I’ve seen tweets and meme with variations of a message I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: Give me the confidence of a mediocre white guy.
The first time I saw this it hit home because I’ve known and witnessed a lot of those guys in my life…mediocre white guys with undeserved amounts of confidence which allows them to advance in a way that seems almost…magical. I’ve seen mediocre white guys get hired for jobs they’re not qualified for, and funding for projects that have no possibility for success, and elected to powerful positions in communities they don’t even care about. As much as they don’t want to admit it, their success is about charisma which stems from confidence born into a person – the white male – for whom our societal infrastructure was built by…and built for.
And when I say “mediocre white guys” I mean white guys without a lot of money or experience or talent or even good lucks…who exude the confidence of all of the above and get doors opened for them into rooms I don’t even know exist.
There are other reasons this has been on my mind lately, some of which have to do with me trying to build my confidence up in pursuing investors and partners for a business I’m trying to launch. I watched both Fyre Festival documentaries and all I kept thinking watching Billy McFarland was: What I wouldn’t give for the confidence of that mediocre white guy.
But…again…our country was built by and for the white male. That’s centuries of confidence that women and people of color have just started to get realistic access to in the last 60’ish years. And even then, it’s not like all of the doors were opened and we were all greeted with open arms….it’s been a slow trickle and we still don’t see any sort of representation in politics or in business that match the gender and racial makeup of our country.
It’s just an interesting – sometimes depressing – thing I’ve noticed in my personal life and in the news and in media. Even mediocre white teenage boys get access to media and PR firms that young black men don’t ever get. And man, what I wouldn’t give for that confidence and charisma that turns into the power. I don’t need 10 million dollars to run a music festival in the Bahamas that looks sketchy from inception. I just need a small fraction of that to open a bookstore, but I sure could use the confidence of the mediocre white dude making that other ludicrous request.