The White Suburbanite Male’s Guide to Empathy

Recent studies show that not everyone is a white male. No, seriously. Here’s a handy field guide with helpful tips on how to talk to these exotic persons without eventually having to make a public apology. 

Posted on by Greg Benevent
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Hello fellow white men! If you could please step to the front.Oh! You’re already there. Since we, you know, make up the majority of America. I am one of you, I’m as white as the pure-driven snow as it hangs on a pair of truck nutz.  


I believe my resume speaks for itself. 

Today, I’d like to talk about “empathy,’ or as it’s known in the original Latin, “simple ways to not always be a jerk.”

 

There Are People Other Than Just White Men

Editor’s Note: The “Say whaaaaaaaat?” was audible from miles away. 

Shocking, I know. Scientific studies suggest they have “feelings” as well. These are called “Women.”  

 

Reconnaissance believes they seem to come in many colors and shapes. Reports indicate their experiences are different, particularly online, where they can deal with a harassment that we totally don’t. Raise your hand if you know what to do if you talk to a woman online?  


 

Sigh. I should’ve asked you to put both hands up. Come on guys, let’s at least pretend we’re better than that. Just because we’re online (and you’re alone when you send the message) doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. If you met a woman in person, would you immediately start harassing her, or sending her a picture of your John Mayer? No.  


Alas, not every part of your body is a wonderland. 

An important thing to keep in mind when reacting to one of these people who happen to not be a white male is: 

You Don’t Have to Have And/or Give An Opinion on Everything.

Not many of us are doctors, or scientists. If you aren’t a doctor, and you saw a doctor operating on someone, would you immediately throw in your opinion?


Look, doctors, I’m sure you guys did a good job at “doctor class” or whatever, but I really don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to surgeon people. You should listen to me, I’ve had a stomach for like, a long time. 

Of course you wouldn’t! Because those doctors are professionals. Same goes for people who aren’t white men. When you see a woman, or a man that isn’t white, remember: they’re professionals, too. They’re professional at being women, or people who aren’t white. Yes? I see we have a question in the back.  

"But Greg,” (covers self in Axe body spray) “those doctors went through years of training. That doesn’t really apply to these women,” (eats a pumpkin spice cronut).

Maybe the school analogy is a bit forced, but the women do know things you don’t and will never know. Their experiences and viewpoints matter, and thus shouldn’t be talked over.  


“Hmmm…” (somehow covers self in even more Axe body spray) “I’ll have to think about that.” (plays a video game for eight hours, while occasionally mumbling: “I gotta get more stuff done.”) 

I’m glad we had that talk. 

Remember, there are no stupid questions, only… well no, that’s a lie.

However, keep in mind:

Don’t Go Too Far.

That doesn’t mean that you have to assume that just because someone isn’t white means they’re always right, and you’re always wrong. Nothing hurts from just listening, for a second, and thinking: “Is it a good thing in my life that people think I’m a jerk?”

Sometimes, the answer is yes.

Here’s a simple test, one of these people is worth sending a mean email to. The other is not. Choose wisely.


White Guy Advanced Tip, Sponsored by Mountain Dew: It’s the one who didn’t kill lots and lots of people. 

And, if you are going to be respectful, or an ally, don’t be a pain there, either.

Let’s put this in terms that we white guys can understand. Think of women and not-white men like they’re Metallica.  


This might not be too easy. Take all the time you need.

You can love Metallica, you can be the biggest Metallica fan in the world… but if you knew any of the members of the band, or any of the people whose jobs, livelihoods and lives revolved around the band, you wouldn’t tell those people 24/7 how you never go four hours in a day without listening to “Creeping Death.”

The same goes for women and non-white people. You can be a feminist and all about equality, but they probably don’t want to hear you talk about that all the time. Or “Creeping Death,” probably.  

Really, we’d prefer you treat us as equals. Except for Lars. Burning chariots of Satan, what a diva. Or, in his case, the male form of the diva, called a “Napster.” 

A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way

Recently I was doing some standup comedy, and a woman approached me after the show to tell me that she’d liked how a couple of my jokes were a little bit feminist. I hadn’t felt that way, I just thought they were OK jokes, and then I remembered… the two comics before me had both done jokes similar to: “women don’t seem to like it when I tell rape jokes” and “what’s wrong with rape jokes?”

Neither of them were talking to the woman I was after the show.  


“You’ve given me a lot to think about.” (Deep in contemplation, puts socks on, and then sandals).

So that’s it for now, fellow white guys! Let’s awkwardly high-five each other on the way out of here, on our way to a hockey game.  

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