Old White Men

bigorangesplotmpwd

Noticing the ubiquity of the phrase these day, as in “oh, don’t listen to him he’s just another old white man.” 


I used to think I understood the concept as “once upon a time old white men made all the rules, created wars, retained all power, wrote the history in favor of themselves to the exclusion of all others, etc.” and how screwed up that was/still is in many cases.


But, now I’m 100% sure I don’t understand what “old white men” means. At this point are we universally rejecting the thoughts, feelings, critiques, opinions of old white men?  In other words, old white men should just keep their mouths shut completely?


Asking for a friend. 




ml1

Speaking as an old white man I think old white men tend to talk too much and listen too little. So they don't need to "keep their mouths shut completely" as much as many of them need to open their ears ans their minds more often. 


Jaytee

There are quite a lot of old white men on MOL...and yes they're grumpy...is your friend an old white woman?


annielou

A lot of pontificating couched in trying to impress people with all that they know, which changes rapidly in our world. That being said, not all white men are grumpy and self centered. Some are even sexy.


mrincredible

I think dismissing someone just because they're old doesn't take into account that years can bring wisdom.

ml1 certainly raises a good point about white men. I think a lot of us grew up with an outsized perception of our importance. Not a conscious decision, but almost anyone of consequence in the world in my youth was a white man. I'm not talking about athletes (although look at managers and team owners) or entertainers. Politicians, CEOs, military leaders and nationally prominent journalists were predominantly white men. The world was run by white men. That gets inside your head and fortifies a sense of entitlement, even though you might never openly articulate the thought that "people like me are the ones who rise to the top."

As a result I think we're more inclined to believe in the importance of our opinions, ideas and values. 

ETFMP: So yes, time for white men of all ages to increase the percentage of time we need to listen to people from other groups. And probably to the point where we feel like the balance of influence has swung too far away from us. Because when it feels that way, it's probably just starting to feel fair to everyone else.

(This is the most correct and important post on this thread. Just sayin')


campbell29

Did you happen to read the editorial in the NYT on Tuesday, “The Power of Personal Petty Revenge”? by I think, Krugman about grumpy white guys?


As a white female it rang true.  Most of the complaining about how you have to be sensitive to other people or can’t just speak whatever comes out of your mouth, is driven by older white guys who feel their power is dwindling.


The piece focused on how older white guys get offended if they have to in any way change their outward behavior, and then make a huge deal about having to ask for a straw or say they can’t mentor women anymore, or refer to people by the pronoun that they prefer.


I guess I don’t have a bunch of sympathy for a group of people who have systematically oppressed people by gender, race, sexual orientation that now they can’t verbalize whatever they think.  As a group, they have had it pretty good, why is it so much to ask that they display good manners by not speaking inappropriately to, or touching another person in a way that might be offensive.




drummerboy

While I think the OP takes a too broad view, us old white men, as a cohort, have an awful lot to answer for.


bigorangesplotmpwd

Paul Krugman is a 66 year old Caucasian male, which I believe makes him an “old white man.”  And we are listening to him! So this group DOES have something to say worth listening to.


annielou

Given that Trump is president, there are obviously quite a few old white men, and women, who don’t give a rats *** about reflections on privilege.


BG9

Lets not overdo this "old white men" mantra. 

I agree too many are the problem. But so are old white women and the whole age range of evangelicals, the majority of whom voted for and still support Trump. Looking at the Nazis and alt-right rallies I see that many are young, the future brown shirts of America.


Jasmo

I find the idea of dismissing someone because of age or race, in a rather derogatory manner, is a form of distasteful stereotyping.  Why can't we listen to the point that a person is making and consider it on its merits, rather than contemptuously categorizing the speaker in a personal attack preemptively?  Everybody is most likely a member of some group that has been castigated as the unworthy other somewhere, whether it be an American, Christian, Jew, Republican, Trumpist, white European male, woman, adolescent, etc, but ultimately we are all more human than otherwise and its best of treat each other as such.


ml1

the question starting this discussion was a total straw man, as evidenced by fact that the OP came back and answered his own question as essentially a "no."

My interpretation of the start of this discussion is that it's something of a sarcastic reply to the whole notion of white privilege.  Do we tell old white men to shut up and sit down?  Of course not. We shouldn't tell any group of people they need to stay silent.

But a more nuanced answer to the OP should be -- of course white men shouldn't "keep their mouths shut completely."  But as a general rule, old white men really should take note of the privilege that comes with their age and race and perhaps most importantly -- recognize that we may have blind spots with regard to race, gender, and age in how we deal with other people.

Maybe it's only my interpretation, but I don't get the sense the OP is ready to keep an open mind on this topic.


bigorangesplotmpwd

I am really asking the question because at some point things seem to have shifted from    we need to make room for people other than just old white men to old white men need to keep their mouths shut. I’ve been seeing this more and more lately and wondered what it’s all about. 


I agree I was being “cute” this morning with my Krugman response but you folks are some of the smartest around and I truly want to understand this. 


STANV
Jasmo said:
I find the idea of dismissing someone because of age or race, in a rather derogatory manner, is a form of distasteful stereotyping.  Why can't we listen to the point that a person is making and consider it on its merits, rather than contemptuously categorizing the speaker in a personal attack preemptively?  Everybody is most likely a member of some group that has been castigated as the unworthy other somewhere, whether it be an American, Christian, Jew, Republican, Trumpist, white European male, woman, adolescent, etc, but ultimately we are all more human than otherwise and its best of treat each other as such.

 I agree. Donald Trump is an "old white man". So is Bernie Sanders and some of the smartest posters on MOL. 

The guy who committed the murders in NZ is a young white man, as were the neo-Nazis in Charlotte.

Trump enablers Conway and Sarah Sanders are women. 

The evil murderous dictator of North Korea is a young non-white man


Furthermore I would suggest that being old is in many ways a disability in America


boomie

Its tough.  But yea. its simply a time for older white men to stay out of the discussion unless to offer understanding of the issues.   I don't envy you all, but its time.


ml1
bigorangesplotmpwd said:
I am really asking the question because at some point things seem to have shifted from    we need to make room for people other than just old white men to old white men need to keep their mouths shut. I’ve been seeing this more and more lately and wondered what it’s all about. 


I agree I was being “cute” this morning with my Krugman response but you folks are some of the smartest around and I truly want to understand this. 

 seriously?

I think I'd need to see actual quotes from actual non anonymous sources to even believe this is really a thing. 


DaveSchmidt

I’m struck by the juxtaposition of the 12:28 and 12:44 comments.


ml1
DaveSchmidt said:
I’m struck by the juxtaposition of the 12:28 and 12:44 comments.

And even that comment doesn't demand that white men "completely" keep their mouths shut. 


Shoshana

The U.S. is a majority white country.  Of course the majority of "voices" that we hear are of white people, both men and women.  Of course voices of those not in the majority:  people of color, Jews, LGBTQ folks, etc. should be heard as well.

I think attempting to silence anyone due to their race or age is very offensive.


ctrzaska

Define “old”?


Dennis_Seelbach

ctrzaska said:

Define “old”?

 You're not. I am !


ctrzaska

Dennis_Seelbach said:

ctrzaska said:

Define “old”?

 You're not. I am !

 Ha!


sac

There are a lot of very scary YOUNG white men out there these days. Just sayin ....

(Middle aged, bordering on old, white woman here.)


sac

mrincredible said:


ETFMP:

 So what is ETFMP?

(Google failed me.)


mrincredible

Edited to Fix My Post? 

Edited to Fool My Peers?

I don't remember because I'm a borderline old white man.

Anyway, I don't think telling old white men they can't talk anymore is the point. But there's a problem where white men over 50 are wildly overrepresented in positions of power. In our political system if you hold a 50.1% majority in 50.1% of voting districts you can hold an awfully disproportionate amount of power.

As I mentioned before I think this situation perpetuates the myth that it's older white men who should run things. And on a less innocent note, older white men are incentivized to structure the government to keep themselves in power. 


boomie

Side note,  Malcolm Gladwell did an analysis of the "Modal" person ( rather than average or median person) - that is, he created an algorithm to try to identify the most prevalent person in the US right now, based on race, education, and age.   The most common person is a white male, aged 38-54 (Gen X) and never completed college.  Interesting, especially in light of the small size of GenX (sandwiched between Boomers and Millenials) and also because I think we assume a majority of people in this age group are college educated, but that's not the case.


sac

boomie said:

Side note,  Malcolm Gladwell did an analysis of the "Modal" person ( rather than average or median person) - that is, he created an algorithm to try to identify the most prevalent person in the US right now, based on race, education, and age.   The most common person is a white male, aged 38-54 (Gen X) and never completed college.  Interesting, especially in light of the small size of GenX (sandwiched between Boomers and Millenials) and also because I think we assume a majority of people in this age group are college educated, but that's not the case.

 Is it wrong of me to find this worrisome?


mrincredible

boomie said:

Side note,  Malcolm Gladwell did an analysis of the "Modal" person ( rather than average or median person) - that is, he created an algorithm to try to identify the most prevalent person in the US right now, based on race, education, and age.   The most common person is a white male, aged 38-54 (Gen X) and never completed college.  Interesting, especially in light of the small size of GenX (sandwiched between Boomers and Millenials) and also because I think we assume a majority of people in this age group are college educated, but that's not the case.

 I fall in the age and race demographic but I squeaked through college.

Boomie, do you remember the actual percentage of people who fell in this bucket? I'm sure this group doesn't represent any kind of majority, but it would be interesting to see how it breaks down. I would guess the 2nd most prevalent group is probably similar but switch the gender to female. But I could be wrong.


phenixrising

It seems these days, its the “old white men” who are politically deciding major decisions that affect or everyday lives. Just look at the senate.

“Looking ahead at the 2020 elections, 21 of the 33 Senators running for reelection will be 65 or older. The current chamber is already one of the oldest Senates by some measures according to the Washington Post, and the data suggests this trend would continue in the coming years.”

The clown playing President in the White House doesn’t help the cause. Unfortunately, this trickles down in labeling that all “old white men” even those who do have the knowledge and wisdom, into one painted stroke. And this my friend, are some of the reasons in giving the “old white man” a bad name. Some of the same guys who ml1 says,

“old white men tend to talk too much and listen too little. So they don’t need to “keep their mouths shut completely” as much as many of them need to open their ears and their minds more often.”

So yea, you will hear that more of this saying than ever before. Our household has been trying to call this “old white man” to pass a bill on gun background and preventing interference in next years election. They won’t answer or his voicemail is full. Yeah, its Moscow Mitch (the old white man) who refuses to listen.

What scares me more, is these young alt right white men and racist/bigots who feel the need to shoot innocent civilians because of the color of their skin or religion. How many mass shootings in open spaces/business this years and by whom? How many houses of worship and schools have been shot up and by whom?

Look at stats, scarier than any old white men who talks with no sense. Then again, we have an old white clown, provoking these guys into action. SMH!



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