Opinion

Why there's no Heterosexual White Guy Pride Festival

Crowds fill Tryon Street on Saturday at the Charlotte Pride Festival.
Crowds fill Tryon Street on Saturday at the Charlotte Pride Festival. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

The tweet came Sunday afternoon from a guy named Rob up in Denver.

“Heterosexual Pride Day, White History Month, or a Men’s Rights movement would be ridiculous. So is today’s Pride festival.”

The tweet actually began with “@Clublama” which, so you understand if you’re not on Twitter, means Rob intended the message first and foremost for me. I get a lot of Tweets like that, as do many media types, especially those who play in the arena of opinion. We say snappy, quippy things about what’s going on, so listeners, readers, or viewers often want to direct their snappy, quippy things to us.

So first, Thank You, Rob, for thinking of sending your snappy quip to me. As it happens, I’ve heard that one before. A few thousand times, along with sibling snappy quips such as:

- Think we could get away with having a White Miss America pageant?”

- When are they having the Heterosexual Alliance Against Defamation awards?”

And,

- How come nobody sings, “I am Man, hear me roar”?

Yes, I’ve actually been asked that last one.

These proclamations are often made in ways that reveal the speaker or tweeter is pretty sure they’re the first to ever make the declaration. But, no. Downtrodden straight white guys have pined this particular persecution for a while.

I specifically remember it filling my email and flooding my phone lines in 2004 when the NBA awarded an olive branch franchise in Charlotte to Bob Johnson, billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television. A blessing, that Twitter hadn’t yet been born.

The heterosexual male white elephant in the room of Rob’s argument is this: Virtually all our history had been about whites. Historically, virtually all rights had belonged to men. Homosexuals could be and do virtually anything they wanted as long as they kept the “homo” part of their history to themselves. Or at least had a good cover.

There was no fight to be the first white President, baseball player, or Miss America. Men did not have to fight to be the first male Senator, stock car driver, or network executive. Heterosexuals did not have to fight for the right to simply be.

And blacks, women, and gays are hardly the first groups to express recognition of themselves in some way. We celebrate Columbus for Italians and St. Patrick for the Irish. There are Leif Erikson Days and Casimir Pulaski Days. We mark holidays for Christians, and holidays for Jews. We even have days for Groundhogs and Fools.

I'll admit the Pride festival, while I support it, can seem a little silly at times. Ten years ago I was riding a motorcycle in Chicago when I found myself behind a trailer on which were riding fifteen guys in pink jockey shorts and nothing else. I had ridden near where the Pride parade was gathering, and though I’m happy for them that they were “out, loud, and proud” – fifteen guys rolling down the street in pink tightie whities is ridiculous.

The fact is, Rob, there’s never been a Heterosexual Pride Day, White History Month, or Men’s Rights movement because the overwhelming, secure, controlling majority that is heterosexual white men has never needed special days or recognition.

Every day has been ours.

Keith Larson can be heard weekdays 9 a.m. - Noon on WBT AM/FM.

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