Saturday, May 27, 2023

Have You Seen This Man?

I fear nothing so much as a man who is witty all day long.

- - Madame de Sevigne

Of all the things I was supposed to memorize in school, it was often tiny unrelated snippets that stuck instead. Oh, how I loved this quote from the first time I read it!

Today I offer a corollary:

There is nothing so dangerous as as a white man who knows everything. 

No, let me clarify that. It isn’t that the man actually knows everything, but that he makes himself a brand. He is The White Man Who Knows Everything.

(This fellow most likely wouldn’t include the word “white” because for him white is the default state. But trust me, he is white.)

I feel certain you have met him.

He is the man who grinds a public meeting to a halt during the question and answer period because what he has to say “isn’t really a question, but more of a statement.”

He belittles women on social media - - gaslights, manipulates, mansplains, just plain talks over them. 

In intimate relationships he is the same. The White Man Who Knows Everything can be intelligent and charming. But he is an abuser.

He equates his own personal needs with the pressing needs of everyone. If he wants it, that’s what is needed. Keep in mind that for him the end always justifies the means.

He must be in charge, or he will make his whole personality about how others have denied him unfairly.

He uses his privilege and his whiteness to trample on others while denying that he has any. 

It is a great blessing to the rest of us that there are not more of these fellows in the world. They wreak havoc wherever they go. He may not destroy worlds, mind you - -  perhaps merely relationships, groups of friends or coworkers, or a night at the bar. 

But it’s important to remember that when he slips through your defenses there will always be a price to pay. And he often seem to escape unscathed from the consequences of his actions.

Yes, this is about Howard County. No, I am not going to name any names. (Sadly, it would be more of a list than a one-and-done.)  I’d rather raise a larger issue: do you know how to recognize someone like this? Do you understand how he operates? Do you know how to protect yourself or how to walk away if necessary?

There’s a certain tingle of danger I feel when I recognize this in someone. I have learned to trust it. In general I am the kind of person who wants to believe the best in everyone and give them a fair chance. But, when I bump into this fellow, the boundaries come up.

This is not an unfair prejudice. It is self-preservation.

The White Man Who Knows Everything can be found on both sides of the political spectrum, in your workplace, or married to a friend. Very few (if any) read this blog and they are responsible for 100 per cent of the comments that read, “You can’t say that!”

Have you seen This Man?

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