By an accident of birth, I fall into the White Guy category. To keep this on a positive note, let’s call it my brand. And that means that if other people with my outward characteristics do dumb-ass things, it reflects on my brand.
One of the dumb-ass things my people have been doing lately is asking – or expecting – the peace-loving Muslim citizens in America to do a better job of watching out for radicalized folks in their midst. Trump is the one who said it aloud, but it was a common thought. On one level, that sounds reasonable because we’re all in the same fight – or should be – to keep the homeland safe. But there is a bit of an implied threat to our expectations of Muslim self-inspection. Everyone understands – without saying it aloud – that if American Muslims allow their brand to slip, it means more racism, more potential for violence, and other bad outcomes.
But how realistic is it to put expectations on other brands? If some stranger with a penis and no tan shoots someone on the other side of the country, was that sort of my fault because I am also pale and male? What the hell was I supposed to do?
In personal relationships, I find it useful to drop expectations of others and work on my own brand because that’s the part I can control. So instead of bitching about my expectation of strangers, I thought I would approach it from the position of strengthening my own brand.
So here’s my offer. If you are a Muslim, and in the country legally, and you live in my town (Pleasanton CA), send me a FaceBook request. I’ll be your White Guy friend, at least online. I’ll take the first request I get. I can’t do more than that because of time.
We don’t have to get together in real life or pretend to be real friends. This is purely for your protection. And here’s how it works.
If you find yourself the victim of racism or bullying from anyone in my brand (White Guys) just let me know. I’ll contact the bully personally and have a talk about improving my brand. If I have to, I’ll drive to his house and ring the doorbell.
I’m not about violence, so don’t worry about that. I’m about my brand. And while I can’t do much about other people’s actions, I can take responsibility for my own. I can do this one, small thing.
The reason Michael Moore’s “We are all Muslims” meme failed is because it violates our identity and tries to make a case by analogy. That never works in the world of persuasion. But the High Ground Maneuver always works. In this case, the high ground involves working on your own brand.
I also won’t ask any other White Guys to make a similar offer. They can make their own decisions.
The bigger brand is obviously America, and it works best if the sub-brands keep that in mind and work toward it. My offer today feels compatible with the American brand. Let me know if you disagree.
I wrote a book about systems being better than goals. People say it changed their lives. I hope they mean it in a good way. Today’s post can be seen as a system and not a goal.