Good White Men
At this time in our culture saying something good about white American men is considered by many to be racist. In fact, just saying that would be viewed by some as racist. In the last fifty years white American men have been vilified by nearly everyone who is not a white American man. They have been held accountable for most of what is keeping everyone but non-white males, from leading successful lives.
Granted, as a group they have a lot to account for; the horrendous treatment of Native Americans, the clearing of forests, polluting of rivers and lakes and the killing off of buffalo couldn’t have happened without them. They kept the vote away from everyone but themselves for decades and practiced all kinds of discrimination in employment and education. I know that there are many people who would like to add to this list but I think I’ve made my point.
It is not my intention to minimize the harm done by generations of white American men but to give a little credit to recent generations of white American men who have worked hard and taken great risks to set things right. I would also like to shed a little light on some misunderstandings and exaggerations that persist.
For instance, while most slave owners were white men, according to the 1860 U.S. census, only about 1% of white American men actually owned slaves. It should be noted that while slavery is our national sin for which we are still paying penance, it was ended by white American men.
It was also White American men who ended legal discrimination with various civil rights and voting rights laws. It was white American men who gave women the right to vote and instituted affirmative action to attempt to make up for past injustices.
It was largely white American men who built the strongest economy in history and provided an unparalleled standard of living and the opportunity for all to participate.
Yes it was white American robbers barons that created huge monopolies that made fair business competition all but impossible, but it was also white American men who passed laws to end it. It was White American men who owned and operated mines and factories with despicable labor practices but it was also white American men who passed laws and formed unions to end the practices.
It was white American men who founded great institutions that gave access only to other white American men but it was also white American who removed the barriers and granted open access.
Yes it is true that most of the changes cited above came about through the efforts of the great leaders of the oppressed who provided irresistible pressure for reform, but without the willingness of white American men, our country would still resemble many around the globe where slavery and rampant discrimination still exist.