White Men: Time to Discover Your Cultural Blind Spots | Michael Welp | TEDxBend

White Men: Time to Discover Your Cultural Blind Spots | Michael Welp | TEDxBend


Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Claudia Sander In 1990, I traveled to South Africa
as part of my work with Outward Bound. That was life-changing for me. Nelson Mandela had just been released
from prison a few months before, and apartheid was being dismantled. I worked with mining groups
and banks and other businesses facilitating interracial
team-building courses, each lasting eight days. The mining guys all worked
on the same shifts together, and yet, on the same shifts across race, they never ate meals together, they never shared the same dorm rooms, and they never drank beer together. One white miner’s wife told him, “If you sleep in the same room
as a black man, I will divorce you.” We started intensive team activities
minutes after they arrived. At first, I was inspired and connected with the black miners
from different tribal groups, who would always spontaneously sing
and dance around the campfire. Over time, I found that I had a lot
in common with the white men as well. They were good guys one-on-one, and yet, they were part of a system
that was oppressive. They were in power,
and others conformed to their system. I found over time that I had more in common
with the white men than I was comfortable with. I looked into their eyes and I saw myself. I felt compelled to come back to the US
and work with people like me, other white men. Back in the US, I spent
seven years researching: How do white men learn about diversity? What triggers our awareness and our movement towards being
advocates for diversity? In my dissertation research, I found the white men I studied learn almost everything
from women and people of color. They didn’t turn to other white men, and in fact disconnected
from other white men and were angry at them. I was presenting these results
at a national conference and a black woman stood up, and she said, “If that’s the pathway to diversity
for white men, I’m exhausted.” (Laughter) “I don’t have the energy
to educate all of you.” (Laughter) And she was right! Another colleague of mine,
also with an Outward Bound background, Bill Proudman, had an idea to break that pattern. He said, “Let’s get in the room
with a group of white guys and spend four days examining ourselves. What does it mean to be white
and to be male, and for many of us, heterosexual?” We called it a white men’s caucus. The first white men’s caucus
we did was 20 years ago. Since then, we’ve done hundreds of them,
with thousands of white men. Over time, we found that white men
don’t know three things. One, we don’t know
that we’re part of a group, and that we have a culture. Two, we don’t know that others are having a different experience
in the world than us. And three, we don’t know that the process of learning this
is actually life-changing for us, and we gain so much in the process. Just to be clear, white men are not the only people
in the world that don’t know things. (Laughter) All of us have learning and work to do around how to partner
more effectively with each other. I’m just talking today
about the white-male part of the equation, which is often not articulated. So let’s go back to the first thing
that white men don’t know. We don’t know that we’re part of a group,
and that we have a culture. When I look in the mirror, I see Michael. I don’t see myself as a white male. Others, women and people of color,
may see a white male, but I just see Michael. This is partly a result
of how diversity is framed. When we look at race, for example,
we often focus on people of color. When we look at gender,
who do we usually talk about? Women. When we look at sexual orientation, we often focus on gay,
lesbian and bisexual. We don’t examine being white,
or being male, or being heterosexual. It’s like an invisible part of myself. I once worked with a SWAT team commander who came back and said he applied
what he learned the first day on the job. He was in a situation that usually ends
in a fight or an arrest, and he was able to avoid both. Seeing himself and recognizing himself
now as a white male, he realized, “This stranger does not
know me personally.” And he didn’t have
to take anything personally. He shifted from defensiveness to inquiry, and he was able to take
an explosive moment and turn it into a moment of partnership. So white men, we don’t know
we’re part of a group. We also don’t know
that we have a culture. We’re like a fish in water. We rarely have to leave
our cultural waters, and so we have the least
awareness of them. The culture, our culture,
permeates our schools, our institutions, Church, businesses, most places we go. So we have the least awareness of it. I love my culture, and I’ve also come to see
that when I overuse its strengths, those strengths can become weaknesses. So what are some of the traits
of white male culture? One is rugged individualism. And I love that part of me. I love that I pull myself up
by my bootstraps, put my head down and work hard. It has served me really well. And I know I can overuse that,
as others can too. Any of you ever know of white guys who get lost and refuse
to ask for directions? Audience member: My dad! Michael Welp: And that happened recently? (Laughter) Just so, I’m modeling white guys. You can actually read directions here. So, also, I love the action orientation. That’s another aspect of our culture. And that action orientation
is about doing and getting things done. I like to fix things,
I like to solve problems. I can also overuse
that problem-solving mindset. Any of you ever have
to tell your white male spouse, “I don’t want you to fix this,
I just want you to listen”? (Laughter) Anybody hear that? As white guys,
have you ever heard that before? Also, our culture teaches us that we can’t be rational
and emotional at the same time. So we leave our emotionality behind. Other cultures don’t do that. When I live in this –
invisible to me – cultural box, I don’t even think of it as a culture. I just think of it as being a good human, or a good American. And I judge others
by this invisible cultural box, and that puts them in a place
where they feel judged. Unconscious bias,
that’s what it is for me, which is that it’s like a background
operating system on autopilot, that I didn’t even know
was running in myself. I might say I’m culture-blind
or I might say I’m gender-blind, and that I just treat everybody the same. I don’t realize that others hear that
as having to fit into my cultural box. And I don’t even know that I’m causing
that assimilation in others. Others can be frustrated because they know they have to leave
part of themselves at the door. And what’s even more interesting
is we do that to ourselves as white men. We also fit into the cultural box, and when we do that, we leave
some of our humanness behind. The second thing
that most white men don’t know is we don’t know that others are having
a different experience in the world. Most of us just naturally connect
on sameness and commonality. In fact, intercultural research shows
that when you engage difference, most people either deny
or minimize those differences, and that pattern shows up
for younger generations as well. And yet, women, people of color and others
have different experiences, and if I’m only connecting on sameness, I’m not seeing another part
of their reality. It’s not that my view
of the world is wrong; more likely, it’s incomplete. So, for instance, I don’t have
to think about my own safety. If I go jogging at night,
most of the time I’m pretty comfortable, even going alone. I travel on business a lot. I arrive late into airports,
and I drive to the hotel. Sometimes I get lost. And I’m not too worried about that. It’s just not easy, but it’s not unsafe for me,
for most of the time. Many women would want
to arrive in the hotel before dark, and would want your hotel room
to be off the ground floor and not near an exit. I was traveling with
my business colleague, Bill, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to work with an executive team. Well, right after I flew
into O’Hare Airport, thunderstorms closed the airport. Soon, I found out there were
no more flights to Kalamazoo, and there were no more rental cars. Bill’s rugged individualism kicked in, and he propositioned a taxi to take us
all the way to Kalamazoo. We got there 2:30 in the morning,
and by 8 a.m. that morning, we are standing in front
of the executive team, proud, and talking about how our adventure was
and we were going to get there. Failure wasn’t an option
in that rugged individualism. Well, there was one woman on that team. She raised her hand, and she said, “I would have never gotten into that taxi
and driven across rural America at night with a stranger as a taxi driver. And I would have made up an excuse so you wouldn’t think
I wasn’t a team player.” I looked at her, and I looked at Bill,
and I looked at the group, and I said, “I teach this stuff,
and I’m blind to it at the same time.” The word “privilege”
is a hard word for us as white men because we don’t feel privileged. We actually feel like
we’ve worked incredibly hard for everything we have. And I would say
a deeper perspective is, yes, we have worked incredibly hard, and there are things that we haven’t had
to navigate or negotiate or think about that other groups are. For instance, more examples
of how my life might be different being heterosexual. At work, I can have a picture
of a loved one on my desk and not worry about
what other people think about, or not worry that it might hinder
my next promotion or get me fired. As a cisgendered person, I can go out on the spur
of the moment with friends and know that I can find
a bathroom that I can use without being harassed or beat up. As a white person, at work
people don’t look at me and think I got my job
because of affirmative action, and therefore have me feeling
like I’ve got to work twice as hard to prove I’m qualified. Or I can easily find mentors
of my race at all levels in most organizations. Or I can buy pictures,
postcards, greeting cards featuring people of my race, easily. Or I don’t have to have the talk
with my white kids about how to literally stay alive
if stopped by the police. So for me, the layers
of privilege go on and on. Being able-bodied or, I might say,
temporarily able-bodied, I didn’t have to figure out how to negotiate my way
through this facility to give this talk. Being Christian, people know my holidays,
and they align with time off. So privilege is stuff
that I don’t have to deal with. It’s not having to navigate
or deal with some of those things. It’s not something I chose. And what happens is others assume we, as white men,
know about our privilege, and that we see it. And they assume we just don’t care
or want to hoard our privilege. So they attribute negative intent
on to that privilege. When we start to see our privilege
and own our privilege, it removes the burden from others to have to educate and prove to us
their different realities are real. I can use my privilege honorably. For instance, if I’m in a meeting, and a woman shares an idea
and it’s ignored, and a few minutes later
a man repeats that, I can use my privilege to point out
to my male colleagues that, hey, that was originally her idea. If she was to do that, she might be seen
as having a chip on her shoulder around men. When we acknowledge
other people’s experiences as valid and let our hearts be impacted
by their experience, we create more trust and more openness. I saw this happen in South Africa,
and I’ve seen it happen around the world. It’s a shift from a partnership
that’s based partly on fear to a partnership based more on love. Which brings me to the third thing
that most white men don’t know. We think diversity is about
helping other people with their issues. We don’t realize the process
of learning about our culture and that others are having
a different experience actually is life-changing for us
and gives us many insights. For instance, when I discover
my cultural box, I can continue to use
the strengths of that culture and I have the choice
to step out of that culture when it would serve me and others more. For instance, maybe I want to be
in my head and my heart at the same time. Maybe I want to be able
to ask for directions, or ask for help or say, “I don’t know.” Maybe I want to be able to slow down and not try to fix something
I don’t understand. When I show that I’m willing to validate
other people’s experiences, it opens up space for new partnership. One white man went back
to a black man at work and shared his learning. Initially, the black man wasn’t open, but a week later, the black man
came at to the white man, closed the door, talked for two hours, and he said, “In 20 years, no white man
has ever asked me what it’s like to be black
in this corporation.” Another white man went back
to his son and apologized. The week before the caucus, his son had come from school bullied, and he’d told his son,
“Don’t cry and suck it up.” Well, during the caucus, the white man learned
he was just training his son to be in that white male box. So he came home and he said, “I’m sorry I told you
to suck it up and [not] cry. It’s okay to feel what you feel,
and you don’t have to do it alone. You can come to me
and I’ll be there for you.” We can have other kinds
of partnerships at work too. If I offend somebody,
which is going to happen eventually, I don’t have to spend time
defending that I’m a good guy. I can shift, using humility
and inquiry, and say, “How did I just impact you?” That shifts me from a stance
of “it’s not my fault” to a stance of “I’m responsible.” So white men, what can you do
when you leave here today? One, you can remember and realize
that you have a culture, and you can start to see it. You can step outside of it
when that serves you, and you can notice more
when you impose it on others. Second, remember that others are having
a different experience than you. So use inquiry and curiosity to get their world
and broaden your perspective. Three years before Nelson Mandela died,
I wrote him a letter. In it, I said, “I was astonished to see you
emerge from 27 years in prison and embrace, from a place of love,
the white men who imprisoned you. You showed that love
is the greatest force for change, and I want you to know that it’s the same thread
of love that I carry that you passed on
to the white men in South Africa.” I ask all of us today
to carry that same thread to others as you create extraordinary partnerships
with people around the planet. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheering)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “White Men: Time to Discover Your Cultural Blind Spots | Michael Welp | TEDxBend

  1. White male privilege is real in the ways the speaker notes, but he's leaving out a major factor. As straight white men, we have no victim cards. Lacking membership in any victim group, we get characterized as villains. In 2019, we are at constant risk of having some victim card thrown against us, and being immediately placed on the defensive.

  2. 15:48:00 mins -How come that love did not give back that stolen land and share the wealth as a result of the invasion of Azania? The majority of the indigenoous people living in extreme poverty in their own land while the invaders live in luxury.

  3. Diversity did not create the inventions that everyone…including the non whites use.
    White culture is better than most… Mozart is better than hitting two sticks together.

  4. Whites don't have "cultural blind spots" because they aren't interested in being like Blacks. Blacks need to be given their own place to live. ALL other discussion is stupidity.

  5. Like people saying, “heritage, not hate…” as it pertains to the confederate flag 🤔 what do they think the heritage represents?? 🤦🏽‍♀️

  6. Ok he lost me at 11:52–12:02! Speak for yourself Mike!! There are some white men and women that are WELL aware of their privilege!! Please dont say all of you are unaware because that is BS!!! There maybe some….I'll give you that!!

  7. I'll give this guy credit for trying to open the minds of those that want them to remain close.There is understandings to many gang lifestyles which usually happens by members in these gangs caring ONLY about what the gang wants, did you hear me, "They Care Only About WHAT THE GANG WANTS! Even though when they're alone they know they're doing wrong they refuse to accept what they know is true because the idea of being on top trumps your safety and your rights!

  8. Like everybody understands and accepts white males. You can find many videos of "privileged" white males treated much worse than what is called white racism.

  9. So,everybody understands and accepts white males. So what if you can find hundreds of videos of privileged white males treated much worse than what is called white racism.?

    I am sure Reginald Denny and the mentally-ill teen tortured in Chicago and many other white men were all thinking about their privilege.

  10. Their are European cultures that became Western cultures that continue to absorb other cultures that move to those Western cultural regions. There is no race cultures there are African cultures and Asian cultures and south American cultures and so on. For these ground culturally are very similar but still different enough not to be boiled down to skin color as a way to differ them.

  11. Greeting to all. There is no race called white that fabricated name was not existing before the brittish coloni Maryland today USA round 1681.

    Why is that diffination Implimented?

    What was the reaction from "europian immgrats" when it was implimented?
    How was they diffine themself befor?

  12. The white race are the nephalin descendents.hence the narsisism, and phycopathy.I work with people of diffrent races.I have some nice white friends.they still don't get what they do is wrong.they clan up together with other white people they don't even like to take over and control others.

  13. Id challenge anyone to visit any major city in the western world and tell me multiculturalism is working anywhere. Where's the diversity and multiculturalism is Asia, Africa or the middle east?

  14. Any serious discussion of "white male culture" would first define what that is. Actually, it's impossible to define, because it doesn't exist. There are a lot of cultures and subcultures that white men are members of. There is tremendous diversity.

  15. Thank u!!! where can I find more information about setting up a course like the one you are talking about?

  16. I dont need any other culture thanks buddy, mine is already culturally, historically, morally and technically superior to all others.

    But If i ever need to know the going rate for my 5year old daughter i now know who to call. 👍🏻

  17. The premise put forward by the title of this video is laughable. What comes close to White Culture is stealing from other cultures, coopting other cultures, making other cultures theirs. Adopting and ruining other cultures' foods and calling it theirs. They have no inate culture. Stealing, eating, screwing and being complimented on bad behavior is about it.

  18. Our enemy isn't white men, it's the elites and Zionists that happen to be white that still play the same divide & conquer game's – know the difference

  19. As Mohamed Ali said "birds of a feather flock together", it's just the natural order of things, Chinese mix with Chinese, Africans with Africans , Arabs with Arabs, Indians with Indians, it's only in white dominated countries where people mix to any great degree.

  20. If you need to ease into talking to people of other cultures start by watch any of anthony Bourdain's shows on Netflix he does a wonderful job of exploring different cultures through food and drink.

  21. The preferred term nowadays is "melanin-challenged" instead of "white".

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Melanin-Challenged Lives Matter

  22. White men: Best thing you can do is be manly and strong willed and resist these pussified efforts to turn you into a politically correct cuck. Take control of the nation you founded!

  23. Get that box and dismantle it…lay it flat…then have other cultures to do the same…until all edges meet from every box…then what we end up with is a floor of cooperation….either that or wall to wall cardboard carpeting..lol..good talk..a very enlightened expression of concern and self awareness… I love it..

  24. Ok, I have to disagree.
    I am a man from Afghanistan..
    I was born in Afghanistan, raised and been living here all my life, I am not a white man and have not been around one. In the mean time I see most of what he described as “white man culture” in myself.
    I leave my emotions out of the way when dealing with something, I am at my most efficient and sharpest when I am alone, I would NEVER ask for directions if I am lost, while being aware that it is wrong and I don’t know why I do it, but still do it.. So I am more than sure it is not about culture of a white man, but I have no idea where it came from…

  25. Every person of every color has a different experience and a different perspective. It's really not that complicated. His own self-realization of his own perspective is just that…his own, not mine, not yours. There's 16 minutes and 47 seconds of my life that I'll never get back.

  26. Good talk. There's generally always a lot needed to be done, for people to better understand themselves and each other mutually, whatever their backgrounds. As noted, it's not helpful treating any particular group as "default" or not worth talking about. All groups deserve to be discussed and heard, and all groups deserve to try and find ways towards each other and to overcome misunderstandings. Stereotypes hurt everyone.

  27. Does this 'White Guy' actually think white people
    get along with other white people, ever hear of
    World War 1, and World War 2.

  28. I disconnected from white men when I reached the age of Enlightenment; I was about seven… the culture of Masculinity and "White" pride is heinous and toxic.

  29. White men are not a monolith. We do not have a shared culture. If we did have a shared culture, then there would have been less wars in Europe… And European states/America/Canada/Australia/NZ were founded by white people. Lo and behold white people dominate these states. It's like rocket science or something…. Should Africa not be Africa? Should we start following Nelson Mandela's ideals and torture people? You can learn from other races and it's easy to get along with other races. I certainly get along better with Asians than I do other white people. But stop feeling guilty about who you are. Every race has bad people. And you aren't responsible for what your ancestors did.

  30. Another dose of race baiting. The presenter forgets it was white guys that died in the Civil War to free slaves. It was white guys that died in many wars to preserve freedom for the nation and oppressed. Think about it: How many gave the ultimate sacrifice. Yes, other members of other races sacrificed also, but consider the race that lost the most in the wars to establish and maintain freedom.

  31. Another dose of race baiting. The presenter forgets it was white guys that died in the Civil War to free slaves. It was white guys that died in many wars to preserve freedom for the nation and oppressed. Think about it: How many gave the ultimate sacrifice. Yes, other members of other races sacrificed also, but consider the race that lost the most in the wars to establish and maintain freedom.

  32. Another dose of race baiting. The presenter forgets it was white guys that died in the Civil War to free slaves. It was white guys that died in many wars to preserve freedom for the nation and oppressed. Think about it: How many gave the ultimate sacrifice. Yes, other members of other races sacrificed also, but consider the race that lost the most in the wars to establish and maintain freedom.

  33. Another dose of race baiting. The presenter forgets it was white guys that died in the Civil War to free slaves. It was white guys that died in many wars to preserve freedom for the nation and oppressed. Think about it: How many gave the ultimate sacrifice. Yes, other members of other races sacrificed also, but consider the race that lost the most in the wars to establish and maintain freedom.

  34. The sheer hatred for white men is SO obvious everywhere you go in the west!!! You see it in every eye! Especially when you return from anywhere else!!!

  35. Society: "White Men: Time to Discover Your Cultural Blind Spots"
    * bang
    Society: White cis men have so much privilege it literally kills them.

  36. We need less people talking about white culture and more people thinking about their own behaviour whatever your colour.

  37. i'd like to add that when he says 'white male culture,' he means 'white american male culture.' I'm a white man but I'm from the Czech Republic, and there is not very much culturally that I have in common with white men in America.

  38. White men…you have done nothing wrong for being born white…do not feel guilty for the way you were born…telling someone they are anything because of the color of their skin is called being a bigot…

  39. He must have never been in the south. He would not survive white people think like that put themselves in danger as well. Sad but true, trust we are in the last days. Plus there is nothing new under the sun. God is using white oppression to bring his people of color together. Save your apologies for judgement 👊🏾

  40. Great talk. Eye opening. However as a white man I refuse to take responsibility for the way that someone else feels about my being white.

    It is not on me if you feel like I am superior to you in any way. Just treat me like a human. Don’t judge prematurely, don’t be prejudiced.

  41. This guy paints with a very broad brush. Why is he attempting to speak for “white men”. Makes him sound quite silly. He certainly doesn’t speak for me and he seems to be projecting some of his own unresolved issues.

  42. You learn very little just hanging out with other cultures on one trip. Mike you are clueless to what you are trying to preach

  43. Propaganda at its finest! How many brainwashed libtards actually buy this nonsense? And who can point out the 1st out of the many falshoods of this guys statements? Lie # 1, he claims to be straight! Hahahahahah lie number 2, diversity is a strength or somehow inherently good! False, diversity always has and always will mean anti-white, and white genocide! Period, now you little bitches keep on, and i will send this vid, to the honerable ambassador to the white race, Mr, Tracey, for re-education! BTW, the Atheist Kangaroo sends his regards! Hahahahahah

  44. Agree with the title though…white males need to rediscover their roots and heritage and stop shaming themselves for being white like so many pathetic white leftists today

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