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I hate to break it to feminists, but ‘white male privilege’ is a myth

5 January 2016

5:35 PM

5 January 2016

5:35 PM

How’s this for dark irony: throughout 2015, ‘white male privilege’ was the buzzphrase on every rad tweeter and liberal hack’s lips, as they fumed against the easy, pampered lives allegedly enjoyed by human beings who had the fortune to be born with a penis and pale skin. Railing against ‘white men’ and their cushy existences has become the stock-in-trade of many feminists.

Yet towards the end of 2015 it was revealed that there’s a social group in Britain more derided and less successful than pretty much every other social group. Guess who? Yep, young white men. Especially young working-class white men. A large sector of the group that the new identity-politics mob loves to ridicule for sailing through life unmolested and unchallenged is actually having a rough time.

Consider this: 18-year-old women are 35 percent more likely to attend university than 18-year-old men; and where 37 percent of black school-leavers go to university, only 28 percent of white school-leavers do. These stats were unveiled by UCAS in December, leading its chief executive to wonder if it isn’t time to initiate ‘outreach’ projects designed to get more white blokes into college.

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Also in December, a YouGov analysis of 48 surveys of public attitudes found that young white men are viewed as ‘the worst ethnic, gender [and] age group’. They are ‘the most derided ethnic group in Britain’. YouGov’s number-crunchers confessed to being surprised by ‘the lousy reputation of young white men’, who are seen as drunken, promiscuous, prone to drug-taking, work-shy and impolite (even as other surveys reveal that today’s yoof actually drink less and do fewer drugs than earlier generations did).

What’s more, young women now earn more than young men: £1,111 a year more, to be precise. Between the ages of 22 and 29, women in general — covering all races — out-earn guys; by the time women hit their thirties, however, their pay falls below men’s. Those young, opinionated new media feminists who get handsome advances to write books spluttering about ‘white male privilege’ are far more privileged than many of the white males they splutter about — especially the ones who empty their bins or sweep their roads. It’s almost Orwellian in its topsy-turviness — the most well-connected, middle-class women denouncing the alleged privileges of some of the most derided people in society.

Partly this is just bad science: feminists, leftists and others see that parliament and the boardroom still have a hefty number of white men in them and they extrapolate from this to argue that all white men must have lovely lives. Hence they always use the ridiculously sweeping terms ‘white men’ or ‘male privilege’, as if whiteness and maleness were inherently beneficial. As if loads of white men aren’t dirt poor and awfully underprivileged. It’s like seeing the Queen and thinking: ‘Wow, white women in Britain have it good, don’t they?’

But there’s something else going on too, something more pernicious: the way the politics of identity elbows aside anything to do with class. Unlike radicals of old, the new identitarians — from feminists to shouty students — do not see the world in terms of the haves and have nots, or the ruling class and the working class; in terms of work or wealth or clout. No, to them it’s all about biology, race, gender: fixed traits, which they think define us as individuals and determine our destinies.

Such ugly, racial determinism is why they can use the blanket, dehumanising term ‘white people’ to refer to a vast group that contains all sorts of social classes and people: rich, poor, middling, left, right, good, bad, happy, sad, etc. The idea that all white men have a certain kind of life or outlook is as dumb, and foul, as saying all black men are criminals.

Identity politics doesn’t totally smother class considerations, however; it helps to facilitate a new, PC version of class hatred. The bile spat by feminists and others at certain white men — the uncouth, most derided ones — is really old-fashioned loathing for the lower orders dolled up as a radical stand against ‘male privilege’. When university students or media-based identity obsessives crow about drinking ‘white male tears’, they behave like modern-day Marie Antoinettes, laughing in the face of the less fortunate who will never experience the privileges enjoyed by these fashionable railers against privilege. ‘White male privilege’ is simply a myth.

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Show comments
  • Tintern

    What a load of splutter Mr. O’Neill. You got paid to write this twaddle? Nice to be able to make a living from click bait I guess,

    • Mech Shop

      Better check your privilege, no ones buying the loopy progressive left dogma.

  • A dose of reality

    Hallelujah! I’m sick of hearing that we men need to be ‘taught not to rape.’ This is no more true than women needing educated that it’s bad to abandon babies!

    And any attempt to suggest that they apply common sense is seen as victim shaming! I should be able to leave my life savings on my front lawn without fear of robbery, but I’m pretty sure I’d be seen as stupid if I did that and they got stolen. Why does the same not apply to women acting responsibly with drink and conduct?

  • Mark Rosenkranz

    White Male Privilege a myth? Hmmmm! Well, the sequel might not even use that title. I wonder why!

  • Mark Rosenkranz

    The sequel to White Male Privilege probably will not even have that title. A lot has changed in the last few years!

  • twominuteplank

    I am a left-leaning type, and I couldn’t agree more. The issue of equality has *always* been about class. Third-wave feminists who continue to argue that women are barred from privileged classes are delusional.

    The problem is that they *know* that it’s true, but that it chips-away at their culture of victimhood. If women stop thinking of themselves as perpetual victims, feminism crumbles.

  • Cedric D

    As a left winger I don’t much enjoy being lumped in with these bigoted feminazi nutjobs. And liberal, they most certainly are not. They are authoritarians, female supremacists, borderline fascists. They don’t believe in freedom of speech, they don’t believe in equality. They may fall on the left side of the spectrum when it comes to economics, but there are plenty of people on the left that don’t agree with them. Unfortunately we seem to be getting drowned out.

  • Courtney Puyear

    Its not easy for the unthinking person to unravel the Feminist ideology and actually figure out what it is. I could write an entire book on the subject, but I have little time and no faith a publisher would ever accept it because it falls outside of the popular narrative. Current day feminism was hijacked back in the 60’s on college campuses during the Vietnam war by people who wanted to wage an ideological war with Capitalism. While America is diverse, and not as nationalistic as countries that are less diverse, almost all Americans are fervent capitalists. So leftists knew that going directly after capitalism by staging class warfare would not appeal to Americans. They would be defeated before they could even muster an effective protest. They morphed class warfare into gender warfare. They saw that men were generally those in the upper enchelons of the capitalist system. If they could call all white men evil rapists, abusers and oppressors, they could take down the capitalist system and implament their socialist/communist system. That is the result of what we see today in modern day feminism. They are leftist, marxists who hijacked women’s rights and morphed it into feminism in order to destroy capitalism. But you wont hear them come out and directly say that because they know if they start railing against capitalism, they will be destroyed as a group. Instead, they call it the “Patriarchy”.

  • AtheAlmightyOne

    Seems to me to be stupid,envious people, unwilling to work hard or intellectually incapable of attaining the ‘privileges’ enjoyed by fewer and fewer white men. And it’s not that white men are incapable or that women and minorities are working that much harder, it’s the hardcore gynocentrism, feminized educational system, and legislation discriminating against them. It’s a wonder men aren’t revolting wholesale. Any sap that gets married nowadays is woefully uninformed, thinks hypergamy won’t happen to him,or he’s just a dolt. Let’s not forget who built this world and most of the wonderful technology they use to bash men. How about women and minorities quit ‘appropriating’ white male culture and tech and start living like people did 2500 years ago…..yeah. ….didn’t think so. ….

  • Inglevine

    That’s not what male privilege means, which pretty much makes the rest of this article irrelevant.

  • Matt

    A brilliant, massively important article. Thank you, sir.

  • 1958Paul

    Extremely bad analysis. Young working class white men are not white men. Hence the adjectives. Try repeating your arguments using middle class, middle aged white men and see if the stereotypes you attack are not more accurate.

  • Thaddeus lovelock

    The basis of nationhood rest on the basis of a shared consciousness of having a common identity amongst, the citizens of a country. With, that goes having a sense of a shared culture, values, language, and history. Without those things you don’t really have a basis for nationhood. That’s why new migrants need to assimilate to the dominate national culture. Furthermore the state has the right to encourage and even gently prod new migrants in the direction of assimilation. The problem with militant Islam is that it acts as a barrier to assimilation. And even promotes a counter identity amongst its adherents.

  • Vilmalotta

    I think the author does not fully understand what he is talking about. Privilege does not mean that you have had an easy life and that everything has been handed to you and you never had to struggle or work hard. All it means is that there are some things in life that you will not experience or ever have to think about.

    • Cyril Sneer

      “All it means is that there are some things in life that you will not experience or ever have to think about.”

      Then no one is privileged.

      • Vilmalotta

        Wrong. It means there are different types of privilege. Male privilege. White privilege. Straight privilege. etc.

        • Cyril Sneer

          Which ‘identity groups’ are not privileged at all? Where do they live?

          • Vilmalotta

            You are asking the wrong questions, it is not a zero sum game, but a question of the relativeness of privilege. White man is more privileged than for example a black woman. And it is this gap that needs to be acknowledged, not to look for an unprivileged group of people.

            • Cyril Sneer

              “White man is more privileged than for example a black woman”

              In all ways? Are there examples where ‘white man’ is not the privileged one? For example, poor white South Africans in South Africa.

              “And it is this gap that needs to be acknowledged”

              I think all areas of inequality should be examined. What do you think about the raped white girls of Rotherham?

            • Christopher Daly

              Ah yes privilege theory, the theory that claims a white homeless man is inherently better off than a black woman with a good job and a house and should feel bad about anything that goes well for him becuase he didn’t earn it.

  • Kathy Parsons

    My dad, a union democrat in the US, would be seething, if he were alive today, at of the concept of “white male privilege”. He was an electrician in our city’s electric utility for 30 years, and after paying to educate himself and gain knowledge in his field at his own expense, was passed over many times for promotion in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in favor of black males and females with half the experience, half the time in grade (if at all), and half the knowledge, thanks to affirmative action laws. He finally gave up and retired. He took the Master’s Electrician certification he paid for and earned on his own and went to work for himself. “White privilege” my lily white backside ………

  • Stingray_3440

    Well lets see. I’ve worked full time for 40 years, paid all my taxes, never been in trouble and am not rich by any stretch. I work so the freeloaders can eat, have a roof over their head, Obamaphone, education and HC. And for this, I am ridiculed, told I’m a racism, homophone, islamaphobe, dumb and best of all, a total rotten POS.

    SOME PRIVILEGE~!

  • duder Pierloot

    finally a decent column about those deranged sjw’s and it gets derailed by islamophobes and fearmongers. Humans there’s really something rotten with their education.

  • Jeff Hamilton

    I, for one, can’t wait until my white male privilege kicks in. I should be close to fully vested in whiteness at this time since I am 37 and pay almost 50% of my salary in taxes that support less privileged groups. Hopefully it will kick in soon because I’m up for a promotion and the competition is stout…there is a black man who got hired last week in the mailroom who is in the running for executive management now (something about the hidden value of diversity), and a woman who has litigated her way up the corporate ladder ever since they fired the last manager for making a microaggresive comment about how hard she works. We’ll see how it goes, I just hope the Muslim guy in accounting doesn’t see the job posting or else I’m sunk.

  • brainpimp

    Identity politics is a lie. ALL OF IT.

  • Moshe Ben Avram

    As a white male Jew, you could say I am doubly damned except for one thing. I really don’t care if being what I am disturbs or bothers anyone. If some poor special snowflake of a feminist or some sissy beta male doesn’t like it, they can do me and everyone else a favor and go jump off a bridge.

  • GWAR44

    i prefer men of no color….

    • Cyril Sneer

      I’m not surprised, I’m sure you must get ‘worried’ a lot…. nice shoes.

  • jbspry

    Nobody cares.

  • bob lynch

    My white male privilege got me drafted and send to Vietnam.

  • AliceS

    I am so very sick of the feminist bashing in these pages. Yes, the ‘safe space’ generation is confused. But at a point in time when women get mauled en masse on the streets of Europe, feminism is not the problem.

    • GWAR44

      not by men of no color….i heard it was migrants…

      • AliceS

        Absolutely. Katie Hopkins is spot-on – it’s time to buy a burqa and be done with it. European women are scared to leave the house, let alone go out, have or drink or twenty and have a normal night out. Feminism is one of those sixties movements that made Western civilisation what it is, or, probably, soon, used to be. Of course the Judith Butler-indoctrinated, discourse overload, cis gender BS twits need to lay down in a darkened room for a long while. But there are feminists like Phyllis Chesler, Sheila Jeffreys and Cologne-resident Alice Schwarzer, among others, who have been writing about the dangers of creeping Islamisation for years. These are scary times.

  • bluesdoc70

    Sooner rather than later the self absorbed fools talking about “white male privilege” are going to be under the control of a group of Muslim male religious fanatics. Try complaining then.

  • Maggie Bailey

    Great article. I agree: I don’t think there is really any such thing as “white male privilege” these days, in the Western world. I get so sick of that phrase “white privilege” anyway, which apparently, I am supposed to benefit from (I am a woman though, so clearly not as “privileged” as a man!) I had a horrendous childhood, I have been homeless, and have never been able to get council housing, I have been sacked from several jobs, spent long periods unemployed, I have suffered a lot of abuse, name-calling and social alienation, all my life, I have been suicidally depressed, and have had periods where I had no one to help or support me at all. And I am supposed to be benefitting from “white privilege”??? With the kind of life I have had?! Hahaha!

    • roger

      True enough Maggie, It makes my blood boil when I think about these left wing pants wetters and BLM protesters , and my struggling parents who started their married life in a shed on a bush property and raised us children ( 11 of us )

  • Michael Cavanaugh

    ” . . . as if whiteness and maleness were inherently beneficial.” This hits a nail on the head. What precisely is the objection against “white (male) privilege:” that some people have; or that some people do not have the same advantages? Objecting, categorically, against the former might seem a bit like the second wave at Normandy saying, hey that lot up there is on dry land, let’s yank them back into the Channel too. This is confused: one’s loss is not, of necessity, the other’s benefit. Likewise, the supposition that benefit implies cause is confused; but it too is no less common among those complaining about a fully generic white male privilege. (Only think about “The Demands” circulating around various American college campuses.) O’Neill hits another nail: critics of white male privilege take race as deterministic. (Though, not necessarily gender identity — supposedly chosen or constructed instead.) When someone responds to complaints about racial prejudice by saying, I’m not prejudiced or I don’t hold racist views, isn’t the typical comeback that they’ve just missed the point — that things like racism or white privilege are so far beyond individual choice or identifiable acts? Pace Levi-Strauss, it is as if “white privilege thinks itself through men,” determined by how any person is born not how they might choose or act. This would seem indeed a strong version of determinism. But is it sensible?

  • http://www.raphshirley.com Raph Shirley

    I agree with everything except that you hate to break it to them. You clearly love to break it to them.

  • Teacher

    I agree with this analysis. In the seventies as a poor, working class girl battling her way though rampant sexism I was a feminist. However, as women’s opportunities in education and the job market have advanced and the world has changed I too have evolved. I now have a son and a daughter and I want them to do equally well. My son has found it harder to get and keep a job and, while his sister has a job which pays £15,000 a year more than his does and has a house and a partner, he has neither. It is very painful for a mother to see.

  • cartimandua

    The middle classes have taken a hammering. Only the very rich and the very poor can afford homes and children. They are too busy paying tax to pay for all the population who are not net contributors.

    • red2black

      The very poor are buying their own houses?

  • Athena Brown

    You guys might also like this. https://4thwavers.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/a-reponse-to-the-male-privilege-checklist/ – in regards to male privilege (and why there isn’t any).

  • Philsopinion

    I am sorry to say that this article is bang on the money and relates exactly the kind of nonsense that I have to listen to on a daily basis at University (second stint, 15 years on from the first time and boy, has it changed).

  • dalaine

    I have two sons, 30 and 34, and they were hit very hard by the financial crisis. They both lost jobs and were unemployed for extended periods of time. My older son is going to a technical school this winter so that he can move into a new field altogether. My younger son is still working contract jobs. So I agree that young, white men are having difficulty. The financial crisis caused higher unemployment than the Depression, and too much money was lost from the middle class.

    My observation is that women AND men with equal education who are middle and lower class are having more difficulty moving up the ladder than in the past. The people who are at the top of the ladder in both private companies and government are white men who come from wealthy families.

  • Bogan

    I’d suggest that when university students or media-based identity obsessives crow about drinking ‘white male tears’, they’re behaving like psychopaths. i.e. getting off on others’ misfortunes.

  • WesSeid

    This looks like a good time for a great quote from a smart person:

    “Yet it is the federal government more than anything else that divides us along race, class, religion, and gender lines. The federal government, through its taxes, restrictive regulations, corporate subsidies, racial set-asides, and welfare programs, plays far too large a role in determining who succeeds and who fails in our society.

    This government “benevolence” crowds out genuine goodwill between men by institutionalizing group thinking, thus making each group suspicious that others are receiving more of the government loot. Americans know that factors other than merit in the free market often play a part in the success of some, and this leads to resentment and hostility between us.

    By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups.” – Ron Paul

  • WesSeid

    If you want to see “male privilege,” look in any cemetery where military soldiers are buried. It’s mostly men. Enjoy your “male privilege.”

  • KaoseThema

    I beg to differ. I am not a feminist, nor am I a misogynist. However, in the good ol’USA, I am of darker skin and a witness of the ‘white male’ privilege. I work ten times harder that my white counterparts but they get the bonuses and the promotions.

    • Callipygian

      Liar liar, pants on fire!

    • Mr B J Mann

      Yeah: you regularly put in 80 hours……………

      ………………………..a day!

    • ipencil

      It’s always been my experience that those who claim to work harder than everyone else and perform better than everyone else are the worst performers with the worst work ethic. Their claims that others are “privileged” or complain about “it’s not what you know, but who you know” are rationalizations for not taking a hard look at themselves.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Is that right? Ten times harder eh… is that what you tell your boss as you f ck over your colleagues?

  • Rob74

    I can think of nothing more dangerous than disenfranchising young white males in a white majority nation.

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