with complicated genetic components that are irrelevant to the conversation. I think all of us know what Tony means when he uses the language “white” and that’s what matters for this conversation.

      • Wow, I think you’ve illustrated my point brilliantly. Complicated Genetics = Irrelevant to the Conversation.


    This is just asinine! I’m a 59 year old white male, and to suggest that I and other white men don’t have diverse opinions is crazy. This is feel-good, “make-up-a-crisis-and-stand-above-it” bull shit. I don’t even want to know anyone who agrees with this pea-brain.

    • Eric English

      I think most of the people reading this blog agree with this “pea-brain”. What’s more is I think your post proves his point.

  • Colleen

    I thought that the word Queer is derogatory

    • Eric English

      “Queer” is the agreed upon social convention in reference to a group of individuals who make up a sexually diverse sub-culture.

  • Frank

    Tony’s states “93% of emergents are white, according to my research.”


    So does that mean you are going to refuse to participate in the emergent church movement? After all you would not want to be a hypocrite right?

    On this particular topic I would expect the best available experts to be on any panel irrelevant of race, gender or sexual preference. If its all white straight males than that’s what it is. That fact in no way invalidates the purpose or value.

    • Did it ever cross your mind that 93% of emergents are White because people of color do not feel validated, welcomed, or listened to in the culture quite yet and that integrating it takes representation and diversity?

      • Frank

        If the Spirit is involved people of all nations will be automatically drawn to it.

  • Colleen

    Thanks, I didn’t know that

  • People on panels tend to share the common bond of being on lots of panels. For more diversity, we also need to have panels of people who haven’t been on panels before.

  • Colleen

    You know, that actually makes a lot if sense. What about panels of people who have never written books…but maybe that is still the panel of people who have never been on panels

  • Colleen

    You know what I find odd? Why they agreed on that word….
    from dictionary.com:
    strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular: a queer notion of justice.
    of a questionable nature or character; suspicious; shady: Something queer about the language of the prospectus kept investors away.
    not feeling physically right or well; giddy, faint, or qualmish: to feel queer.
    mentally unbalanced or deranged.
    Slang: Disparaging and Offensive .
    effeminate; unmanly.

  • Brie Marie

    Why not refuse to sit on a panel of all white people? If you are talking about white privilege, doesn’t gender become secondary? But wait, if you did that, you wouldn’t be able to speak at events put on by your own organization half the time.