Esquire Magazine is facing backlash after posting an article about how difficult is it being a white American male.
The article titled “An American Boy” describes the experience of a young, white male growing up in America during a time where underrepresented groups are being outspoken about the mistreatment they receive from the white community – predominately white males. Through a series of captioned photos, Esquire tells the story of the everyday life of a white male from the perspective of #RyanMorgan, a high school senior from West Bend, Wisconsin.
Some of the captions read “Last year was really bad. I couldn’t say anything without pissing someone off.” While some may see a message in the article, others are calling it “infuriating,” “a slap in the face” to #BlackHistoryMonth and a prime example of white male privilege.
USA Today writer Frederick Joseph wrote, “These are the same privileges at the heart of the representation matters movement, the idea that empathy and understanding can be fostered through the ways in which people view each other. This inability to see children who are black, brown, female or LGBTQ as equally dynamic and layered humans has created life-threatening situations. This is part of the reason why after the killings of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, there were arguments about their childhood and innocence,” said Joseph in his response article “Esquire’s White Teen Cover Perpetuates Privilege: Today’s Talker” “Because a black male is not given the right to the same humanity as a white male is why many people are angry about the Esquire cover and story,” Joseph continued.
In defense of the article, Esquire’s editor in chief said “This first installment, written by Jennifer Percy … sought to capture a key stage in a boy’s life. What we asked Jen to do — and she did brilliantly — was to look at our divided country through the eyes of one kid. Ryan Morgan is his name. He’s white, lives in the middle of the reddest county in Wisconsin, and, as you will see, he is an unusually mature, intelligent, and determined young man.”
Readers say the article is the epitome of ignorance. “The Esquire team and everyone defending this nonsense has taken the issue personally, rather than holding themselves to any professional standards of what the real issue is. In addition to seemingly not having any Black people on their masthead, it clearly reflects the beliefs and thoughts of the people in their editorial rooms making these decisions — something that is mirrored across newsrooms which are still heavily white, and male-dominated.”