1 The End of the Great White Male
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1 The End of the Great White Male JOHN R. GRAHAM After more than two centuries of running the nation, American white men are being threatened with loss of power. Five centuries ago, the foundations of the world were shaken. So-called immutable truths toppled forever as man was replaced by the sun as the center of our universe . Equally wrenching is the current shattering of white males' world view, in which they long have seen themselves as the central characters on society's stage. All around are the effects of a revolution that is both painfully distressing and totally confusing to what well may become known as the last of the great white males. As the turmoil continues, white males are the inevitable scapegoats-and their difficulties only are beginning. The illustrations are everywhere. Even though rumblings have been heard for more than a decade now, the Earth really shook when the national United Way organization was disrupted in 1992. The white male who built and ran the powerful agency for two decades was knocked out of his seat of power and replaced by an Asian woman. To focus on the fact that she is Asian and female is to miss the point. She happens to know the current rules of the game: You don't turn the business into a private sandbox. Limos and other self-serving luxuries aren't part of the bargain today, a lesson that has been lost on white males, many of whom continue to believe that they possess a divine right to the perks of power. The cracks in the Earth's surface widened as the quakes have come fast and furious with the deposing of great white males throughout Fortune 500 firms. The great white males feel threatened and somewhat confused about why it is happening. Until now, the great white male had considered it no one's business what he takes out of the company, the way he conducts business, how much he is paid, or even how he treats his subordinates, particularly women. Throughout the last several hundred years, the great white male has lived by the strict code of the old-boy network. The dismissal of corporate leaders symbolizes the replacement of the old-boy network by quite a different code of behavior-competence. Who you know is giving way to what you know, a sure sign that Americans finally have entered the information age full tilt. Several other threats plague the great white male. One of them is sheer numbers. The Huns once again are invading, but this time they come masked as Hispanics, Asians, and, yes, women. Even though Americans are told in a dozen ways that Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of U.S. society, the great white male mentality can not accept change, just as many refused to acknowledge that the sun was the cenUSA TODAY, November 26, 1993. Originally published in USA Today. Reprinted by permission. Copyrighted Material 4 John R. Graham ter of our universe. Meanwhile, sheer energy, drive, and education soon will give Asians the upper hand in American business. Although they may be today's small merchants, they will emerge as tomorrow's leaders in manufacturing, education, and finance. The great white male is no match for the Asian drive and work ethic. At one point, the Wall Street Journal noted that American business is not running as fast as it did in the past. The great white males are having a difficult time keeping up with the emerging minorities. The major threat to the great white male, however, clearly is women. He honestly believes there is a conspiracy afoot and that females are the enemy, working feverishly to take control of everything. Like most other conspiracy theories, the conclusion does not reflect the facts. What actually is happening is totally different, since the great white male is doing everything possible to hand over the jobs and to transfer the power of business and politics to women. The number of females elected to the u.s. Senate and House in 1992 affirms the direction. The most intense drama in the world of politics was presented on TV for everyone to see. This watershed event was the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings that were brought to the public's attention by the Senate, the last bastion of the great white male. No single subject drives the great white male into an irrational frenzy faster than Anita Hill. The debate...