Oh my… when this thinking stuff happens, it really happens! People give me more things to think about, and then I give them things to think about, and on and on it goes. I don’t know about you, but when a topic comes up, it seems to come up over and over again, demanding attention. So, here I am giving it more attention because I, for one, need to think about this more.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about white rights and my beloved assistant and friend, Lindsey, suggested I not post the blog. She had lots of great points, which I really took to heart, and then after some thought and more discussion I posted it. It was because of the discomfort that it created in me, and in others, that I felt the need to post it. We must start talking about those things that are uncomfortable.
Not to change each other’s minds necessarily, but simply to be able to have uncomfortable conversations and still live to tell the story. And maybe, just maybe, create a world we can all live in.
Lindsey’s position was that white people are privileged and therefore their rights are not at risk. I am paraphrasing and am trying to keep it brief. One of the things I brought up in our conversation was that men have traditionally held power, but they still have rights and some of their rights are being stepped on, and that unless we start addressing this, resentments will build and nothing good can come from resentment. I was wondering aloud to her what the outcome could potentially be. But time was crunching in on us and we had to wrap it up. Later that night I got an email from Lindsey asking if I had ever heard of the Proud Boys, and how ironic that we were just talking about men’s rights and then she saw news coverage about the Proud boys. So, I had to look it up.
The Proud Boys are a far right (also called western chauvinist) organization of men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world. They hit the news for disrupting Indigenous activist in Canada on Canada Day.
The video was interesting to watch and listen to the language being used by both sides. It is clearly hard for people to have a conversation with people who disagree with them. How can we learn to do better?
According to Wikipedia, Gavin Miles McInnis, co-founder of Vice Magazine and founder of Proud Boys, stated in a New York Times article:
“I don’t want our culture diluted. We need to close the borders now and let everyone assimilate to a Western, English-speaking way of life.”
When interviewed in 2013 by The Huffington Post on a panel about masculinity he also stated that “people would be happier if women would stop pretending to be men”, and that feminism “has made women less happy”. He explained that “We’ve trivialized childbirth and being domestic so much that women are forced to pretend to be men. They’re feigning this toughness, they’re miserable.”
He’s made a lot of very controversial comments that give me pause to think – does what he say hold any validity? I believe there is a thread of value in most people’s opinion because it came from some thing, some place, or some interaction that was real to that person, so therefore it has to have some shred of validity, regardless of how small.
So apparently, there are 4 steps in becoming a Proud Boy as outlined by Will Sommer, a reporter who covers these types of groups. These steps are:
Declare yourself a Proud Boy.
Take a beating from other Proud Boys while naming five breakfast cereals.(Sommer admits that “This seems bizarre, but the theory behind it sort of prepares you to think on your feet and think when your adrenalin is pumping”)
Get a Proud Boys tattoo
Get into a physical fight with a left-wing protester
They also take something of a vow of self-celibacy.
In the same article, Sommer said that
“women are not allowed in the group, although there is a sister organization. The Proud Boys do, however, accept gay and non-white members”
He also says their popularity is growing since he discovered them 6 months ago.
So, what does all this mean? Is this a result of diversity? Of feminism? Of denying male rights? Of leaving men not knowing how they fit into this new “equal” world so they revert back to pre-Gloria Steinem days. Is this getting us closer or further away from a better future? If this is a growing movement, what do we do?
Every decision we make results in something. What decisions were made that resulted in this movement? And where does it go from here?