Old White Men

Old White Men

Blaney Pridgen

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

I’m an old white man.  I am neither proud nor ashamed of that.  It’s just who I am.  Lately there’s been some talk about old white men and how they disproportionately show up in the halls of leadership.  That’s not a bad conversation.  I understand the consternation many may have about that, especially among people of color and women.  I’m all for anybody doing anything they lawfully and civilly can about that disproportion.  I totally believe in democracy and justice.  I have often found myself preferring the administrations of an intelligent woman of any age over that of a stupid old white man.  I am, after all, well acquainted with old white men and their often inexplicable ways.  As to people of color, we are all people of color.  I see no difference whatsoever among smart persons of any race or color.  They have my attention.  I see no difference whatsoever among stupid persons of any race or color.  I tolerate them as long as they are civil.  And whatever category I fall in, smart or stupid or any variation thereof, I appreciate both attention and tolerance as an old white man.

Thinking about the old white man thing, I have some thoughts about the future.  I have personally experienced, not several but many times, families that became much more tolerant about homosexuality when someone in the family “came out”.  Same is true of mixed-race marriage.  This was especially true when it was a grown child or a grandchild in the growing years.  Remember the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”  Grandparents can find love for that kind-of-white or kind-of-brown grandkid.  Honestly, that’s not all that bad a future, and it is the future regardless of what old white men and old black men think.  Back in the early 60’s, I remember the very first time I saw a couple of mixed-race holding hands and laughing.  It was on the mall in front of the Capital in Washington.  I felt like someone had just stuck me with a cattle prod, not all that bad just arresting.  Now, it means nothing more to me than a couple in love having fun.  This is good.  

I have young white men grandsons and grandsons-in-law.  I don’t know for sure, but they are probably a mixed breed politically and everchanging as I was when I was their age.  I may have more changes to come.  I hope they will not become an embittered minority as the old white men of now and the future.  I hope they will become the better angels of a new society, newer and better than the fractured one in which we now struggle.  If so, they will be among the smart ones, looking over their shoulders and calling the stupid ones to come along and quit looking at the past as though it was anything special.