Know When to Fold ‘Em, Old White Man

I’d hate to be a kid these days especially if I might have a nasty, right-wing grandfather. Seems to me that a grandpa ought to be a soft-spoken, kind and loving man who shares good stories of life, empathy and wisdom with the grandkids. After all, what else is there for him to ‘accomplish’ at this stage of life? The golden years ought not tarnish and rust away, leaving the grandchildren wondering what his life was all about.

Recently [here] I wrote on a psychological phenomenon named Construal Level Theory which supposes that there are people who fail to observe holistically and, rather, view the world in terms of classifications. The more powerful in society often exhibit this characteristic-the powerful don’t see their inferiors as important enough to actually bother learning about them, as being more distant and processed information about them more abstractly. 

The ‘powerful’ does not equate exactly with wealth, but it can also involve class and race. Just this week the media picked up on two white men [old white men] who exhibited this characteristic. The NBA owner and the cowboy rancher in Nevada. One had wealth and power while the other had white skin. Each man made racist statements and apparently did not imagine them to be racist. Rather, they felt some entitlement to speak that way.

One can imagine that these two old white men are but a small ice cube on the top of the iceberg floating in the cesspool of racism. It’s more than just assumed power. It has become a characteristic of too many old white men in this nation. Note: I am a 70+ white man, but I do not exhibit the characteristics about which I am enumerating. At least I hope!

The factors, as I see it, are loss and hopelessness. As men enter their senior years of life, they face the stark fact that what they once were is no longer. Their virility, their influence, their power wanes. Another, younger generation, has it and they no longer do. Fact of life, but many old men won’t accept that role. They don’t know when to fold ’em. Not only that, but they attempt to butt in where they are no longer needed. In fact, they attempt to bring stale, worthless ideas [ideals] into a whole new world. There is the part where the damage begins.

Imagine an electronics ‘expert’ from the 1960 advising a technology company today. Radio tubes and transistors are passe’ in today’s world. Imagine a garage mechanic from the 50’s giving advice on hybrid vehicles or a doctor who practiced in the 40’s doing distance robotic surgery.

Worse yet is the man whose social norms and social values have not advanced any in the past 60 years. The one who frequently used the “n” word and believed that “they” ought to stay in their own neighborhood. Spick, Kike, Coon, Dago, Pickaninny,  and Jap are still in their active vocabulary. For many, they are stuck in the 50’s and cannot accept that the ‘values’ from that era no longer are the same as those in the 21st century.

“I want my America back!”

Sure. And I want the fun I had as a kid.

But then I grew up and let go of childish things.

And became a fully-functioning and caring adult.

Get over it and shut up!

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2 thoughts on “Know When to Fold ‘Em, Old White Man

  1. LOL – I grew up within 30 miles of you and I didn’t learn all the racist epithets on your list until my third year of college. When someone first told me about the “N” word, I didn’t believe them because it sounded so stupid. Surprising to me, I learning as some of my relatives approach the century mark they reveal their true racism.

    Got a historical question for you: It seems that all the Catholic private high schools (and M.C.D.), with the exception of Central, were very white until the 1970’s. Is that a misconception?

    1. No misconception. Many of the blacks there were on sports teams and/or scholarship. The problems for blacks as well as lower income whites is the high tuition.

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