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Affadavit From A Middle-Aged Man

In the case of the White American Male versus the rest of the world, I, under penalty of perjury, declare and state:

1) I am 47 years old. I was born to middle-class parents of European descent in the Northeastern United States. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you consider how most of the world lives—and then we almost belong to the 1 percent.

2) When I was a kid, my dad mocked women drivers. Geraldine Ferraro ran for vice president when I was 12 then 13. He had some things to say about her, too.

3) I grew up in a house where my dad went off to work and my mother stayed home with the kids. But when we were in high school, and she decided to go off to college and then to divinity school, where she got a masters and became the pastor of a church. That was a good thing for me to see. When she took the pulpit in another state, my dad moved with her and dealt with a longer commute. That was a good thing for me to see, too.

4) Now I live in a house where I go off to work and my wife stays home with a kid. For some time we looked at each other and asked: How did things turn out this way? How did we end up so traditional? Are we sending the wrong message to our child? What we came around to was that she decided—insisted—that her work is at home.

5) I try to remember that there are things I simply cannot know. There are lives and challenges I can’t comprehend because of the life I was born into, no matter what I read or watch.

6) My father did nothing around the house. Dishes, cooking, laundry—nada. I’m alive to that fact, but still, I fall down on the job. What I try to do is something my wife and I learned while we were trying to figure out how to live with each other. It’s called mirroring and validating. It’s pretty simple. You sit and you listen. If she says, “I’m pissed that you didn’t help with the dishes.” I say, “It sounds like you’re angry about the dishes.” That’s mirroring. Validating: “Yeah, I can see why you’d be annoyed. You did all the cooking.”

7) I’m not saying it’s easy. But if you can do it, the toxicity drains out of the room.

8) Like fighting is any easier?

9) A friend of mine, who’s half Filipino, had a difficult conversation with a white woman who insisted that no one in this country could understand racism if they weren’t black. White guys are angry about becoming increasingly marginalized. But we aren’t the only ones saying dumb, incendiary shit.

10) My wife’s work, partly, is renovating our house. It’s hard work. Sometimes on weekends I’ll pick up a power tool or some hammer or something. And what I’ll do with it is what she tells me to do. And if people notice it looks great, she gets the credit.

11) My son is 10, there’s no point in telling him the world is tilting away from him, that someone wrote a book called “The End of Men.” Why? Be realistic: His future is still loaded with opportunity. I ask him to above all else be a good person, and it’s interesting: He has so much empathy. He doesn’t know how to mirror or validate yet. But in the best case, he might not need to. And then he will be my best contribution to the world.

12) Do I feel frustrated with how the world is tilting away? Eh. You get dealt a pair of aces most of the evening in a poker game, you can’t get mad if someone else hits on a full house.

13) You can get mad, obviously. Show me how it helps with that pile of chips in the middle of the table.

Chips_on_the_table_Unilevr_ogilvydo

 

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