Your Pain Doesn’t Count

Right now, statistics show that, in the United States, working class men without college educations in the 25-54 age group now have the lowest workforce participation levels ever, with one of five not even being in the workforce. This cohort is the only segment of the U.S. population that has shown an actual decrease in life expectancy, a marked increase in illness and suicide, and a declining earnings level – bringing it close to the same lower statistical levels as less-educated minority males, who have not shown any declines (but no significant improvement in recent years, either). In fact, the mortality level for middle-aged, non-college-educated white males is now thirty percent higher than for blacks, the first time in history that any cohort of white males has had a higher death rate than blacks of the same age.

This hollowing-out of the middle class workers who used to get paid far better wages than at present for semi-skilled work has led to a great upwelling of anger among them, and that anger was focused against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in the last election and largely in support of Donald Trump. These men, and their families, are angry, and they’re hurting and lashing out at pretty much anyone and anything they think is getting a “better deal” from government and industry. They’re essentially claiming that no one is hearing their pain.

I understand that. What I don’t understand is why this group is so angry at women and minorities.

Here in the United States we’ve had two groups that have been minimalized and denied rights ever since the U.S. was founded, and while one group technically and legally received the right to vote over a century and a half ago, in practice that right was denied in one way or another in most of the country until little more than fifty years ago. The other group not only didn’t even get the legal right to vote until the twentieth century, and for much of U.S. history in many parts of the country did not even have the effective rights to hold property.

African-Americans and women remain comparatively disadvantaged to this day, no matter what stories individual white males can come up with anecdotally. I can recall stories about black men who lived in shacks but owned Cadillacs, but I didn’t learn until I was older that was because all too often they were denied decent or, sometimes, any real property. There was an ancestor in my wife’s family who had a hard time in North Carolina. It might have been because he was mulatto, part-black. Then he moved to Kentucky and passed as white. He became a very successful farmer and was one of the first to own a car, largely, I suspect, because he passed as white. He didn’t change; the community acceptance did.

After watching three wives and six daughters – and they are privileged compared to many women – battle gender discrimination in a wide range of occupations and fronts over the past fifty years, after watching how men gamed the federal government civil service system to benefit males, after seeing how much easier it was for me to raise four children for several years as a single father than it was for single women, and after living and working for more than twenty years in the extremely patriarchal culture of Utah, otherwise known as the semi-sovereign theocracy of Deseret, I tend to lose patience with people who complain about “reverse discrimination.”

Bur regardless of my impatience or what all too many people seem to believe, the plain fact is that all three of these groups are hurting and that the current political system is pitting them against each other. What’s worse is that each of these groups is pretty much ignoring the other’s pain. Is this really going to improve the situation or help any of them… or the United States?

9 thoughts on “Your Pain Doesn’t Count”

  1. Matt says:

    You nailed it with the title. The pain of white males today doesn’t matter. What matters is pain from someone fifty years ago, fabricated, misunderstood, or intentionally misinterpreted (twisted) statistics.

    Social Justice isn’t focusing on justice – it views vigilanteism and witch hunts (in the form of Salem Witch trials, where all charges were fabricated) as preferable to engagement and efforts to correct problems.

    When you mention the current anecdotal evidence and dismiss it with detailed anecdotal evidence of your own that is crafted by a master writer to pull forth empathy for the scenario that you are putting forth, it’s seems rather disingenuous and manipulative. It’s the more nuanced version of “Oh, white male tears…”

    I’ve read your writing on Utah and how women are out having a boatload of kids and working hard to stay attractive and blame men, I have to wonder whether you think women are completely lacking in anything which resembles power. I mean, I get it – their men are working themselves into early graves to fund their wives and families and if they fail, they may experience depression so crippling that they end their own lives. So I disagree with the hypothesis that women have no power and instead believe that women have incredible power that they exert through their choices to partner or not. Well off men (both of us) have no problem finding spouses. Poor men are not so fortunate. Rates of marriage among poor men are around 30% lower than among the more affluent and this is not new.

    Men’s power is to choose young, healthy partners; women’s power is to choose powerful, wealthy providers. I get it, we all want to pretend that *BILLIONS* of years of evolution hasn’t existed which creates these hard-coded preferences, but that’s not reality. We don’t have to abandon equality to acknowledge that and we also don’t have to abandon it to embrace a policy of equality. Unfortunately, too often we abandon one completely and pretend it’s fabricated, or nonsense, to embrace the other.

    So when a white man sees some new crime or microaggression that they are guilty of every day while being increasingly disadvantaged in the education system and workplace through “social justice” programs? Yeah, they get a bit bitter at the groups that are accusing of those supposed crimes. If you are intellectually honest, you can probably mix any negative behavior or trait with the word “man” at the front and there’s a decent chance it could become a real world term and the SVJ community would adopt it as fact. I just made up “Manciopath” and could make up a complete set of traits that supposedly describe how men behave in antisocial ways and there’s a pretty damned good chance that it would get adopted by increasing amounts of the SJW community. I’m honestly a little nervous leaving that here and am waiting for it to be adopted.

    In the end, we have two sides. Social Justice Warriors running around blaming every ill of society on (white) men on the left. Then you have people on the right who are really the enemy of the common man, but at least they say “F%$& that nonsense” about the social justice agenda. Honestly, I’ve voted for Democrats my entire life, including Hillary, but I’ve about had it with the SJ agenda and am about to throw my money and votes to the Republicans, because there is no party that fits my center left non-SJW agenda believing views and I just see the left as damaging race and gender relations in the long run. The world is not “For us to succeed, we have to beat them down” situation and it never should have been and most importantly, we should not be doing that moving forward, because it will just turn into an “eye for an eye” situation and that’s what the current SJV agenda is – someone was hurt in the past, white men were in power, even white man today must be made to pay for the crimes of the predecessor. Inner cities should have more money for education… but instead you see the right rejecting that because they’re not being engaged, they’re being attacked. Are you really all that surprised?

    We should be focusing on fixing problems, not remediating historical injustices that frequently have nothing to do with the current state of the world.

  2. Lourain says:

    1. It’s all lies…we (white men?) didn’t do it!
    2. Charges are fabricated!~…we should concentrate on fixing the problems we didn’t cause.
    3. And you, Mr. Modesitt are deliberately misrepresenting the whole thing!
    4. Women have POWER because they can choose powerful men. (I nearly hurled when I read this one.)
    5. Biology rules!
    6. White men are blamed for ‘normal’ behavior and disadvantaged because of their ‘normal’ behavior, so they get mad.
    7. So ‘Social Justice Warriors’ blame white men for their ‘normal’ behavior…it’s not fair!
    8. None of these injustices that white men are accused of are really happening, so we shouldn’t have to fix them.


    1. JM says:

      Don’t be too hard on him. I can understand where he’s coming from.
      No matter how hard you or I try I as a white male will never be able to fully understand what life is like for a non-white male. To do so would require me to not be a white male.

      How do I get around this? By being friends and family with non-whites. By listening to my sisters troubles and realizing that I may have been “that guy” and never realized it. By treating my aunts marriage (as in a gay marriage) as the happy miracle that it is.

      I’ll never truly understand a the world a non-white non-male person faces, but I can try. But as a white male I can agree Matt, hear all the SJW’s go off all the time can get tiring. And please don’t try to tell me women are in any way better than men. Both genders have their good and their bad. Both genders are equal in this regard. I’d know, the females in my high school had some really nice gals and some extremely vicious ones -.-

      1. JM says:

        My own grammar makes me cringe. My apologies to those who also cringed whilst reading my prior post.

      2. Lourain says:

        I do qualify as a white female.;-)

  3. Alan Naylor says:

    It isn’t that I don’t know and accept that there are inequalities in the world for people of all different backgrounds. Gender, race, what-have you. As a white male I object to preferential treatment for anyone. White, male, or anything else.

    The moment some one walks into the place I work they should not be given anything due to their genetic heritage. Nor should they be penalized for it. If you come to work at this company, or any company, you should be treated the same as I, the white male worker, am. The simple fact that a black man, an Hispanic or a female can walk through the door while being less qualified for a job but still be given the job because of their being a woman or minority is infuriating. I would hope that others would understand this.

    I have had any number of men and women work for me and I have always endeavored to be effectively blind to their race or gender when dealing with them. I don’t care what your background is or how difficult you had it. I don’t care how you were treated elsewhere. Here, now, when employed by my company and working on my shift beneath my supervision, you will be treated precisely the same as everyone else. Man or woman, black or white. You will carry your full work load, doing exactly what all the rest of your colleagues are doing.

    I would hope this is how it is becoming in other places. At no place I have worked have I ever encountered anything but this policy, though to be fair I spent a significant time in the Navy before retiring to civilian life. The Navy does not have a gender pay gap, women do not make more or less than men. Neither do minorities make more or less. Everyone who does the same job makes the same pay regardless. They are all expected to execute the same work tasks. Advancement has nothing to do with gender or minority status. Pass the test, in general, and you will advance. Any difference in pay or rank comes solely from the job fields that people choose to enter and how well they prepare within those fields.

    1. Lourain says:

      If everyone were color/gender blind in the workplace then this would be a null topic. Unfortunately, they are not. When you judge women/people of color to be less qualified, what standard are you using?
      I have lived the flip side of your situation. Example: In the 70s I tried to get a civil-service job in microbiology. Candidates were given extensive tests, and a list of the top three applicants was sent out for interviews. Two men and me. After the sixth interview I finally realized that there was no way that I would get a job. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
      The most ironic reason I was given for rejection was “…but you have no job experience.”

      1. James says:

        This is essentially a side-note not directly related to the discussion, however your point about job experience triggered a nerve for me Lourain….

        It took me over 2 years of applying to “graduate” jobs to finally get a 6 month contract position, because I was constantly getting turned down for people who were ‘graduates’ with years of work experience.

        In the end, what got me a job was knowing people in the field, not the 6 years of hard work at university.

    2. We all see the world differently. No matter what we say, not a one of us is truly and completely objective. That’s neither possible nor achievable, but what we should be doing is truly listening to what others say, and not dismissing their concerns on essentially predetermined grounds. What from I’ve seen, an awful lot of claimed objectivity is technically accurate… and totally misses the point. A requirement for a certain set of formal credentials may be objective, but it eliminates candidates whose experience may be more valuable than that degree. Judging on grades may seem objective. After all, numbers are numbers, aren’t they? But superiority in test-taking doesn’t always translate into occupational ability or success [and that’s not sour grapes on my part. I took tests really well. Then I discovered people who didn’t often understood a lot more than I did].

      Speaking as a white male who has metaphorically been an octagonal peg in a world of square and round holes, I’ve seen how often management [or superior officers in the Navy] evaluated subordinates using theoretically objective criteria. The results were often anything but objective. Yes, officers of the same rank and time in service make the same pay, but who gets promoted [above the rank of 0-3, before which it’s simply by time in service and not screwing up something monumentally] was anything but objective. And yes, I got one political job because essentially the only criterion was how well I could write and edit [and, of course, was I white and male]. None of the other criteria mattered in the slightest. And no… someone shouldn’t be given a job because of their race, color, or creed… but what about an education? The way our school systems are set up, only poor “geniuses” can compete equally on the academic front. The poor kids with potential seldom get to develop that potential, while affluent white kids who are borderline get coached and supported. Add to that the fact that attitude matters. Some occupational areas in the sciences are so toxic toward women that most women who like those subjects still turn away, and statistics show that in most of those fields the attitudes aren’t changing..and that women are comparatively underpaid in the same specialties with the same expertise and experience — if, as Lourain points out, they can even get the experience. Sometimes, “objectivity” is anything but objective, and that’s one of the real dangers of priding one’s self on “objectivity.”

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