That is a generous question for you to ponder. However, I think it is a good one. The reality is that oppression IS toxic for the oppressor as well as the oppressed. By having to turn on that nearly psychopathic lack of empathy, it doesn’t effectively switch off at will, right, Kent McManigal?
They let their own families starve, get broken up by the child welfare system, deal with untreated mental illness, freeze, and then they cry, “Welfare is slavery,” when they hear about such situations. People are right to say they are not “conservatives” when they say such things. They are authoritarians. Cleanly. The people who have starved and been marched by police into foster care know.
These folks, and that does include white women, too, end up turning on themselves. I believe with every ounce of my being that is how you get sky high rates of suicide in white men. Not to mention their mass shooting rates.
Relatively speaking, their rates of all mental illness are disproportionately high, because we know for a fact that mental illness is caused at least in part by stress, and white people have demonstrably less stress than minorities, but they have equal to or higher rates of mental illness.
Lack of empathy is costly!
So, your mission is noble. It is probably also necessary. Someone in the equation has to have empathy in order to repair the relationship.
It is not something that white men are born with. I just told the story of my nephew on another Medium comment, but essentially, it is this. I took him to Toys R’ Us last year and I told him he could buy anything under $30 for his sixth birthday. His twin sister got the same deal. Anyway, he has two stuffed penguins at home. He bought another stuffed penguin so he could make a family. That’s what he wanted to buy. After looking at trucks, guns, Legos, and countless other things, that’s what he wanted.
He’s not feminine. He doesn’t play with dolls. His dad lets him play that video game where you can kill hookers. I can’t recall the name. But, at least, he was so nurturing and empathetic, he wanted something as sweet as a family of stuffed animals. A year later, and my sister reports he is hitting his sister frequently.
It’s unbelievable for it seems as if the only cure for oppression is to cure the oppressor of their self-induced mental health problem. That doesn’t seem fair for oppressed people. The same goes for women trying to deal with men in their lack of empathy. All of us in the rest of the United States dealing with dominionist Christians. Gay folks dealing with straight hate.
I am eager to read your essay. By the way, it has been my experience throughout my life that many of the black people in my life have had deep empathy for white people. Much, much, much more than the other way around. My mentor and the woman who got me out of poverty is a black woman who worked with poor white kids in Iowa for most of her life. She was working on two goals at once. She was fighting racism in rural Iowa just by living there. She was literally the one black person thousands of people could say they knew. But that was meaningful in these communities. She changed minds. She also grew to understand how cruel white people are to poor white people and she had a lot of empathy for us. During her life, she made a huge difference. She fought poverty, racism, and may just have helped get Obama elected by being one of the people who made Iowa open to a black president (Iowa started the ball rolling by picking him over Hillary).