Some of my favorite people are White Guys. There are three in my immediate family and over thirty in my extended family of brothers, cousins, uncles, in-laws, etc. Most of my clergy colleagues are White Guys. Most people running the country are White Guys and many of them are smart and interesting.
31% of the population in the United States are White Guys. But projections show that by 2043, White People will no longer be the majority. Some people love this trend and some feel anxious.
A twenty-something male friend recently shared how tough it is to be a White Male these days and I tried to listen without strangling him. He is getting a tiny taste of what it’s been like for minorities and even White Women for a while now. I further delved into this phenomenon of White Guy Anxiety by interviewing The White Guy I Live With:
Me: Do you feel any anxiety about being a White Guy?
TWGILW: I don’t. I’m a White Guy. I can’t do anything about that. And I don’t feel threatened by the trends you’re citing. I try, however, to make sure that my words and actions are sensitive to people who don’t happen to be White Guys.
[Note: This is one reason why I married TWGILW.]
This post is not intended to slam White Guys in any way. My bigger concern is that we who are not White Guys find positive ways to help shift the culture. If most of the people in power right now happen to be White Guys, here are some thoughts about what is not helpful:
- Mocking them (although it’s tempting.)
- Treating them the same disrespectful ways we who are not White Guys have been treated.
- Sabotaging them – again the way that some of us who are not White Guys have been sabotaged.
And here are additional thoughts about what might be helpful as our culture shifts:
- Remind search committees – and others in charge of seeking new leaders – that diversity of all kinds makes a community more creative and vital.
- Connect with White Guys who get that.
A fairly constant comment I hear (and say myself) these days is: Another White Guy got the job. Let’s hope that – when it still happens – they are the ones who are unafraid to open doors for those of us who are not.