Look! Up in the social hierarchy — He’s Caucasian! He’s cisgender! He’s…White Man!
Born in Connecticut to upper middle class professionals, White Man was gifted from birth with the powers of racial and gender privilege that aid in his noble quest to maintain hegemony and defend traditional values. But our hero must stay ever vigilant or risk losing everything to his patriarch-nemeses.
Fear not, for White Man has these astounding powers at his disposal:
X-ray vision? That’s nothing! With his Male Gaze, White Man is able to objectify countless women with just a single glance. Male Gaze isn’t just about his pleasure though; it reminds his foes of their inferior status and vulnerability. And can he be blamed for ogling women on transit, at the office and in virtually every other public space? Just look at his rivals’ revealing outfits!
Like Bruce Wayne, White Man’s inherited wealth and material resources help keep him one step ahead of the competition. Wonder Woman may have the invisible jet, but White Man has the Glass Ceiling in his arsenal. Those extra 23 cents on the dollar keep White Man financially safe and sound.
White Man can lob microaggressions to disarm and disempower his enemies without being detected. And when his casual sexism and constant interruptions are noticed, White Man can artfully deflect accountability with his trademark catch phrase: “Geez, lighten up. Can’t you take a joke?”
White Man’s grandfather relied on the power of White Flight to escape The Other, but today’s White Man prefers to transform historic neighborhoods through gentrification. Loft apartments, pop-up shops and farm-to-table restaurants allow White Man to thrive in hostile territory and weather surging property values.
Shhh, did you hear that? It’s the subtle, coded messages of dog whistle politics! White Man can instantly decipher racist and sexist subtext that seems perfectly innocuous on its face. That Hilary Clinton sure is shrill (wink!) and Obama wants to line the pockets of welfare queens (nudge, nudge). Plus, thanks to nationalist politicians and assimilationist laws, White Man can speak the universal language — “proper” English.
Cracker, dick, honky — slurs bounce off of White Man like bullets against Superman because they aren’t backed by the historical injustices of racism, homophobia and sexism. Sticks and stones may break his bones, but words can never hurt White Man. And White Man is almost physically indestructible too. When walking home from the bar alone at 2:00 a.m., White Man isn’t scared to take a shortcut down a dark alley. He’s not in danger; statistically speaking, White Man is danger.
Thanks to generations of privilege, White Man is capable and independent, but he doesn’t have to go it alone! White Man can count on law enforcement, academia, the courts, mainstream media, Christianity and nearly every major social institution across the country to have his back. And hey, come on, White Man has black friends. That’s why he feels comfortable stereotyping people of color and casually dropping the N-word when co-opting rap music.
So long as affirmative action doesn’t drain him of his power, White Man will continue to defend the all-American principles of truth, justice and victim-blaming. But just who is White Man? He’ll never tell! Because publicly admitting his privilege would be revealing his secret identity.
What’s that you say? No one has told that woman on the subway that she should smile more? This looks like a job for White Man! Up, up, and away!