MoMA R&D

Salon 30 White Male

Myriad recent cultural and political events––among them the debris surrounding the 2016 US election, the #metoo movement, and the latest Supreme Court confirmation hearings––have reawakened a public discussion on the centuries-old power structure that contemplates the unabated supremacy of white men. The label “white man” is now actively used in public discourse and acknowledged as part of identity politics, instead of remaining, as the baseline for all definitions, largely unmentioned. Nowadays, it is often even used pejoratively and as a stereotyping tactic. This time of reckoning has however also sensitized public opinion to the fact that white men, like any other identity, are not a monolithic group, and therefore a more nuanced approach is required for a constructive debate and for the health of our society.

Some of the questions we strived to answer:What and who is a White Male? Since his is the default identity, so predominant and pervasive, can we thoughtfully articulate its nuances? What is the distance between the perception of White Male and the reality of being a white man? What paragon does the idea of White Male offer in today’s discourses about race, gender, and class? What position does a white man occupy in today’s society, in the US and elsewhere? How can society request a deeper level of introspection from white men and a recognition of white maleness as a previously unspoken identity? In what feels like a time of reckoning, can we avoid overshooting and occupying a reactionary position? And many, many more.

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