#WorkingClassWhiteMen was trending on twitter tonight and I saw it and almost closed my laptop instantly but of course I clicked on it because I feel like I have this conversation constantly and it was not entirely surprising.
Here's the thing about #WorkingClassWhiteMen by a #WorkingClassWhiteMan
Think about the 3 concepts there. Working Class // White // Man. Being Working Class means the world sells you a narrative saying you're at the bottom of a class system and pretty much worthless. The world tells you its your fault that you can't afford rent this month and that it's your fault the only escape you can feel is a pack of fags. I got into uni, I am literally the "working class boy done good" story and people laughed at my accent and I hadn't read half the books everyone had read because my parents didn't keep classic children's literature on the bookshelf. The world is not made for Working Class people right now.
About being white. Being white brings with it white privilege, a sense of entitlement, there is a literal white house in America where the president rules form. Sure it might have just been the closest pot of paint at the time but coincidence does tend to favour white people doesn't it? That's because the world is made for white people.
Man. This again gives you a sense of entitlement, you're a male. Women should bow to you and make you a sandwich. You should protect your family, not cry, not be gay, be strong and generally dominate everything. Being a White // Man just combines the two of these things and the world tells you that you should be ruling the world. But you're not, you're working class.
You can't make enough money to pay the rent for an entire family because minimum wage can hardly support one person let alone 4. Sometimes you want to cry because you are surrounded by a world that thinks you're a piece of trash. This doesn't sound like the paragraph before does it?
Working Class White Men are having an identity crisis. Part of our identity tells us we should rule the world and part of it tells us we should be cleaning the floors after people who do. When you're clinging on to the bottom runs of the socio-economic ladder and you're desperate you begin to claw at those parts of you that might lift you. You push your manhood and deny your feelings, have an argument about how your girlfriend should respect you and than smack her one day. You push your whiteness and pretend it's cool to casually chuck around racist words and beat up the kid at school who's not from "around here".
This is not me excusing this behaviour, I grew up in this ideology and made those "casually" (read: that's just a denial term) racist jokes and sexist comments, I've been there, I get that it's grim.
But to all the #WorkingClassWhiteMen out there, women and people of colour are not the scapegoats to get you off that bottom ring. Attacking them might make you feel better for all of 2 seconds
Look upwards. Look at the White Men ruling countries and the millionaires that are paying you pittance to help them get a bit richer. They're the people giving you these shit feelings. Stop clogging up the airways as if our struggle is somehow more important than anyone else's struggle.
It took me a long time to realise that the toxic masculinity that made me check the way I was holding my wrists or the angle of my hip when I stood could actually be fought by fighting on the side of feminism. It took me a long time to realise that these feelings of superiority because of being white didn't let me think clearly or see people for who they are. It took me even longer to realise my class background is not something to be ashamed of, I'm a writer and I bring a richness of culture that other rich writers aren't going to bring. My culture is just as valid as any rich person's, and even if the world doesn't see it yet I will make them see it and I won't block other people who are doing the same.
Obviously eventually I figured out this whole twitter shitstorm was all in reaction to a TV show which I'm watching as I type this. It's not a bad TV show, it's not an unnecessary TV show because there is a crisis with working class white men but it does feed into this idea that somehow white working class white men are the most oppressed people on the planet and I just don't buy that. Do a TV shows about working class people of colour who get all this shit but also are made to feel like they don't deserve to live in their own country. Make a TV shows about white working class women who get all this shit and also watch as the world tells them their function in life is to be quiet and have babies.
Write other stories and platform people to write their stories AS WELL as this one. MORE than this one.
Be angry at the ruling class and do something about it because I am bored of this whole identity crisis that took up 20 years of my life and is still taking up time now.
Responses I had on impulse while writing the show.
1) Getting into Oxbridge does not indicate your intelligence or intellectual worth. Working class people who talk about their desire to be middle class (I told about culture not economics, wanting to be able to afford rent is a desire to survive) is like seeing gay men on Grindr that say they're "Straight acting".
2) "We were just kids" is not an excuse to not talk about race. Everyone being working class doesn't level out all other parts of your identity.
3) "The only thing here that will hold you back is not being as good as the next man". next MAN. MAN. Literally said it right there, it's all about being a man.
4) There's literally a man in that Britain First march wearing an FCUK top which stands for what? FRENCH connection uk. FRENCH. That's not British?