Thursday, July 6, 2017

And the Biggest Broflake Ever to Flutter Down from Cyberspace Award Goes To ...

On July 3, 2017, Independence Day Eve, the Boston Globe (of course) saw fit to publish a much-shared, much-clicked-upon, and much-debated opinion piece entitled “In Defense of the White Male” by (who else) a white male novelist named Roland Merullo (whoever that is).

Merullo’s claim to authority on the subject of white male oppression is his whiteness and maleness--and albeit unintentionally--an eye for good fiction critical to his craft.

Merullo spends 684 words of prime newsprint real estate defending his race and gender from being unfairly tarred with the broad brush of reverse sexism and reverse racism (neither of which are actually things, but whatever), and the result is really something.

Now, a cynic like me would argue that the only reason the Boston Globe published this un-think piece in the first place was to provoke precisely the type of outrage reaction-trap that I and other women and people of color on the Internet fell into over the long weekend, many more articulately than I could ever hope to do.

And yet, at the risk of taking the same bait, I don’t think I can simply ignore this column without joining the ever-burgeoning chorus, because it is—in a word- 


There is so much about this piece that shocks and offends any sense of logic, fact, or reason: Roland Merullo’s self-pitying tone; Roland Merullo’s failure to acknowledge that the existence of white male supremacy is not about Roland Merullo the individual or his individual feelings and experiences, but rather the global, macro-system of white male oppression of which Roland Merullo is—inevitably—a beneficiary and heir.

It’s difficult to imagine fitting more nonsense into so short a space, but this particular paragraph rises to the top of fuckingridonks on a big, heaping pile of fuckingridonkulousness:
It’s not hard to argue that white men have done more harm in history — from the keeping of slaves to the genocide of Native Americans, and a thousand other examples — than any other single group. But it can also be argued that they have done more good — in combatting evil regimes, in developing medicines, in inventing everything from the automobile to the cellphone to various methods of birth control. White men discovered penicillin, Novocain, the drug regimen used to treat people afflicted with AIDS. In many places the chances are good that if your home is on fire, it will be a white man who comes to put it out. And, if it were not for the millions of white men who gave their lives in World War II, we might all be starting the work day with the Nazi salute. Associating us only with evil deeds, selfishness, and violence is as misguided as making general disparaging statements about any other group: women, blacks, Muslims, homosexuals. Yet, in certain circles, it has become acceptable — even laudable — to do just that.
Actually, what’s “not hard to argue” is that the very reason for white male success in the first place is white male supremacy: 

The state-sponsored subjugation of women and people of color. The systematic deployment of oppressive, genocidal, colonialist, criminal, morally and ethically repugnant tactics throughout history to make sure that no one BUT white men even had the OPPORTUNITY to discover cures for diseases or make great social and scientific advancements. 

That the white-male-only segregation of everything from sports to the military to science and literature stacked the deck not just nominally—but impenetrably—in favor of white male success to the expense and exclusion of all others.

Maybe one fine day, Roland Merullo will learn to study history instead of only novels, see through the misty fog of his White Male Tears, and focus on the women and people of color that he has both the privilege and responsibility to uplift and help make whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.