Faux Pas

Author: • January 6, 2016 • Short Stories

“What is that?”

“The white male perspective is becoming less and less valued.”

“That’s a generalized statement,” said Aaron.  “You’re blanketing all white men with one statement.”

“Hold on, I’m not finished,” I said.  “What I mean is that for all of America’s history, the white male perspective has been regarded as the universal perspective.  That’s why calling it the ‘white male perspective’ feels off because it’s always been referred to as normal.  We’re taught that only white males are capable of being objective.  That’s shaped our entire racial discourse, our politics, etc.”

“You’re using blanket statements again,” he said.

“Okay, yes, I am, but not to put white men in a box.  I’m merely suggesting that boxes exist.”

“So this is payback?  I’m supposed to feel guilt from what my ancestors did?”

Why do some many white folks think that all black people want is revenge?  Over the years, I’ve noticed a lingering fear among whites that if they collectively owned up to the injustices of the past it would be all over for them.  To quote a white male friend, “150 years after emancipation and white people are still afraid of a slave rebellion.”

“No!” I laughed.  Behind Aaron’s anger I sensed an honest curiosity.  “Why is it so difficult for multiple perspectives to exist?” I asked.  “Why does one get to overrule the others? I’m pushing for a balance.”

“How do you mean?”

I spoke without thinking, “When I was around eighteen or nineteen I went through some really difficult times with my ethnicity.  I was raised in a white family that loved me but was too uncomfortable to talk about race, so they ignored it.  It was an identity crisis for me.  I can remember my mom sitting me down for ‘the talk,’ not the one with the birds and the bees, but the talk every black child receives directly or indirectly at an early age.

About the Author

Matt SmithAuthor: Matt Smith

Country of residence: United States

Nationality: American

Mother tongue: English

Matt Smith is a writer, teacher, activist, and pop-culture maven. He spent four years in Ulsan, South Korea as an ESL instructor and in that time set foot on four continents and sixteen countries. Currently, he resides in Portland, Oregon. You can find him hanging around the second run movie theaters and pizza joints.

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