It’s time to come clean. I’m a white guy.
You probably already knew that, but with these alt-right guys telling us that being white is exceptional, I figured it was time to let the cat out of the bag.
Funny thing is being white doesn’t make me feel exceptional. In fact, it doesn’t really make me feel anything. I’m white. So what?
This whiteness has been going on for quite some time. I was born white in 1944 and I’ve been white ever since.
But for some reason I don’t see anything special about it. Exceptional? OK, so I’m a pretty good writer, but I’m certainly not Hemingway or Steinbeck. I used to be good at pingpong.
The alt-right people don’t see it that way, though: “America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity,” said Richard Spencer, president of the alt-right National Policy Institute and a white guy himself. “It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
Oh yeah? Tell that to the ancestors of Sitting Bull and see how far it gets you.
By the way, while Spencer was speaking, some people in his audience were doing the one-armed Dr. Strangelove Hitleresque salute. Great. How to make friends and influence people, right?
“When I was a teenager we would go to the drive-in to see horror movies,” said Mary Ann Roser, an Austin writer and another white person who isn’t impressed with her whiteness. “One was so gross they offered a vomit bag at the entrance. I think the right wingers should warn us we may need a vomit bag before they spew this stuff out.”
This is not to say that white people don’t have their own set of special problems, difficulties that I file under the category of “Problems That White People Have.”
“I had to wait in line this morning at Starbucks for my latte,” said an Austin oncologist who has been white for as long as anyone can remember.
Then there’s the problem of driving while white — in my case made worse by the fact that I’m an old fart. Which means I’d have to run over a nun before a cop would bother to pull me over.
If I never get stopped by a cop, how in the heck am I supposed to know when I have a taillight out?
Michael Hurd, who is black and who works at Prairie View A&M University, is apprehensive about this white exceptionalism business. Has he been messed with on the road? “No, but my head’s on a swivel.”
Then there are these two young white people I know who just moved into a new home. They’ve discovered that their laundry room is small and cramped. These are the sorts of difficulties we whites have to face on a daily basis.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being white. Some of my best friends are white. Although over the years, I’ve noticed that the preponderance of jerks I’ve met happened to be white people.
I attribute this in part to the fact that most of the people I hang out with are white and that there are more white people around than there are people of other backgrounds. Which is why we call them minorities.
So the odds of being a jerk in Texas are stacked against white people.
“No, I don’t feel like an extra special snowflake just because I’m white,” said a friend who lives up in the Panhandle. “Generally, I’m embarrassed I’m in the same race as soooo many asshats.”
I know what you mean, lady.