Mike, we share some similar ideas, especially the part about responsibility. If I had had daughters instead of sons, I would be going even more insane with the idea of drinking to the point of passing out. Every year, a small number of kids pass out on their back, vomit, and then die of asphyxiation. But when you throw in the huge number of cases where consent is not being established by people in control of their mental faculties, the drinking issue is terrifying.

Putting that aside, there is a whole different perspective that I have been learning these last few months, one based on a much more conscious application of the old saying “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” This is my attempt to walk you through the steps that helped me.

I will say this much, you are far more courageous than me to engage in this discussion as vocally as you have. I cringe at some of your comments, because I used to think exactly the same things. We all have blindspots, and when you are not aware of them, there’s a good probability you will either fall into a hole or bang into a wall.

You have to realize that for many of the women who have been raped or abused, these issues are trigger points. They are still suffering from a form of PTSD, not unlike so many of our soldiers coming back from hell holes like Viet Nam and Iraq. The idea that they can see each man who approaches them as an individual who may or may not be threatening is no different from telling a disturbed vet not to get upset when he sees someone that triggers his disease.

My advice would be to have more in depth conversations in private with women like Sherry Caris, Jules and Rachel Thompson.

(By the way, these types of conversation are one of the reasons Medium’s programmers created the unlisted response.)

I had my own learning curve, and my own moment of illumination and humiliation when I finally saw one of my own blind spots. I responded to a story written by Kel Campbell about the emotional charge of having a man open a door for her and just couldn’t understand why she didn’t open the door for the man, or say “no thank you,” or any one of a number of seemingly reasonable responses I, as a man might offer another person. (Yes, Kel, I know it’s about a lot more than doors. But as a woman, you have just as limited an understanding of how some men process information as we have of you. The specific discussion we had, followed by that infamous news story were what opened my eyes.)

So here’s a primer of articles to read to figure out this stuff and get a closer experience to actually walking in someone else’s high heels.

About white male privilege:

To better understand sexism and racism check out Everyday Feminism.

Here’s an article on Gaslighting. Both sexes can be guilty of this, but it’s worse when the one doing it is a foot taller and seventy five pounds heavier:

Here’s an amazing article on mansplaining. We all do it a little, just not as bad as the idiot in the article:

On racism, here are some really good sources:

A comic on why we can’t perceive white privilege:

A comic on how even the dictionary codifies institutional bias:

An article that helps explain the difference between racism and prejudice:

And because of what I learned, I tried to tell the story from a wise man’s perspective:

Why men have difficulty understanding sexism:

Here’s this story from the blind men’s perspective:

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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