This is how I empathize with straight white men

A Black gay man explores empathy and not excuses

Sam McKenzie Jr.
6 min readApr 14, 2018


They say empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Well, let me tell you if there was ever a shoe that wouldn’t fit me it’s the straight white male shoe. I’m a Black gay man with maybe one straight white male friend.

So, I have one question, how do I develop empathy for straight white men?

I’d say that’s a question that challenges me. I’ll try my best to tap into some straight white male feelings.

Now, of course, I will roll out the disclaimer that not every straight white male is feeling some kind of way.

But, right or wrong, many straight white men feel they are under attack. They say we blame them for everything.

They huff and holler how they are the only group it’s acceptable to kick where it counts.

And, while the woes sound like whines, they claim to be licking their wounds.

It’s easy to skip straight white men when I look at the lines of people who need a portion of empathy.

But a part of me says to them, yes, you too. You too, straight white man, come to the service line, you must get a heap of empathy today.

And here’s how I serve empathy — I serve it with a global perspective.

Because, to the world, the United States — of which I am a citizen — is a straight white man.

I have leaders who ‘act white' to the world, in my name, and with my tax dollars.

On the world’s stage, the US dominates. It has an unmatched military power and aggression. It wants to control political, economic, and cultural systems. It has a consciousness of superiority, entitlement, and exemptions.

Yes, I know, the United States does good around the world. And, so do straight white men. But, no international motives or moves are perfect and pure.

I know the US has done or will do, everything to maintain its position in the world.

To the world, all of this is like whiteness and white supremacy.