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As a normal white guy who grew up with the normal white bread breaks, I have to say I’m pretty fed up with listening to other white guys complain about how put-upon they are.

By normal breaks, I mean I wasn’t born with a silver spoon up my arse like George W. Bush or Donald J. Trump. Oh, and my parents weren’t politicians or multi-millionaires, so I wouldn’t have been able join the Texas National Guard or get a medical deferment from a friendly doctor to avoid serving in Vietnam. I enjoyed the normal breaks, you know, the ones that almost anybody who didn’t look like me rarely got.

For all practical purposes, I was Adolph Hitler’s wet dream. I was blond-haired, blue-eyed (well, actually hazel but close enough for government work), athletic, and — oh, yeah — white. One Saturday as a preteen while visiting my uncle in Fort Worth, I threw rocks through several school windows adjacent to a playground where I was playing. In broad daylight. One of the school maintenance men, who lived next door to the school, heard the breaking glass and accosted me with a shotgun. I told him I thought I’d seen a ghost. He kept the shotgun trained on me until the police arrived. They brought a paddy wagon out just to scare me, I think, but my uncle paid for the damage, and there were never any charges filed.

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As a teenager, some friends and I borrowed the fire extinguishers off every school bus in our town one Halloween and drove around spraying people with them. The high school principal and a county sheriff’s deputy confronted us the next school day and, after unsuccessfully bracing us regarding the missing equipment, agreed to not press charges or inform our parents if I led them to the empty spray cannisters, which I promptly did.

I suspect our principal may have been concerned about the buses being operated without extinguishers, so we probably got lucky. And that didn’t slow us down. We also absconded with our school statue, “streaked” in front of the local Holy Rollers, played several innings of mailbox baseball, were serial ding-dong ditchers, and so on.

As a grown man — the same day my father died in a Fort Worth hospital — I followed my mother home in my truck. She entered the house first through the garage, and I came in through the front door. Understandably shaken, she forgot to disable her alarm system. When the alarm sounded, she promptly disabled it, but the local police didn’t get the message. I was sitting on her couch, changing the channels of her TV with a black remote control, when we heard a car pull up outside. My mother said it might be the police, but I was already at the front door. I stepped out with the black remote in hand.

“Freeze!” a panicked voice screamed before I even looked up.

It was a local cop, firearm drawn and gun barrel trained on me. He was 50 feet away at least, and there I was, holding a dark object in my right hand. It happened so fast I hadn’t had time to think. And I didn’t consider that if it was actually the police, my unhailed exit with an identifiable dark object in my right hand — and probably a scowl on my face, because my father had just died — was probably a terrible idea.

But it was OK. I was the führer’s wet dream, a blond-haired member of the Master Race, a white man with all the normal breaks.

Now I know what all you self-identified put-upon white men are thinking. All this stuff is anecdotal. It doesn’t prove anything.

But you’re mistaken.

For starters, for most of this country’s existence, Black children and teenagers weren’t permitted to be juvenile in public, much less juvenile delinquents. It was beat out of them with a whip or corrected at the end of a rope. And a grown Black man barging out of a house in the suburbs with police officers out front, holding an unidentified black object in his hands and wearing a scowl on his face? Well, I’m sure you don’t need to see the statistics on what often comes next.

But it’s not just about race — even though every disgruntled Hitler’s wet dream I know tries to make it so.

Women — like my own mother — were not 1.) allowed to serve on juries in all 50 states until 1973, 2.) permitted to have their own credit cards until 1974 (thanks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!), 3.) able to get pregnant without fear of getting fired for it until 1978, 4.) eligible to pursue a college education at all eight Ivy League schools until 1981, and 5.) allowed to safely say, “Not tonight, dear, I have a headache” until 1993. And 28 years later, we’re still trying to make their birth control decisions for them.

The original Hitler at least had the good sense to blow his brains out.

White men in America don’t even have brains enough to stay out of everybody’s way. — E.R. Bills

 

E.R. Bills is the author of The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas (History Press, 2014), Black Holocaust: The Paris Horror and a Legacy of Texas Terror (Eakin Press, 2015), and Texas Oblivion: Mysterious Disappearances, Escapes and Cover-Ups (History Press, 2021). He works as a freelance journalist and lives in North Texas with his wife, Stacie.

 

This editorial reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. The Weekly welcomes all manner of political submissions. They will be edited for clarity and factuality. Please email Editor Anthony Mariani at anthony@fwweekly.com.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is classic circular reasoning. Begin with the premise that white guys get all the breaks, and you’ll conclude that in any given scenario a black guy would have had it worse.

  2. Bills’ article is similar to Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue’s Sept. 3, 2014, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being White.” Both writers recounted events which, they imagined, would have turned out much worse if they had been black. Bills says police who responded to a false alarm at his mother’s home on the day of his father’s death, held him at gunpoint when he answered the door holding a TV remote. He imagines that his whiteness saved him from being shot. He might as well have imagined that his father — had he been black — himself died at the hands of police.

    Does the Weekly have white male writers who are NOT self-loathers?

  3. Tencio, while I appreciate you mentioning me in the same breath as E.R. Bills, a writer I respect quite a bit, what are you going on about? So you’re saying that if you concede that blacks in general are treated worse than whites, it means you are self-loathing? Who told you that? Tucker Carlson?

    • Kenny, I think Tencio is saying you may be one of those white guys that are lead around by a black or brown person or female, being told what to chant, and going home at sunset while black bloc takes over with the destruction of a city.

      • NotOnMyWatch, you might be a right-wing troll if all you write is racist nonsense. Why don’t you do us all a favor and go back to under the rock you crawled out from?

  4. Well, W-P, I can figure out on my own that if a grown man finds the condition of his race “unbearable” — your word, not mine — yeah, he’s self-loathing.

  5. Hey, TV, you might not know this, but the writers themselves don’t write their headlines, generally speaking. So when you’re taking something from the headline to make a point about a writer, that doesn’t wash.

  6. Ken, don’t you see? If an unnamed headline writer concluded that you consider your whiteness “unbearable,” then s/he apparently agrees with Vegas about your self-loathing. It doesn’t really matter who called it “unbearable.”

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