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Men’s Rights Redditors take on racism. By which they mean a white dude admitting that white dudes aren’t actually oppressed

Gold Medalist, Oppression Olympics

Over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the locals are pig-biting mad about racism. Are they organizing vigils for murdered black teen Trayvon Martin? Are they challenging the Hunger Games fans who are sending out racist tweets complaining about the character “Rue” being played by a black actress?

Nope. They are doing something much, much braver. They are taking on a white dude for mocking other white dudes who are convinced they are the truly oppressed.

Over on the Boston Magazine web site, blogger Barry Nolan sets forth this truly hateful argument:

I have been a white male all my life and to tell you the truth, I have found it to be a pretty sweet deal. … Wherever you look and by almost any metric, any statistic, it works out to be a pretty sweet deal to start out life as a white male. …

So I cannot, for the life of me, understand why so many white men like me can be found whining about how tough it is to be a white man. It’s a mystery to me how they came to feel so beset on every side by feminists, minorities, and “the system.” When in fact, the system is so stacked in our favor, it’s almost embarrassing.

On the Men’s Rights subreddit a post blasting Nolan as a “racist idiot” now boasts 90 upvotes. In the comments, the brave antiracists set poor Nolan straight on a thing or two. To Ellwood78, it’s just a big coincidence that most of the powerful figures in the US happen to be white dudes:

NoNoJCM, meanwhile, reports on his own bitter experience as one of the oppressed:

Irrel_M is apparently a Stephen Colbert fan who isn’t in on the joke:

To paraphrase Sojourner Truth, “ain’t I a white dude?”

Note: This post incorporates some

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felixBC
felixBC
9 years ago

The commenter doesn’t mention height. And he mentions being bipolar, which I don’t think my favourite troll ever mentioned specifically. (recent diagnosis?) That’s gotta make life tougher. Still doesn’t disprove the columnist’s points about race, tho.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

the overly emotional comments from the MRAs and the calm responses from Barry Nolan are awesome and hilarious!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

There’s a whole army of angry young men out there, trolling any blog with lots of women commenters, bemoaning the fact that life has not handed them fame, riches, and an endless supply of blowjobs just because they want them. Today most of them have been on Jezebel – any post about why leering and street harrassment are bad always brings them out in droves.

MRAL is only unique in how dedicated to the cause he is. (Creating a VPN just to troll, etc.)

felixBC
felixBC
9 years ago

I thought those were Hardy boys! I wonder which of the intrepid brothers he thinks he is? all brave and clean cut and pre-feminist era, growing up to be just like dad. But how funny to have them in the background, like a full volume set of law texts.

I like the one-eyed Sauron contact lens reference. All seeing, all knowing, through a patented optic!

Pillow, I’m with you on the broken glasses fear. The last two pairs broke, leaving me both times negotiating an eye exam and finding goodish-looking frames while half-blind, and a migraine to boot. (blindness and a visa bill from hell have that effect)

felixBC
felixBC
9 years ago

VPN, as in virtual personal network? Sounds complex, unless you’re good at that sort of thing. Which I gather he is, when he isn’t wasting all his talent on being angry instead. As soon as he flunks out he can devote himself full time to nursing grievances. That will end well.

Jezebel on leering? I’ll have to go look…I’ve been following the Trayvon backlash and the Rue/Thresh/Cinna “what do you mean they were black in the book?” haters.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

I spent six months without glasses once. Trying to keep things clean in a restaurant when you can’t see is hell. Everyone was all” well your vision can’t be that bad, you don’t squint”. There’s zero point in squinting when all I can see is some colored blur regardless.

felixBC
felixBC
9 years ago

Aw, crap. Pillow, that’s awful. 6 months. I never understand why glasses aren’t covered by health care, it’s not like people can function properly with impaired vision. I’m endlessly grateful for health care coverage up here in Canada–not having massive bills to pay for coverage mean I can live more securely on my rather low salary than people can in the States.

Not that glasses are covered, but not having those bills means that when something expensive happens, I can deal with it. It is possible to *create* advantages that everyone enjoys, instead of leaving people to be affected catastrophically and disproportionately across the economic spectrum. I’d like to see any lawmaker or judge voting against health care coverage go a day without their glasses, let alone 6 months.

Xanthë
9 years ago

felix, I agree the admission of being bipolar doesn’t fit… but for that matter, “matriarchy” also said over on Pharyngula that he had only visited AVfM for the first time the day he posted there about our ‘friend’ lol. So adding a lie (if it is one) isn’t inconsistent with this identification.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Vision care really ought to be considered part of any basic healthcare package. Apart from anything else, having a bunch of people wandering around without the vision care that they need is dangerous, since some of those people will presumably have to drive, operate machinery, etc.

felixBC
felixBC
9 years ago

Xanthë, I’m more worried that it does fit. I’d rather he be cranky and immature, and easily fixed. Isn’t a bipolar diagnosis pretty serious? But, yeah, lying. Or, at least, being inconsistent in multiple identities in what’s a pretty small coterie of keyboarding misogynists.

Cassandra, I figured out which one you meant. And I’m ignoring that globe&mail article with all my (embarrassed canadian) heart. I think sometimes we’re not so sexist up here in the north, but then I remember Willie Pickton and the police forces that ignored the disappearances of 50 women, yes, 50, and I know we’re just as bad as anywhere.

BlackBloc
BlackBloc
9 years ago

I just have to walk past the Polytechnique every day to remember Lepine and therefore the fact that Canada, and Quebec, isn’t better than the USA.

I have feminist friends who receive frequent letters telling them “you will be to blame when comes the next Marc Lepine”. For some reason these people are still at large even though the police claim they’re really taking it seriously (yeah, right… they barely care if some F4J activist blocks a bridge, if 200000 students do though, that’s ground for non-stop negative coverage in the press and all the glibertarians pontificating on how students are greedy for protesting against tuition hikes).

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@Cassandra

The Globe and Mail article that Jez was referring to is creepy as fuck. “lively calves” what does that even mean? the way it was written had a roissy-ish tone.

Why is it so hard for some men to understand the difference between casually looking at someone and leering at them like prey? I check out men and do it inconspicuously enough but still manage to get a good look.

And all these angry young men trolling the articles on gender, trolling women’s websites, always regurgitating the same victim-men statistics….what are they doing to solve these issues? where is the meeting to start a suicide hotline? where is the organization to improve work safety standards? where is the fundraising to raise awareness on men’s health issues?

It doesn’t exist because they don’t actually care. All they care about is using statistics and twisting them around to justify anger at feminism and women, and trolling forums bitterly because the real issue always seems to come down to their right to be an entitled prick…to leer at women, to fuck whoever they please, and so on. They always try to come off as “bitches ain’t shit” but the amount of time and energy they spend thinking about women, ranting at women, and judging women proves the exact opposite.

Buttman
Buttman
9 years ago

If he put together a list of all the Jews in high places he would anti-Semitic. But this kind of race baiting is a-okay.

Race baiting is a common tactic that feminists use to conquer and divide. Just look at the inequalities for minority men and minority women in education, incarceration rates, life expectancy. It’s just easier to blame Whitey.

Speaking of blaming Whitey… that’s pretty much what is happening in the Martin shooting. If Zimmerman would have been elected Governor or President then he would be “Hispanic”. Since he shot an unarmed youth then he is White.

Buttman
Buttman
9 years ago

“It’s a natural reaction when confronted on one’s privilege to go on the defensive at first. However if you can manage to get past that and actually listen and employ empathy, and then step back and look at your situation with the neat new lens given to you, your privilege becomes glaringly obvious.”

This is the most ironic comment ever considering feminism exists in Western society where women have the most privileged existence in the entire world.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@Buttman

so do American men you dumb fuck. If you have all the time to spend on your computers trolling feminist blogs and news articles you disagree with, me thinks your lives aren’t as horrible as you make them out to be.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Can someone explain to me how Hispanic went from being a description of language to a description of race?

Pam
Pam
9 years ago

I do believe we have an MRAL sighting on the Barry Nolan article: Saurons Contact Lens:

Yep, he was outed by Shaenon:

Oh, good god, MRAL. Get off the computer and get some fresh air. I’m begging you.

Barry, sorry. This guy, like most of the dudes arguing with you here, is a regular troll on feminist websites and a walking illustration of your article.

I guess the upside of men’s rights guys spending 90% of their time attacking feminists on the Internet is they have no time to do anything else.

SauronsContactLens replied:

How did you find me?!? I’m not trying to troll, anyway. I think I’m being reasonable. I just didn’t like the wording of the article. I can verify that a white male’s life can suck.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Wow, he just can’t help himself and no matter how often you explain the theory to him….

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I love MRAL’s “how did you find me?” Uh, because you’re pretty one-note and we’re not stupid, kid.

Rutee Katreya
9 years ago

Can someone explain to me how Hispanic went from being a description of language to a description of race?

It was decided that the predominantly mestizo population that arose after the murder of the first peoples was insufficiently white, and racists have been jackasses to them ever since.

Is this seriously not known?

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

Oh glasses, I spent all of Grade 12 without mine because my parents were still back in Africa and I didn’t want to make my uncle pay for them. I eagerly await the day that OHIP covers vision care.

@pillowinhell

I don’t know how it happened, but I’ve seen Hispanic used interchangeably with Latino/a since I was a teen.

Race baiting is a common tactic that feminists use to conquer and divide. Just look at the inequalities for minority men and minority women in education, incarceration rates, life expectancy. It’s just easier to blame Whitey.

I like how the rolls think POC are so stupid that we just sit and listen to what other people say and then go “blame Whitey” like good little lemmings. We can’t look around and see the discrimination for ourselves, no Sir.

And how stupid do you have to be to post this:

Just look at the inequalities for minority men and minority women in education, incarceration rates, life expectancy. It’s just easier to blame Whitey.

in the same thread after Myoo’s:

Except that black women are also imprisoned in greater proportions than white women.

and Rutee’s:

Because they have more priors and fewer extenuating circumstances, on average. It’s only evidence of oppression if you have evidence that an equivalent number of crimes are actually being committed (Such as various studies on black ‘crime’; Even though white people make up a majority of the population, and are far more likely than black or latino men to do drugs individually, black and latino men make up the majority of possession convictions)

Tell me Buttman, do you say this shit to POCs offline as well? And if so, how hard do they laugh at you? Or do you say nothing out of fear for your teeth?

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Canadians know white people are jackasses and genocidal maniacs in general…our history lessons however focus on white, non german Canadian history. About all the not Canadian history I got was the usual grade four look Indians live in teepees and wear feathers and the War of 1812 where we kicked US ass. So, not a lot of attention paid to elsewhere and not much attention paid to the very real problems of race. In grafde six we watched Roots. But the way it was done was to show how ignorant and cruel Americans are compared to us angelic Canadians.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Rutee

Has it always been in use? I didn’t grow up in N America, so maybe that affected it, but I’d always heard latino/a until a year or two after I moved to Canada. Latino/a is still the most commonly used here, but I do see Hispanic somewhat often too.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Rutee, a lot of things aren’t known when you live as a white person in a white small town and a nation that doesn’t want to look at the shit its doing. I have huge fails of knowledge when it comes to anything involving POC and am working to remediate that.

I find it strange to refer to a huge group of people spanning two continents as one race. Although, I think that trend is making its way up here.

ithiliana
9 years ago

This relates somewhat back to my comment earlier: I don’t see “Hispanic” as a racial category in the US (though people can use it that way). I do know (living in Texas) that the terminologies of HIspanic, Latino/a, and Chicano/a often mean very different things in various contexts:

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/cdp/7/2/115/

http://www.elboricua.com/latino_hispanic.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-latino-chicano-and-hispanic.htm

The issue isn’t what the “right” (single) term is, but what the population and people you’re talking to/about tend to wish (including identifying the contested issue).

SImilar problems arise with “Asian” and “American Indian” or “Native American” (these are umbrella terms for hugely diverse cultures and language groups).

Cotton Pony Wrangler
Cotton Pony Wrangler
9 years ago

This all, of course, begs the question that “race” is a category with any meaning. A couple of years ago, I found the page from the Ellis Island registry from when my grandmother came over. In the “Race” column, they wrote “Southern Italian.”

ithiliana
9 years ago

Pillowinhell; I think some of the current problems arise from people’s tendency to assume “ethnicity” (which refers to culture) is equivalent to “race” and use it in that way.

In the US, it’s even wonkier when you realize that the categories for race and ethnicity have changed every time the US census has been given:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4805&page=372

Go back to SHakespeare’s time, and the English considered the Irish and the French to be different races (and ditto)–so the meanings and connotations of ‘race’ have been very fluid because they’re socially constructed (but naturalized by that same ideology).

ithiliana
9 years ago

Cotton: “undesirable” European immigrants (Italians and Irish, especially, and especially poor) (and CATHOLIC) were often considered to be a different “race” than WASPs — it’s not that there is no meaning–social construction is reality (i.e. race is socially constructed, but that means people believe it exists, and racism is part of the idea that there is more than one human race). But meanings change.

I gather eastern European immigrants to the US were also considered undesirable as a race as well.

See: How the Irish Became White

http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/white13.htm

ithiliana
9 years ago

Re US racial categories: I don’t agree with all the claims here, but it’s a good overview of different terminologies:

http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w188/4terms.htm

And just to blow your minds: racists will find a way. Texas attorneys using “Canadian” as code for “racial slur for black person.”

https://theframeproblem.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/is-the-term-canadian-the-new-code-word-for-racist-references-to-black-people/

makomk
makomk
9 years ago
Reply to  Shadow

@Shadow: Your focus is interesting here because the author of this piece is actually right about one thing; he’s benefitted hugely from white male privilege. He’s been able to travel the world reporting and shaping his reader’s opinions, he’s been an advisor to Congress, he has a massive amount of power which is inextricably linked to the fact he’s white and male, and he’s shown no willingness to give up any of his own power and privilege. For some reason though the fact that he is willing to use his position of power to tell other white men – many of whom he’s priviliged over via other axes of oppression such as class – to shut up because they don’t have it that bad seems to count as willingness to act against his own white privilege.

Note that there are no qualifiers in his piece – it tells all white men that they should shut up and that any forms of oppression they think they might be experiencing are in their imagination. Not only that, but his entire argument relies on treating class as irrelevant so he can conflate his experiences as someone who’s part of an incredibly tiny, incredibly privileged minority in terms of class with the experiences of others that aren’t so privileged (which is to say nearly everyone!)

@Myoo: well yes. Men get imprisoned more often than women, black people get imprisoned more often than white people, combine the two and you end up with a truly shocking number or black men in prison. (It would be a fairly typical example of intersectionality in action if it wasn’t for the inconvenient problem of men being un-oppressable.)

Viscaria
Viscaria
9 years ago

Poor downtrodden MRAL said, “I work hard.” I’m sure you do, man! White guys tell me all the time about how hard they’ve worked to get where they are, and I believe them! My white guy dad grew up very poor, and worked his ass off to make it through an engineering degree, get a good job, keep a good job, move up the corporate ladder, all of that. He worked super, super hard. Thing is, a woman, a POC, a disabled person, they could work just as hard and accomplish just as much, but their contributions aren’t going to be valued as highly. There’s a really big difference between “white men get whatever they want without effort” (what MRAL and other guys think we’re saying) and “white men put in effort and get rewarded for it at a much higher rate than anybody else” (the reality).

Cotton Pony Wrangler
Cotton Pony Wrangler
9 years ago

it’s not that there is no meaning–social construction is reality

No, that’s fair. A better way of expressing my point might have been “whether race is a category with any fixed meaning” or biological meaning or somesuch. Mainly just addressing the drift from linguistic-cultural community to “race” that Pillow raised.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@makomk

People may differ, so the following is just AFAIC. I don’t expect Nolan (or any other White person) to give up their jobs or their wealth in the name of acting against their privilege. Privilege is something society bestows on you, so it is by no means the White man’s fault that he is privileged. Working against your privilege refers to speaking out against the unfair, institutional privilege within society, and fighting against the structures that keep it there. One way is to support initiatives. Like I said before, affirmative action is one. Yet how many White people STILL think that Affirmative Action means that companies have to hire underqualified minorities over more qualified White folks? White men, as a class, have no room to claim oppression because being White and male bestows them with a LOT of privilege. Poor white men are oppressed on account of being poor, but they still receive privileges for being White and male that the non-White, non-male poor don’t receive. Ditto for gay White men, or disabled White men. And when poor White men start complaining about Affirmative Action, and immigration, and how those POC are running aroung committing crimes and making their neighbourhoods unsafe (completely ignoring the privilege that keeps them out of jails, or even out of crime in general), they are no longer allies but oppressors. The reason privilege is brought up is because the playing fields are uneven beyond the oppression that any one person or group faces and, when we don’t acknowledge that, we simply continue the oppressive systems that we have.

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
9 years ago

Note that there are no qualifiers in his piece – it tells all white men that they should shut up and that any forms of oppression they think they might be experiencing are in their imagination. Not only that, but his entire argument relies on treating class as irrelevant so he can conflate his experiences as someone who’s part of an incredibly tiny, incredibly privileged minority in terms of class with the experiences of others that aren’t so privileged (which is to say nearly everyone!)

That’s not what Nolan said at all. He never said that rich people don’t have class privilege. Nobody has argued that white men can’t be oppressed for being economically disadvantaged, trans, gay, disabled, or any other axis of oppression. All he said was that white men are not oppressed for their race and gender. White people have white privilege. Men have male privilege. White men have white privilege and male privilege, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be oppressed on another axis.

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
9 years ago

Oops, ninja’ed by Shadow.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

So, Canadian is the new n word? Cool. We’ve benn calling white racists down there dumb yanks since forever.

I personally laughed my ass off over the senators down there getting the vapours over Canadian terrorists. Since when has being offered Timmys coffee and some maple syrup by a friendly and possibly homesick Canuck a terrifying experience?

And then there wasa the idiot who wanted to nuke Canada over some really stupid shit,,,

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Makomk, you are entirely missing the point here. First, so long as you want to focus on class issues(which are important) you give racists an excuse to overlook the bigger issue of racism, which overall has a bigger impact on POC. You can be wealthy and Black or Hispanic, and you’ll be treated better but you still won’t be treated the same as a white person when it comes to jobs, education, housing, medical treatment and most importantly,how your character as an individual person will be percieved.

At least this guy is aware that he has privilege. And that’s not something easily given up since other people will foist it on him. Unless of course he becomes poor. Do you really expect him to make that choice? If he’s aware of privilege and actively working towards undoing the harms of racism how will he do that as part of the unwashed masses?

And you are still overlooking the fact that even the most downtrodden of white people have it easier than POC. There are likely many cases for white men where this is not true and privilege does not apply to them, nor are they expected to make sacrifices for benefits they don’t have.

Lady Zombie
Lady Zombie
9 years ago

“It’s a natural reaction when confronted on one’s privilege to go on the defensive at first. However if you can manage to get past that and actually listen and employ empathy, and then step back and look at your situation with the neat new lens given to you, your privilege becomes glaringly obvious.”

This is the most ironic comment ever considering feminism exists in Western society where women have the most privileged existence in the entire world.

I was mainly referring to white privilege. If you’re white, you have it. I’m white and I have it. But now that I’m aware of it, I see how pervasive it is, and it’s bullshit.

But please, expound upon all us Western, spoiled, pampered princesses and how good we have it and how shit you have it. Sounds fascinating.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

In his own defence, Trent said he honestly thought there had been Canadians on the jury and did not understand the negative connotation of the word.

OMG, I can’t breathe for laughing!

Also

The whole routine is funny but 3:50 is relevant to the article. As you can see, Canadians already know what’s up.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Lady Zombie

But please, expound upon all us Western, spoiled, pampered princesses and how good we have it and how shit you have it. Sounds fascinating.

You would think so, but sadly… Well, you’ll see

Lady Zombie
Lady Zombie
9 years ago

@Shadow I know. I was being sarcastic.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Lady Zombie

Ahhh, makes sense. I have to admit, Tom resparked my naive excitement for a while, but then he fizzled out so fast that I’m not even certain if that excitement was just a dream 🙁

Pam
Pam
9 years ago

I eagerly await the day that OHIP covers vision care.

Don’t hold your breath waiting, Shadow…. OHIP covered routine eye exams for all ages under any/all circumstances up until 8 or 9 years ago, when they stopped coverage (except under prescribed circumstances) for those between the ages of 20 and 64. I can’t imagine that they’ll start implementing coverage for prescription lenses anytime soon.

Pam
Pam
9 years ago

Poor downtrodden MRAL said, “I work hard.” I’m sure you do, man! White guys tell me all the time about how hard they’ve worked to get where they are, and I believe them! My white guy dad grew up very poor, and worked his ass off to make it through an engineering degree, get a good job, keep a good job, move up the corporate ladder, all of that. He worked super, super hard. Thing is, a woman, a POC, a disabled person, they could work just as hard and accomplish just as much, but their contributions aren’t going to be valued as highly. There’s a really big difference between “white men get whatever they want without effort” (what MRAL and other guys think we’re saying) and “white men put in effort and get rewarded for it at a much higher rate than anybody else” (the reality).

That kinda puts me in mind of Evil Penis’ comment at the linked article:

I think a lot of people on here are confusing privilege with achievement.

White men ‘get’ to lead countries.

White men ‘get’ to be CEOs.

White men ‘get’ to earn more.

These are not privileges they are achievements… Did these men not work hard to ‘get’ where they are?
Or did affirmative action put them there? hmmm

Yeah, some did and some did not (eg., transfer of wealth/position/power through inheritance). And then let’s forget how the institutionalized (both secular and religious) discrimination that did not (and in some areas, still does not) allow for anyone other than white males to be put on the path to achievement for all their hard work could be viewed as a type of “affirmative action” style plan.

princessbonbon
9 years ago

Since when has being offered Timmys coffee and some maple syrup by a friendly and possibly homesick Canuck a terrifying experience?

Their reaction has a bit more to do with this than with being offered maple syrup. My problem with the idiocy over what is going on here on the southern end of the US has to do with the fact that when an actual terrorist was found to be crossing into the US to blow up LAX, the reaction by the right wing nutters was nothing like their reaction to poor people crossing a desert in search of work that the right wing policies caused them to have to do. But the reaction was not made in a total vacuum and the Senators had reason to be concerned because that is part of their job.

And Hispanic is the term used mostly down here in AZ when it comes to the ALEC written hate law enforcement legislation.

Viscaria
Viscaria
9 years ago

@Pam:

Yeah, some did and some did not (eg., transfer of wealth/position/power through inheritance).

Good point. I totally skipped talking about the people who actually do get whatever they want without any effort, a group that is predominantly (though obviously not exclusively) white and male. I concentrated on the “I worked harrrrrrd for what I’ve got so I can’t possibly be privileged!” group of people because, as a University student, a lot of my classmates fall into that camp.

Viscaria
Viscaria
9 years ago

I heard you like blockquotes, so I put a blockquote in your blockquote so you can quote while you quote.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Okay…we get some real swell people over here. How long are refuge claiments detained before they are allowed in the US and under what conditions? Canadians aren’t going to be happy about considering that, especially when the vast majority are law abiding people who want to work for something better.

The other thing which leaps to mind is..why is the US such a target? I mean, these groups are here in Canada and could wreak havok here. What springs to mind is that yes, the Canadian government needs to weed out criminals and terrorists better. I don’t think there’s much argument here on that. However, the US needs to do something about why they are such a target. Although sometimes I think the US takes the hit for some of the shit Canada and Canadian corporations pull or enable.