Posted by Cindy Zhu
Since the beginning of our country’s history, white men have constituted the majority of political positions, which contradicts the idea of living in a democratic society where all people are represented. Due to their political power, these policymakers have been able to exercise an unfair amount of control over American society, for example, appointing Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice when most Americans opposed it.
Following the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice, as well as evidence of President Donald Trump talking about grabbing women and the #MeToo movement, it seems that more and more Americans are realizing the power that white cisgender men have over our government and society. All the way back in the fall of 2016, research firm PerryUnderm revealed that more Democratic voters than ever were aware of the power of white men in America, and that these people were able to use their power to exercise their will over everyone. A poll conducted earlier this September by PerryUnderm revealed that about 76% of Democrats agreed that “one reason Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed is that white men want to hold onto their power in government”. Additionally, it was observed that both men and women seemed to agree on the issue. 79% if Democratic women and 71% of Democratic men, as well as 49% of voters overall, agreed with this statement. This poll also revealed that many saw the justice unfavorable, with 59% saying that Kavanaugh likely lied under oath, compared with the 57% last December, and 41% stated that confirming Kavanaugh was wrong. PerryUnderm later stated that a few years ago, these numbers would be far lower, showing a general rise in awareness over this important issue.
Recently, YAC members discussed the findings of this poll. Members noted the increasing popularity of “hating on white men”, but questioned the authenticity of such comments. Very often, people make fun of white privilege but don’t fully understand the gravity of the issue, which can be harmful to the legitimacy of efforts to combat the problem. YAC also noted the fact that we live in the Bay Area, California, one of the more progressive areas of the U.S, and that very often, we can forget that we live in a “bubble”. Although we may be able to see more awareness here, it can very often be the opposite in different parts of the country. Members also discussed ways to address the issue of a superficial understanding and make Americans more genuinely aware of the hold that white men have over our government. Such ideas include civics classes or mandatory ethnic studies implemented in high schools and higher education across America. Although deemed by many as unnecessary, it is essential for Americans to appreciate and understand the different struggles and cultures experienced by others in order to have a truly equal and inclusive society.