The Oppressor: White Male American... Me
I was talking with a group of white americans tonight about a book called "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed." In the book the author, Friere, talks about who are the oppressors and who are the oppressed. Our conversations around the room immediately drew lines of race and how being white usually stirs the thought of oppression and male is the cherry on top of oppression, inherently evil. In fact, our group was easily persuaded that being white male and American places you in the category of oppressor.
I'm here to say that I'm a white male American - proud and happy to be such. At no time have I sat in my room thinking, 'I'm privileged because I'm white, male and American, let me destroy everything that could work.'
My personal opinion is that regardless the societal system a person is born in, they are not inherently going to be an oppressor or the oppressed. If I were a white male born in Jackson, MS and attending the inner-city black school that I currently teach at, I would not necessarily be oppressed and I would not necessarily be the oppressor.
Our image of the white male American being the oppressor is not fair to the bulk of white male americans.
Yes, privileges have been bestowed upon men for centuries in every country and in America whites have had privileges others did not. But when the two descriptions fit together, you shouldn't get a picture of a privileged and sadistic person.
In fact, I learned most of my characteristics from my white female mother. Her life's mission was to provide love and compassion to all those around her. I now desire to do the same, focusing on positivity in the classroom.
The point is that by blaming white male americans for the many things that have gone wrong is forcing many white male americans to be scared of fixing the system so that they won't be branded as part of the problematic white male American.
We tell black youth to take ownership of their heritage and their race, white male americans should take ownership of theirs while focusing on how change can be made.
Those calling white male americans the problem need to realize that white male americans may be their enemy by perception but could be their strongest ally if they looked in the right direction.
This argument can be applied to the black community as well. People saying young black male americans are of certain qualities argues against those that have a positive outlook, forcing those with bright prospects to lose hope and give up on the possible riches of the future. (riches, i.e. enjoyment and fulfillment)
I truly hope that as humans, we stop placing blame on groups of people but instead focus on solutions to problems. (which getting rid of white male americans is not one) Blame rarely creates change and only creates more disadvantage.
Please feel free to leave your own thoughts as this is a dialogue, but don't forget that we all must keep open minds otherwise you are being oppressive.