SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Douchebag, or the white man’s new burden.


This piece is brilliant, so just read it and be rewarded.

Speaking locally, the key indicators can’t be stated any more clearly than this:

Follow the money.

And this, from the article:

“The douchebag is the demanding 1%, and the far more numerically significant class of heterosexist men who ape and aspire to be them.”

Yep. As litmus tests go, this one is well nigh perfect.

Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For, by Michael Mark Cohen (Medium)

 … This is about when I run out of time and have to end class. As I am unplugging, a few of those white kids creep up to ask a good question: so what should we do? If we want to be more than just not racist, if we want to be actually anti-racist, then how should we act? How do we deal with the burden of a privilege we did not earn?

Now I gotta get to another class half-way across campus, so I don’t have time to tell them that so-called “liberal guilt” is not the answer and that empathy and solidarity are. I don’t have time to explain that learning to share anger at injustice is the start of a common conversation, and that they can learn how to recognize where privilege resides in their own lives by reading about and listening to the experiences of others who do not have it. But I gotta run, so I just say to them: “It’s a long argument, and an endless series of principled choices, but the short version is simply: don’t be a douchebag.”

The heart of the matter:

 … The precise race, class and gender position of the douchebag marks this identity as a specific subset of the asshole, another identity on the rise in the twenty-first century. The asshole — as brilliantly defined by Ta-Nehisi Coates — is someone who insists that all social encounters occur on their terms, as in, “hey that person over there with the google glass is an asshole!” (Glasshole! Get it?) But anyone can be an asshole, after all we all have one.

The douchebag is always a white guy. But he is more than that. The douchebag is the demanding 1%, and the far more numerically significant class of heterosexist men who ape and aspire to be them. Wall Street guys are douchebags to be sure, but so is anyone looking to cash in on his white privilege.

This means that non-white people can be – or worse yet – can aspire to be douchebags by claiming wealthy white male privileges for themselves. Whiteness, like the douchebag, has a form that is not dependent upon biological notions of race, but is rather shaped by our history and by our actions. And if men of color can strive to live as douchebags, then it is also true that white men can choose not to be douchebags. We can refuse to insist. It is a choice that all men, but especially white men, have to make.

This narrowness of categorization — perhaps unique in America’s rich history of racial and sexual slurs — is what makes the word douchebag such a potentially useful political tool.