Some of the best people I know are Old White Men. Diminishing them to be so termed is not only an injustice to them, it is an injustice to the millions of good, socially conscious Old White Men across our nation.
I grew up believing that name-calling, prejudice and discrimination were wrong. All of my life, I have heard that equality was sacred. What I cannot understand is how is it justified now, for a growing number in our party, to lash-out at older white men because of their age and the color of their skin. Are they not due the same respect that we would show any other group of people?
Users of this discriminatory logic will suggest they are fully justified in that Old White Men hold all the cards – that it is easier for them to advance in a world in which they dominate. While I completely agree that they dominate, how does that justify them being lumped into a category? Exactly the same as any other demographic, they deserve to be evaluated by the “content of their character.”
In recent months, it has been popular to denigrate our Founding Fathers, because many of them owned slaves. Unfortunately, what these detractors are missing in their misleading quip is the truth. In 1776, slavery had been a functioning reality since long before the dawn of civilization, and in spite of the participation of some of them, they collectively believed the practice was nearing its end. It was not a mistake that the Declaration of Independence created language declaring “all men were created equal.” They were completely aware of the contradiction but believed it was important to make a start. Race was only one of the issues in a list of formidable obstacles to ending the practice in the moment. It would take time, but our Founding Fathers by word and deed put into action a concept of equality that would eventually bring an end to legal slavery and legal discrimination a hundred years later. What was started by our Founding Fathers, a bunch of courageous Old White Men, continues to provide the legal platform for our fight on many different levels today.
And, don’t forget about the 400,000 or so Young White Men that never got the chance to be Old White Men, because they died to end slavery in the Civil War. And, don’t forget about the White Freedom Riders and the thousands of White Civil Rights advocates who put their lives on the line to march with Dr. King and help register African Americans to vote. And, don’t forget about the millions of politicians, business owners and everyday American citizens who stood up for the cause of Civil Rights, fairness and equality when it wasn’t easy to do. They are all Old White Men today, and without them, you would not have the freedom to shoot your mouth off without thinking.
The truth is this fight was started by a group of Old White Men long ago, at time when it could very easily have cost them their lives. Those who use cheap, uneducated slogans to further their political agenda today, owe those Old White Men and a lot of other Old White Men through the years for the freedoms they enjoy. The distance we have traveled as a society in the last seventy years is monumental by any standard. Transitions are always difficult but condemning one demographic or another, without knowing anything about their personal struggle, is exactly what we’ve been fighting against all along.
Photo courtesy of: Dawn.com