Last week Sen. Susan Collins delivered a crucial vote to confirm Brett Kavanagh to the Supreme Court.

A “hailstorm” ensued; the acrimony and understanding that how we do politics isn’t working. The challenge is to turn anger into peaceful protests and voting; accosting Collins or getting in the faces of politicians you don’t like is not only rude, it doesn’t work.

It is clear this tactic didn’t move the needle in the Kavanagh confirmation; it perhaps backfired and fired up the Trump base. Fighting fire with fire is one way. Michelle Obama’s mantra of “When they go low, we go high” is another path.

The column last week sparked interest, but the interest sidetracked when a comment was posted about white male privilege (WMP).

It is surprising the passion of those who abhor the concept. Now that our president has tweeted he is sorry for men in this country (getting accused of sexual misconduct), we see the conundrum.

Kavanagh, like the Kennedys and Bushes, grew up elite and perhaps entitled; while they enjoyed white male privilege, it is only one facet of the concept. Do they get away with stuff that people of color or whites in lower economic strata don’t? Yes.

This example is a small piece of what WMP is.

All complaint comments came from white males who believed they worked for what they have and think it BS to say white males have an edge.

It’s not that all Americans don’t have a chance to step up; it’s that whites and males have a step up to begin the race. In order to get ahead, white men have to work hard; the competition is very steep to succeed for these white males, who get fired up with activists like Jordan Peterson rallying them into believing they are at a disadvantage with affirmative action equating to the notion that the best qualified for a job or college don’t get the nod because minorities get an unfair advantage.

Peterson has his rallying points, is respectful and concise in his teachings, and worth listening to, if you want the other side.

What’s concerning are those who dismiss WMP, without understanding what it is about.

It’s not about “working your ass off" or being “discriminated against.”

It is about objectively realizing that being born a white male gives a genuine leg up, just like being born with both legs gives you a leg up over someone who doesn’t have legs that work. Can both succeed? Of course. We’ve had a president of color and a president in a wheelchair.

Consider this: when a female running friend comes to an unfamiliar trail in the woods and sees a lone car, she does not take that trail, whereas I don’t think twice. When most women go to their cars in the back parking lot at night, they are on high alert; keys out, taking stock of their surroundings. As a white male, I’m trying to remember where I parked and whether there’s a ballgame on the radio.

As a white male, I go to Walmart to wander the aisles. My dark-skinned friend enters and is followed the moment he walks in; he is one of the nicest people I know, but that doesn’t matter to the store detectives whose antennae go up immediately. The same goes for a routine police stop; I’m going to my glove compartment looking for my registration as I pull over. He sits, careful that both hands remain on the steering wheel, in full sight, until the officer asks him for his license and registration.

It’s the small things that really aren’t small that come with WMP. Not sure why you would argue passionately and need to tell me how hard you’ve worked for everything you’ve got in your life.

I know about hard work; but that's not the point

A Facebook friend commented: “I was working designing software for pilot training. I was in my 40’s at a temporary job; computer software not my thing. I was paired with a 25 year old female who was a software wizard. We were asked to go to another department to answer questions on a job we were working on for them. The male questioner, every time he spoke, spoke directly to me; my female colleague might as well have been invisible. That’s the moment I ‘got it’. I held an advantage because I was taken as an authority over the much-more-knowledgeable co-worker. Life was easier for me because of this.”


“If ever the time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

— Samuel Adams, revolutionary (1722-1803)