Saturday, 5 April 2014


Good afternoon, my name's Innocent Loverboy. I am a white cis male, and I'm very sorry about that.

See? It looks ridiculous when I write it out. I shouldn't need to apologise for the colour of my skin, my sexual identity, or my assigned gender.

Writing that out looks ridiculous too. It's a list of things that people should be taking for granted. Offences which those with conscience fight against - racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. - make the suggestion that members of the public or in the national conscience who don't fit a template they (the offenders) have assigned are not normal people, and therefore should be demonised. This is wrong. And this, we all know.

There's another thing, as well. I'm straight. I've always been straight. I've never been sexually attracted to a member of the same sex. I'm sorry about that too.

I shouldn't need to apologise for that either.

But then there are a few labels that are part of my identity which nobody seems to have any problem with. I've had a few insults thrown at me for "vegetarian", but not that many problems apart from a few odd looks in Yorkshire. Nobody's offended at "socialist". Nor at "Green Party activist", "Woodcraft Folk member", or "James fan".  Are you offended at "Christian"? Depending on who you are, you may be. You shouldn't be, but you may be.

Doing the rounds on the blogosphere, the sex-positive community, the left-wing edge of Twitter and within the sex blogging community as a whole, one does chance across things which, without meaning to, use "white cis male" as a catch-all term for a sexist, misogynistic, boorish and ignorant white cis male. There's no pretence made as to the idea that all white cis men are like that - of course they're not; I'm not, at least - but it does seem that, for whatever reason, that doesn't need to be clarified. Journalists who write articles about feminism, gender issues, race, gay rights and other ethical issues often come out as erudite and well-reasoned, whereas those who oppose them appear the exact opposite - but that isn't always the case. I once read a Guardian article by a black man entitled "of course all white people are racist." I saw his point, but I felt offended.

The problem I have with this issue is that not a lot of people actually bother to read this stuff. Seeing someone who's been abused by men contributing to the #KillAllMen hashtag or write an article about female empowerment doesn't equate to "all men abuse". Someone being racially attacked in the street for being Asian, as happened in my local area last year, doesn't equate to "all white people attack". The guys who stand in the street with "ask me about Jesus" shirts who spend a lot of time telling people they're going to Hell doesn't equate to "all Christians are fundamentalists". I don't even believe in Hell.

But this isn't often clarified. Taking a stand is to be applauded, whether or not anybody agrees with you, even. But it's going a bit too far when I start to feel like I can't say much because I'm just a white cis male and therefore I have to be inherently prejudiced.

I'm not apologising for white men because I don't speak for all of them.
I'm not apologising for heterosexual men because I don't speak for all of them.
I'm not apologising for cis men because I don't speak for all of them.
I'm not apologising for Christians because I don't speak for all of them.

I am one of them. I am not a bully.

I've been bullied, almost always by women, but I don't for one second believe that all women are bullies.

I make no apology for who I am. Whatever someone else does is not what I do. I am a white cis male, and I'm OK with that. You should be too.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

I agree, this whole inductive deductive confusion happens with infuriating regularity.

A squirrel attacked me once. This does not mean all squirrels will attack me (though a bit of me thinks they would if given half a chance)... I think I may have underlined my own argument there...

Bloody squirrels!