Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life challenges on the white-guy track

There's been a lot of attention  given to white guys , the pejorative term for white males,  during this election season.  That's because the polls once again showed white guys strongly favoring Mitt Romney, a self-iconic success story,  over President Obama.  Political thinkers, sociologists and the producers of Romney lapel buttons have all checked into the long-running phenomenon of why white guys prefer Republicans.

Still unsatisfied with the GOP quarry, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina went so far as to complain that "We're not generating enough angry  white guys to stay in business for the long term."  What he fears as a generic white Southern Republican is that minorities will become the majorities in the U.S.over the next decade and where will that leave the white guy party?  Well, where?

A number of theories are around.  The Economist recently reported a paper published in Psychological Science that suggests that muscles have something to do with the political profile of white guys.  Researchers Michael Petersen  (University of Aarthus in Denmark) and Daniel Sznycer (University of California, Santa Barbara) asked their subjects whether  resources should be redistributed to the poor.  Musculature identified those who opposed such redistribution.

The scholars didn't say so, but it does seem that one clue to the white guys'  preference for Mitt Romney could be their  desperate  remedy for erectile dysfunction against groups of rivals.

It comes down to fear of losing the dominance that only Republicans can offer in their campaign bombast about success in a rapidly changing marketplace.    Will, for example, the white guys'  traditional cookout role of grilling steaks  be diluted by pushy females who escape from the kitchen?  Or as Executive Chef Elisabeth Karmel asks: Is the grill the last bastion of masculinity?

As one who grew up in a family with many cousins of Republican toughs with Popeye arms,  I can say that yes, there is anger  and resentment over minorities and women's roles  that have been coming on for decades.  A college professor once complained to me that female professors were  getting too sassy around him.  And a former boss didn't know how he could survive  after his company had placed a woman executive above him.

Stricken by such thoughts of servitude to The Others, some fearful white guys still rely on holstered sidearms, barbells and hairy chests to prove they are not sissies.  How else can they disguise their resentfulness and insecurity over the threats to their masculinity?  To them, seeking refuge in the brave old world of Republicanism would at least give them a temporary  safety net.

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