The “Good Men Project” proffers a moralizing piece by John
, “America has a White Male Problem – And It’s Not the One We Think”.
To cut it short, it’s that most white men (he believes) don’t speak up when they are in the company of others who do make racist comments. Or, with more gravity, that white men must drop everything else they are doing on their own and join organized anti-racism to stamp out the problem (coming to a problem specifically with police profiling and then attacks on blacks). It’s a little more complicated now with anti-Asian prejudice arising because of media coverage of China’s national responsibility for the global coronavirus outbreak.
In the past 15 years or so, I have almost never been in the company of people who make obviously disparaging racial remarks, so there is nothing to react to. Back in 2007 (I think) I was at a Thanksgiving dinner where someone made a remark expressing disapproval of the end of segregation, and I was rather shocked but said nothing then.
Back in the 1980s, in Dallas, where I was living at the time, one could hear disparaging remarks occasionally in the workplace, when certain white men believed no black person was within earshot. Once I heard a remarks about DFL pro football games as “My Bl__- v Your Bl__” There was a tendency for employers to leave downtown Dallas or nearby Oak Lawn to move farther north to the Richardson TC school district, to preserve the privileges of de facto segregation. I heard a racist remark from a female landlord when I was moving into a garden apartment in 1979 after moving there. I remember hearing a much worse remark from another female rental agent in Arlington VA in 1971.
By the early 1990s most major employers were pretty good about enforcing rules against personal misconduct at work (at least with salaried professionals) involving making racial (or homophobic) remarks. In the technology workplace, there were many non-white professionals (although often Asian rather than black). I have never belonged to a union, so I don’t know how quickly unions adopted the norms of conduct that were normally expected.
Nevertheless, I wound up being a witness in a lawsuit against my employer in 1996 got racial discrimination after I happened to be the person who moved into his position (“a white male”). While the case is probably still confidential (it was dismissed by a judge) there were, in the complaint, allegations that suggested a more group-oriented or tribal mindset than I am used to. As I have discussed elsewhere, there were some other ironies about my employment moves in the 1990s over “conflict of interest” because I was going to (and did) publish a book about gays in the military.
A more serious issue today seems to be, if you are on a public stage, and you are a white cis male, you should be expected to work publicly for anti-racism (or anti-fluid) causes before you otherwise speak for yourself. This view stems for the view that systemic racism is so invisibly entrenched that it can only be reversed with race-conscious policies that require personal and sometimes pubic and even humiliating sacrifices by (especially) cis white makes. That seems the only way to stamp out this problem, is total solidarity??
There is also an issue when someone perceived as "privilege" refuses to "fight" for others if called upon to do so, when refusal can put whole communities in danger when there are extraordinay external threats.
The video embedded above is pretty explicit and challenging.