My Fellow Whitebreads

Not too long ago my son, for reasons which I must admit elude me, had a DNA test done to see what his genetic ancestry was.  One of the outcomes of that test was to determine that his father was 99.9999% northern European.  I could have told him that without the testing but he wanted some scientific determination.

The point here is that I could not be any more Anglo- Saxon, northern European white male if I tried.  My WASP standing is as clear as can be. My white bread status is complete.

Given that background, I feel very comfortable in telling my fellow white bread American males that it is time for us to relax, take a breath and get over ourselves.  We simply must admit that we are no longer in total control of the sandbox and that in order to pass the test of being an American we must learn to share the use of cultural, political and economic power or, if you will, the American sandbox.

The problem with white male entitlement is that for almost all of us who grew up with it Joni Mitchell got it right.  “You don’t know what you’ve got til its gone”.  Not necessarily an earth shattering insight on her part, but done as part of a great song.

White male dominance of America’s culture, politics and economy has been in place for so long that it became so common that we did not even think about it.  It was just there.  It was how the world worked.

The cracks that began to appear in the monolithic control of the United States by white males after the first and second German wars were harbingers of what was coming, but being in control was such an ingrained part of white male upbringing that they were ignored or laughed about.

What has happened over the last twenty years is that those perceived small cracks in white male control have expanded enough so that it is becoming clear to even the most dense of the boys in control crowd that things are slipping out of their singular direction. The cracks in their control are becoming chasms which must be bridged and not ignored if we are to continue being the great country we are.   This receding level of unchallenged authority  has put a twist in a lot of jockey shorts.

The high levels of anger, personal nastiness, and general angst currently indulged in by a large segment of our white male population comes out of the growing visceral understanding that what has been a  reality in the United States for several hundred years is changing and changing in ways that take away that ingrained and often individually unknown sense of entitlement that  has been one of the major “givens” in American life.  White males no longer have unchallenged final control over what happens in this country. The sharing of power and authority that is fundamentally necessary for our country to thrive and prosper is going to continue to grow.

Get over it.

Robert Lenna

About Robert Lenna

My professional career has been involved in bringing to Maine the financial capital to build our infrastructure of housing, schools, roads, hospitals, colleges, water and sewer districts. As Executive Director of four independent state authorities charged with putting together public financing for hundreds of infrastructure projects I was responsible for bringing billions of dollar into the Maine economy.