Making Assumptions: The White Male Bias

Yesterday appeared to be like any other Sunday. I got up around noon, went to Frank for a quick bite, secluded myself in the library to do all the weekend’s work and capped it all off with a late night Coop visit. Typically, I would have called it a night after eating, but as I was throwing my grilled chicken and grilled cheese away I noticed a flyer the ALANA Cultural Center put out that said: “The Silent Killers amongst Minorities and Women. Diseases and Health Risks too Private to Discuss, but too Destructive to Ignore.” I was immediately taken aback by the message on this flyer and lost a lot of sleep thinking about it. Why are white males excluded from participating in this forum? Aren’t there silent killers infecting this portion of the population as well?

I, myself, am Jewish, but I am also white and male. If you saw me walking down the street you would not be able to tell whether I was a Jew – I just look like your average white guy. Even though I am, in fact, a minority in this country, I would not feel comfortable attending this forum due to my appearance.

People will inevitably notice that, at face value, I don’t fit the profile of a minority or a woman, thus placing me in an exceedingly awkward situation. Why should I have to explain my being there and no one else have to? This same situation can also be applied to many other white males. Take someone who is gay or transgendered, for example. He is definitely a minority in our culture, but he may also have to explain himself.

The ALANA Cultural Center, in crafting this flyer, placed a huge emphasis on secrecy. The center of the flyer consists of a woman making the universal gesture for silence and underneath it states “diseases and health risks too private to discuss.” I believe it to be very hypocritical of them, however, to stress privacy but create an environment in which it would be nearly impossible for many individuals to feel comfortable.

Similarly, it can be easily inferred from this flier that the intended meaning of “minority” is that of someone who looks different from the majority of the population given that the woman pictured on the flier is black. Why not place a white male on it? To me, this would signal a much deeper understanding of the word minority. This flier presents a very narrow-minded illustration of a minority, which is unfortunately commonplace in our society. Many times, as I have said, you cannot tell whether someone is a minority or not. I would urge the ALANA Cultural Center to take this into consideration for the future.

But what about the white male who is not a minority in any sense of the term? Do I think they should be excluded from this informational discussion? Absolutely not. It is a common misconception that a white male cannot be vulnerable in our society; they most certainly can.

They are going to be plagued by “diseases and health risks too private to discuss, but too destructive to ignore” as well. Thus, why should they be excluded from this forum? It should be open to all who want to attend.