Please Do Not Blame All White Men for Donald Trump
Recently, since the first, public, televised debate between America’s two main presidential candidates (September 26), I have noticed many people attempting to blame men, especially white men, for Trump’s egotistical, buffoonish, extremely rude, uninformed performance in that debate. The tone of such posts on social media tends to be “typical of white men.” May I say clearly, unequivocally, as loudly as I can in this medium, TRUMP DOES NOT REPRESENT ME OR MANY OTHER WHITE MEN IN AMERICA.
Increasingly, it seems to me, we American have a tendency to “globalize” about people. We observe a public figure of a certain type—gender, race, class—and then identify him or her as representative of all people of that type. That is wrong. We need to learn how to restrain ourselves from doing that because all really know even people within a “type” are diverse.
As a white American man I am chagrined—both by Trump’s style (I am not referring to his policies right now) and the fact that so many people are tending (on social media, for example) to imply that he represents white men in America. For example, according to those who counted, Trump interrupted Clinton fifty-one times during the debate. That’s inexcusable and I blame both Trump and the moderators who should have turned off his microphone while Clinton was speaking (and hers while he was speaking although she did not interrupt him nearly as much if at all).
*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*
I read one social media post by a well-intentioned and very articulate woman who implied that unless she trains her son not to be like Trump he will probably grow up to be like Trump. I resent that. As a white American male I can testify that, while many of my “type” are, indeed, misogynistic and rude, many are not and never were (and never would be).
Of course, I totally agree that all boys should be trained by their parents and mentors (teachers, coaches, etc.) to be kind, respectful and helpful—to everyone— but I resent the implication that all males will naturally grow up to be like Trump unless there is special intervention.
While Trump may not be in a category by himself—“one of a kind” as the faulty saying goes”—he does not represent all white boys and men.
This is my plea to those tempted to blame us all for Trump’s antics and personality style to refrain from that. He does not represent us even if many white men in America do support him. Obviously so do many non-white men and women. For whatever reasons, obviously, many women support him. When I watched the Republican Convention on television I saw just as many women shouting support for Trump and yelling “Lock her up!” (about Clinton) as men.
I read a newspaper article recently about a new voluntary program in a public school that focuses especially on boys, training them to be “gentlemen.” It is run mainly by men. Good for them. Good for the boys who participate and good for the school system that set up and supports the program and good for the male teachers and coaches (and some female teachers and administrators and teaching assistants) who train them. The tone of the article indicated that the program was not aimed at “fixing boys” but at helping their better selves come out and govern their behavior. Wonderful. I fully support that program and hope it flourishes and spreads.
But I resent the tone of some women’s social media posts that indicate they think a “little Trump” resides in the heart of every boy and that inside every man lurks a “male supremacist” just waiting to jump out.
Let me be as absolutely clear as I can possibly be (so in capitals): TRUMP DOES NOT REPRESENT ME OR A LARGE PORTION OF AMERICAN WHITE MEN in terms of his personality and “style” of expressing himself or acting toward other people—especially minorities and women.
Again, someone will ask me “Then how has he gotten to where he is in this presidential campaign?” Again, I have to remind readers who may ask that that he would not be there were it not for support from women. I’m not blaming them as women, but I am saying if every woman (and every minority person) withdrew support from him AND participated in the election for someone else he would not have a prayer of winning the presidency.
So, women (and everyone): Please do not blame all “white men” for Trump’s behavior and his success (so far) in this presidential campaign. I am offended by that as all decent, thoughtful, caring white men should be.
Footnote: I fully realize this anecdote does not count as proof of anything, but my wife and I watch a lot of “house hunters” episodes on HGTV—including “House Hunters International” and shows like it where (usually) couples are looking for a new home. Anyone who watches those shows and ones like them (e.g., also “Living Alaska”) has to notice that in most cases the husband of a heterosexual couple willingly, gladly gives in to the wife or female partner even when he prefers a different abode. In almost every show of that kind it is the wife or female partner who decides among the three abodes. The most common phrase heard is “Happy wife, happy life.” I have even heard the real estate agents say “It is usually the wife who decides.” None of the men come across as “Trump-like” in their treatments of their female partners. Are there men who do? Of course. I’m not denying that for a moment. My only point is—we are not all like him. Please don’t lump us all into his personality type category.
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