We go way back – you and I. My dad was a SWG, not to mention my brothers, my sons, and my handsome husband. All straight. All white males.
I love you guys. You have had a huge positive impact in my life. And you SWG friends have been so important to me. You’ve been my colleagues, my confidants, my mentors.
Increasingly, I hear from some of you that things are not as easy as they used to be. After hundreds (thousands?) of years of being in charge, it’s no longer assumed that you will get the job, receive the respect, or gain the acceptance. Nevertheless, you are more likely – than men of color – to avoid arrest and incarceration. For what it’s worth, I have straight white male friends and family who have been caught drinking under age, smoking weed, speeding behind the wheel, and trespassing. But they were warned, not arrested.
It’s also true that – if you are a clergyman – you are probably earning more money than a clergywoman with comparable experience. And in other occupations, you are – on average – still earning more than the women in your field. This is a global truth.
You still run the world. Most CEOs are your same gender, race and sexual orientation. So are most business owners, journalists, financiers, movie directors, and politicians. Every president of the United States – except one – has been a SWG. You have been the privileged ones regardless of your socioeconomic situation by virtue of your skin tone and orientation.
It’s also true that some of you are struggling. Please know that nobody deserves economic hardship, underemployment, or humiliation. But also know that Black and Brown men have endured bias against them simply because of the color of their skin for centuries. Gay and transgender men have lived at grave personal risk for centuries. People who are not White have been subjected to laws created specifically for them which have limited their movement, their opportunities, and their general freedoms.
I love the Straight White Men in my life. You know I do. But I am asking you to consider these things:
- If you are feeling that life is not as easy as it once was for you, know that it hasn’t been easy for men of color or BGTQ men for the majority of human history. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain insights on your brothers’ experiences.
- If you are offended when men of color or BGTQ men succeed, please check your sense of entitlement. You are not the only ones created in the image of God.
- If you are threatened by women who are smart and strong, please note that having smart, strong wives and daughters is a sign of your own intelligence and strength.
- If you work with women, remember that they do not exist for you and they do not belong to you. They, too, were created in God’s image. It’s in the Bible – if that carries any weight for you.
It’s never easy to relinquish power. But in this season of Advent, we who are expecting Jesus remember that even God relinquished power for the sake of love. If we are called to live in the likeness of Jesus, perhaps we are also called – from time to time – to relinquish power for the sake of love.
In the meantime, I don’t want to live without you guys. Know that I love and appreciate you. Thanks for stepping back and stepping up for the sake of love.
Let’s keep talking – Jan
PS Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t White no matter who thinks so.