The Lost City of White Male Privilege

This extract from Paul Beatty’s Booker-prize-winning novel The Sellout contributes to the explanation of how Donald J Trump did the impossible and got elected as president of the United States. The narrator in the book came across the Lost City of White Male Privilege when looking for a city to twin with his Dickens (aka the Last Bastion of Blackness), a city with slavery (well one slave), segregated schools, and a bus with a sign saying “Priority seating: whites only.” Juarez (aka the City That Never Stops Bleeding) felt that Dickens was too violent; Chernobyl thought it too environmentally compromised; and Kinshasa turned it down as too black–“Them backward American niggers ain’t ready,” is how they put it. Other refusals left only the Lost City of White Male Privilege.

“The Lost City of White Male Privilege [is] a controversial municipality whose very existence is often denied by many (mostly white privileged males). Other state categorically that the walls have been breached by hip-hop and Robert Bolano’s prose. That the popularity of the spicy tuna roll and a black American president were to white male domination what the smallpox blankets were to Native American Existence. Those inclined to believe in free will and the free market argue that the Lost City of White Male Privilege was responsible for its own demise, that the constant stream of contradictory religious and secular edicts from on high confused the highly impressionable white male. Reduced him to a state of such severe social and psychic anxiety that he stopped fucking. Stopped voting. Stopped reading. And, most important, stopped thinking that he was the end-all, be-all, or at least knew enough not to pretend to be so in public. But in any case it became impossible to walk the streets of the Lost City of White Male Privilege, feeding your ego reciting mythological truisms like “We built this country!” when all around you brown men were constantly hammering and nailing, cooking world-class French meals, and repairing your cars. You couldn’t shout “America, love it or leave it!” when deep down inside you longed to live in Toronto. A city you told others was “so cosmopolitan” by which you really meant “not too cosmopolitan.” How could you call or think someone a “nigger” when your own kids, lily-white and proper, called you “nigger” when you refused them the keys to the car? When everyday “niggers” were doing things that they aren’t supposed to be able to do, like swimming in the Olympics and landscaping their yards. My goodness if this nonsense keeps up one day a nigger is going to, God forbid, direct a good movie.”

Brilliant, and interesting punctuation.



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