The teenager told how hard it is to live if you do not belong to any minority, but faced criticism because of the “white privileges”.
On February 12, the American edition of Esquire presented the cover and the main article of the new issue. The theme of the issue was a material called “American Boy”. Journalists, using the example of a 17-year-old teenager from Wisconsin, told how it is “to grow middle-class white men in the era of social networks, school shooting, toxic masculinity, #MeToo and a divided country.
The story of a teenager who has become harder to live without belonging to minorities, has caused criticism in social networks and Western media. The magazine was convicted of choosing a hero with “white privileges” as an image of the average American high school student. The situation was aggravated by the time of issue – in the Black History Month.Esquire Room Cover
What is Esquire stuff about
Esquire is about Ryan Morgan, a high school student from the small town of West Bend, Wisconsin. Ryan is an ordinary white guy (almost 90% of the state’s population is white) from a middle-class family who loves video games and spending time with his girlfriend. Sometimes he goes hunting. A teenager does not have big problems in life, but he is sure: his life is much more complicated than people think at the mention of the “white privileged society”.
Morgan faced the first problems concerning his status as early as 15 years before the presidential elections in the United States. Then the whole school was divided into groups according to political views. And Ryan, whose family supported Trump, remained in the minority. “Does everyone hate me just because of Trump? I couldn’t even argue with someone – they stopped me and called me names, ”the hero of the material remembered.
By the age of 17, Morgan’s political views became more moderate, but because of his status as a “white heterosexual guy,” he allegedly became an outcast in social networks. Ryan could not speak on any topic without being criticized by minorities, and this puzzled him: “I know that I can’t talk or do in society, but I don’t know what I can.”
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Once a feminist wrote something on Instagram about how men supposedly act. I replied: “This is not true, and it is foolish to talk like this about guys.” And the girl wrote back: “What can you say, you are a white man.”[/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Isn’t she for equality? And what if I wrote the same thing, but about women? But no, feminists don’t hate it when white guys talk about it. Surely they think that since I am not a girl, then I should not have an opinion.[/perfectpullquote]
The same problems with a teenager appear when it comes to social networks about other races or LGBT. Morgan supports same-sex marriage, but against abortion. He’s on the same salary for men and women, but he’s against James Gann ’s dismissal for old tweets. He has to constantly think about his words, because at any moment you can hear “yes you are just a white guy.”
The reaction of the media and social networks
The Esquire number with Morgan on the cover came out in February, which in North America is considered the “Black History Month”. At this time, memorable and historical events are held in the United States and Canada to combat racism in society.
In social networks and the media, they condemned that Esquire journalists chose the white guy who does not represent any minority as the portrait of an American teenager. “In the history of the United States there have already been many stories about white people. Why do we need another such story in 2019? ” Noted in the Huffington Post.
In some tweets, Morgan was even compared to teenagers who were shooting at US schools. At the same time, Ryan emphasized that he had never wanted to become a hero of “shooting”.
Am I getting this right: Esquire put a random white kid on the cover and wrote a story about him? In the middle of Black History Month?
DIVERSIFY YOUR NEWSROOMS AND PUBLICATIONS.
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) February 12, 2019
I understand correctly: Esquire placed a random white guy on the cover and wrote an article about him? In the middle of the black history month? INCLUDE DIVERSITY IN YOUR EDITORIAL AND PUBLICATIONS
Really @esquire “what’s it like growing up white, middle class and male…” How idiotic! It’s the same as it’s always been… full of privilege that women, people of color, lgbtq people & immigrants don’t have! 🧐 I’m done. pic.twitter.com/ei3RwqjiLe
— Karamo Brown (@Karamo) February 12, 2019
Really, Esquire. “What is it like to grow up as a white man in a middle-class family” … How stupid! Yes, just like always. A lot of privileges that women do not get, people with different skin colors, LGBT people and immigrants!
*inside Esquire conference room*
Esquire CEO: “we should probably do a cover story for black history month, any suggestions?”
Editor: “there’s a white boy in Wisconsin who’s sad”
Esquire CEO: “run it” pic.twitter.com/g4XN5AB6TP
— Father Sean Misty (@seanieviola) February 12, 2019
* In the Esquire meeting room * Chapter of the magazine: “We need to come up with the main theme of the issue during Black History Month, your ideas?”. Editor: “There is a white guy in Wisconsin who is sad.” Head of the magazine: “For work”
Because you know what we don’t discuss nearly enough? The white male experience. 🤦🏾♀️ pic.twitter.com/HTbq4wK1TJ
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 12, 2019
Because you know that we are not discussing enough? How to live with the privileges of a white man
black history month:
esquire: irish people were slaves too
— jaboukie (@jaboukie) February 12, 2019
Black History Month:. Esquire: “The Irish were also slaves”
If you’re Black, queer, trans, a woman or any further marginalized you have to literally change the world before you become a cover star, but Esquire shows us that white cishet men and boys get to simply exist and be seen as worthy.
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) February 12, 2019
I fixed the Esquire cover for @esquire: This is my 17-year-old nephew Darian. Darian is an honor student hoping to go to Morehouse next year. At 17 he’s had to contend with more than most, including having to leave home because of his sexuality. HE is a representation of America! pic.twitter.com/SR22Gr6JfL
— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) February 12, 2019
Corrected the cover of the magazine. This is my 17 year old nephew Darian. Darian hopes to go to Morehouse College next year. At 17, he experienced more than most of his peers, including leaving home because of his orientation. HE personifies America!
i’m sorry, but i think this cover is very brave pic.twitter.com/G7VAF3TJrM
— Erik Hinton (@erikhinton) February 12, 2019
Editorial position of the journal
Esquire Editor-in-Chief, Jay Fielden, stood up to defend the material . According to him, the task of the material was not to show “white privileges”, but the views of different teenagers on the problems of the United States. One of them, according to Filden, is disunity: with the help of the Internet, people protect themselves with “convenient” accounts and channels that reflect their point of view.
Esquire’s editor-in-chief stated that the magazine will deal with this separation through a cycle of materials. The story of Ryan was the first article of the cycle – followed by materials about the problems of growing up girls, African Americans and LGBT people.
Esquire article writer Jennifer Percy told the CBS channel that the message of the story was “misunderstood.” “The article demonstrates how much more work we have to do in order to teach boys to properly manage inherited privileges. At the same time, I was not engaged in the choice of the cover and the text on it, so I think that it incorrectly reflects the essence of the material, ”she said.