In a country built on White patriarchal values, no one is as oppressed as White American men―at least, that’s how several of them tell the story. This is a narrative I heard immediately upon arrival in America in 2015 and they have not shut up about it since. It was especially loud when Biden decided that the judges on America’s highest court should look like the demographics of the country it served―like just about every other sensible country in the world.
Back in 2015, the ranting was amusing to me. I listened to them complain and thought:
Wow! One day I hope I have the honour and privilege of complaining about things like these.
However, in time, the complaints got old. That’s because, despite having a lot of immigrant, LGBTQIA, and BIPOC friends, I promise you: no one complains as much as White American men. It is especially terrible among millennial men, but Gen X, and Boomers are almost as guilty. If I have to listen to another one rant about his free-dumbs, I think I might permanently plug my ears. So, what exactly are they complaining about?
A common theme I have heard from White millennial men is that they have arrived at a particular age and should have certain things. They are very angry at society for not providing them, despite doing nothing exceptional to have earned these exceptional accomplishments. Even worse, they are angry at me for having them when they do not. What often starts off as admiration of my immigrant journey quickly grows into hatred and resentment.
Obviously, this is not always the case, but it is true in 99% of cases involving the complainers. White men have trolled and lambasted me for the following reasons:
- Choosing to buy a home in the ‘burbs with my parents instead of paying city rent and having 10 roommates
- Choosing to work 7 days per week when I first arrived so that I now only need to work for 3
- Taking the pay cuts to build my business so I can work for myself instead of The Man
- Choosing to spend my resources on minimalism and travel instead of the debt-inducing American dream
Last week, a man asked me about my travel setup. After sharing, he told me he wanted to tow a trailer, so I shared the information I had. He quipped that “some of us” did not have my “budget” and then began to list out my accomplishments and possessions. He told me he was jealous because he should have these things. Then, he began to complain about how he had grown up in poverty and was now recovering.
I’m sorry, but is this the part where we hold hands and bond and sing Kumbaya? I have often wondered if Americans know how obnoxious and tone-deaf it is to complain to Third-Worlders about First-World poverty. Yes, you are poor enough that you have to live in your car and take Social Security benefits. In my country, poor people cannot afford cars and we do not have unemployment or disability benefits.
In the last job I held in Jamaica, I earned $3.50 per hour filing payroll taxes for Delta Airlines. Back in 2015, listening to Americans complain about getting $15 per hour for working in retail was fascinating. It seemed like a lovely complaint to have! But, as I said, eventually I got sick of hearing it.
Do I think retail workers and other everyday Americans should have livable wages? Absolutely! If you tried to pay me $15 per hour today, I would laugh. But, do I specifically want to listen to the most well-paid demographic complain about their pay? Not particularly.
While in Mexico, I met an Arizonan who was traveling solo. Our mutual friends invited him to one of our campfire get-togethers and we got to talking. I thought he was very interesting at first, particularly because he was originally from Canada. However, as we continued our conversation, I could see why he had chosen Arizona as his home for several years. He shared that he used to work on government contracts before migrating to Mexico but grew dissatisfied because, in his words, Black women could easily get all the contracts without trying.
If you don’t know the law regarding this, the federal government requires federal contractors to follow an 80 | 20 rule. This rule requires federal contractors hiring more than 50,000 people to balance every 80 White men hired with 20 minorities. These minorities are not just BIPOC. The group includes women and people with disabilities of all racial and ethnic groups. In spite of this, women and marginalized groups receive only 10% of government contracts. But, this poor White man who could afford to retire comfortably in his 50s was miserably oppressed by Black women getting contracts.
I understand that everyone has their struggles, no matter how wealthy and privileged they might be. Over the years, I have had many amazing conversations with people of all backgrounds. We have shared what our individual concerns and struggles are and shared tips on how we each made it to where we stood. This is different from the complaining, oppressed White man bemoaning the loss of his free-dumbs because he increasingly has to compete on a basis of merit instead of mere privilege.
I do believe that these men should have a listening ear and that they have every right to complain to someone about their First World Problems. All I ask is that they do not choose me―a Black, female, Third-World immigrant who knows what it’s like to live on $3.50 and who has fought tooth and nail for everything she has.
Feel jealous? Don’t tell me. Want to celebrate with me or get advice on how to advance your own dreams? My comments, DMs, and emails are wide open!
PS:- I just know someone is going to read this and want to argue semantics regarding my use of the term “Third World”. As someone born and raised in an alleged sh!t-hole country, I reserve the right to call myself whatever I please and you are free to refer to yourself as whatever you like. Good day!