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My Son’s Heritage

(No Apology Here!)

Mick Stratton


Recently a young African American girl gave a speech during Black History month that, in part, discussed some of the wrongs that White Americans had committed and, to some extent, denigrated today’s Whites.  It reminded me that as a White American Male I represent the last unprotected group in society today.  When people think of this group they usually include the traits of being Christian, heterosexual and monogamous. I fit that stereotype and therefore have the privilege of belonging to the one group that in religion, race, sex, and sexual orientation can be mocked and insulted with little consequence.  In other words I do not have a single area where I can claim victimhood. My group is the only one that people can tell jokes about, criticize openly and generally blame for all the problems of the world and no one will bat an eye.

This has never really bothered me because I have broad enough shoulders to carry the umbrage as I go on with my life.  However, the other day I was watching my seven year old son play and realized that soon others would also be putting this burden on him.  So when the time comes, I will give him this letter concerning who he is, and why he should be so proud of his heritage when others start to denigrate it.


Since before recorded history, groups of people have tried to control, move, or wipe out other groups of people. This has been universal. In Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, domination and slavery have been the norm rather than the exception. The stronger groups have always controlled or eliminated the weaker ones. Most societies made women subservient to men. Historically, civilizations have been structured so the common man had little power in controlling his destiny. These were the ways of all races and cultures: Blacks, Asians, Whites, and Native Americans. This definitely is not a trait unique to your group, the White American Male.

You, my son, are the group that stood up and said enough is enough!

You began in Europe by demanding rights from your kings. Admittedly, this was just for you, but it was a start. You still had slaves, you still dominated the weak, and you still subjected women to your control, but you had made the first step toward freedom and equality.

You came to North America as a colony of England. You were cruel to the people who were here before you, but no more so than other groups would have been. In fact, these first Americans were at least as cruel to each other as you were.  All you need to do is study how the Aztecs and the Mayans treated weaker groups to see the truth in this.

After a while you demanded your freedom from England saying that you should have self-rule. It took a war for you to obtain your freedom, but you fought it and won.  From the beginning of your country many of you believed that slavery was wrong and that ALL people should be free.  It took you 88 years and another war before you eliminated slavery. You heard your sisters as they told you they were your equals, and over time you agreed.  You voted to make it the law of the land and eventually it has become a reality.

You of all groups willingly relinquished power and died fighting to wrest it from others so the common man could control his own destiny, so there would be no slavery in your country, and so your sisters could take their rightful place at your side as equals. You were the first to try to create a country that tries to honor Jesus’s second command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Because of you, your county has become the envy of the world.  Today, where your ways are most despised, there is little diversity, women are subjugated, the common people have little control over their destiny, there is little or no religious freedom, and in some places slavery still exists.

Are you perfect? No, you have committed serious wrongs, but then all groups have. The difference is in how readily you admit to your offenses.  Possibly it is because of this that others so often believe you are the cause of their problems, instead of their own failings.  You are not!  It is human nature to blame others for failure and you make a pretty good scapegoat because you have been so successful.

So son, when others denigrate you, blame you, and insult you; realize that they don’t understand who you are or what you did.  Be better than they are and just let it go.  Always hold your head high.  Recognize that it was you who set the stage so that freedom and equality could become a reality.  Realize that you are made of the stuff that reaches out to others in need, not asking for thanks or recognition, but enjoying the pleasure of doing that which is good.  Yes, son, be proud of your heritage, The White American Male; I am.

I love you,