What Does the White Man Want?
I was driving around St. Louis last fall, very near Ferguson, where recently a white cop shot dead a black teen.
A black man, V, was waiting at a bus stop alone. I figured I could get him home half an hour earlier than the bus, so I stopped and offered him a ride. His expression went from alert and careful to thinking about it and finally acceptance. He picked up his stuff and got in the car.
V is a hardworking man, headed home from a long day. As we talked, I learned that his entire life experience has been in one locale, North St. Louis.
I asked him what the news is around here and what's going on. I referenced Ferguson.
That got V going. He had a lot to say about race relations – white people, black people, the white cops, the black people being screwed by the white people, getting profiled, people with power. His view of race relations across the country is what he has heard, not what he has observed. It sounds like a formula. A narrative.
The narrative, the Progressive narrative, says the White Man meditates on and obsesses over race and gender, money, winning with the intent of defeating the other guy, owning and oppressing the woman, keeping the races separate and oppressed. He is angry. He is the villain.
The talk and the drive were a fun back-and-forth. I told him my view on race: I don't believe in race or races. The only two distinct groups are men and women. There are only four blood types in the whole world, and chances are that if you cut my hand and V's hand with a knife, the same blood type would drip out. There is only one race: the human race. Noah is the father of us all, and Adam before that. We are not experiencing a biological divide; we are experiencing an ideological divide, and there are people who want us to hate each other.
It blew his mind. He had never heard that before.
The ride ended, and we exchanged phone numbers. Weeks later, we texted Thanksgiving greetings to each other.
Hopefully, I represented the White Man, and more importantly, Jesus, to him in a positive way.
I can't speak for every white man. There are a whole bunch of white males that I totally do not get. Man buns and manscaping are outside my zone.
But I can speak for the basic white man who does basic white man stuff, because I am a BWM. I will read his mind for you.
The BWM does not think about race.
The basic white man almost never thinks about race. Even if he is in the company of other skin cultures in his routine of life, he's relaxed and minding his own business.
Listening to V and social justice warriors, they seem to think that white males are always thinking race and social division. In truth, white men daydream about racial and social group stuff as much as women daydream about earthmoving equipment and table saws.
The BWM does not see people as races. He sees people as individuals.
The basic white man can work with others, or worship with others, or travel with others, and pay it no mind. He's actually practicing Martin Luther King's line, judging by content of character.
If there is a person from another skin context who overtly draws his attention, he notices. Otherwise, he's thinking about the next thing he has to do, and racial stuff is never the next thing.
The BWM highly values safety, order, and peace.
Don't miss it. This is the basic white man's philosophy in motion.
The basic white man mingles easily with people from every skin culture and thinks nothing of it.
It is when the other person interferes with the BWM's safety and order that he will notice and respond.
The BWM seeks a peaceful, clean neighborhood not because he hates other skin colors. He seeks a peaceful neighborhood because he values safety, peace, and order.
For the same reason, the basic white male hates noise. Yelling, disputes, fighting, uncontrolled gunfire, traffic, mobs of people, car sound systems, trains, and other loud noises will force him out.
The BWM wants to be able to go to work, get his stuff, and go home in peace.
The basic white man simply wants to go here and there without risk or disorder. He wants to be left alone. He owns guns as tools to aid in that pursuit.
The BWM is not thinking about racial domination or subjugating other people groups.
That's too much for a guy with a job and a mortgage and a leaky faucet and youth soccer on his mind. His responsibilities keep him in check.
Cultural or world domination he leaves to others.
Beyond safety and order, the basic white man wants just one thing: respect. He will do nothing if you show disrespect from a distance. He will notice and perk up if you defy him on his lawn. He will take it all the way if you enter his personal space.
The BWM does not like the fruit of his work to pay for others who do not work.
That is not a racial thing; it is a moral thing. The basic white man does not like slackers, regardless of their skin color. He sees that work is good and sloth is bad, and therefore the one who makes a lifestyle of receiving taxpayer-funded benefits is bad because he is stealing.
The BWM does think about sex and sexual politics.
But he wants nothing to do with domination and exploitation. He wants to share life with a woman, strength with strength.
The basic white man wants sex, but not more than or uniquely from any other man's skin color. He finds women lovely. He does not want to use a woman; he wants to enjoy and to enjoy back and protect and join together to conquer just this little bit of ground and make life fuller.
The BWM is not angry; he is awakened.
The basic white man is growing in alertness to the world around him. He sees disrespect, disunity, drugs, loss of the nuclear family, and rising government power. He sees taxes and business people losing their jobs for not being politically correct. He hears people talking about taking his guns and his speech.
He sees loss of the freedom to create his own space and keep his own peaceful life. That stirs his attention.
It is not anger; it is interest. Someone has stepped on his lawn, and now he cares.
The basic white man may eventually recede out of influence.
That will leave a vacuum.
The country will then lack self-control, quiet and orderly leadership, objectivity, strength, quiet professionalism, sound infrastructure and productive farming, important vocational and industrial skill sets, family order, safety, protection, benign government, definition of roles, and societal cohesion.
And we will wish that we had not done it.
Lee Whitworth is a pastor, church-planter, writer, and furniture-maker in the Mountain West. He and his wife Diana have eight children.