White guys unite

Niall Ferguson has my back. In fact if you’re a white guy like me, he has all our backs. Ferguson gets it. He sees that our shrinking numbers are under attack and he just doesn’t like it.

“It is not very fashionable to be a man these days, especially a white one,” Ferguson, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, wrote in an oped that ran in the Boston Globe this week and has been one of the most widely viewed articles on the paper’s site.

What got Ferguson ruminating about our plight was an applied history conference he organized where nearly all the speakers were white. And male. Ferguson says he invited five women but only one was able to attend. Out of 30 speakers.

In his oped, Ferguson bemoaned not only the attacks on his manly white panels but the increasingly shrill (yeah, I went there) attacks on us guys, who have really been running the world for several millennia now with, admittedly, a few screw-ups here and there.

“What we see here is the sexism of the anti-sexists; the racism of the anti-racists,” wrote Ferguson. “In this ‘Through the Looking Glass’ world, diversity means ideological homogeneity… Hideous Newspeak terms such as ‘whitesplaining’ and ‘mansplaining’ are symptoms of the degeneration of the humanities in the modern university. Never mind the facts and reason, so the argument runs, all we need to know — if we don’t like what we hear — are the sex and race of the author.”

Those of us of the masculine Caucasian persuasion have lost an awful lot and it’s getting harder to be us. We can’t just cover up and hide our color or our manhood. Well, maybe we can hide that — and probably should more often. But really, we can’t harass and assault women at our pleasure without facing the consequences now. You’d think it was a crime or something.

And look at some of the other areas we’re losing. According to the Boston Herald, we’re down to just two-thirds of the positions in the most coveted units of the Boston Police Department. Hell, we only have 90 percent of the supervisor posts in those five units.

“Opportunity is not the same for me than it is for others,” Larry Ellison, president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, told the Herald. “That’s the message they’re conveying. That if you get your foot in the door, you should be happy where you are and just sit down — that these jobs are not for you.”

Take a look in the larger universe. A new report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research shows women are beginning to close the wage gap. Where once they earned 77 cents to our dollar in salary, in Massachusetts they now earn 81 cents. The study says if this upward trend continues, they could catch up to us by 2056. We’re expecting some people to point this out come Equal Pay Day next week, April 12, the day that marks the extra time women have to work to equal last year’s average pay for men.

White guy influence is waning everywhere, it seems. We now have to share political power, though we’re not real good sharers. While we make up 31 percent of the population, we only hold two-thirds of elected offices in the country. We do better if there’s an “R” next to our names. More than 97 percent of Republican officeholders are white with 76 percent being male.

But Democrats aren’t slacking. Nearly 80 percent of Democratic officeholders are white, 65 percent guys. Diversity, thy name is unenrolled.

Here in the Boy, er, Bay State, white men hold 68 percent of the elected offices in the state while comprising 36 percent of the population. White women, who account for 39 percent of the population, hold 23 percent of the offices. Men of color have 6 percent of the positions while women of color sit in 2 percent.

Ferguson’s rant hit some the wrong way, mostly those who don’t understand how tough it is to be a white male in the 21st Century.

“He also maintains that white men have also ‘done more good,’” Globe columnist Renee Graham wrote in a counterpoint to Ferguson’s piece. “If that’s true, it doesn’t change the fact that white men not only stacked the deck in their favor, they created the cards, and still limit who gets to play with them. In the name of progress, they passed and enforced terrible laws that impeded real progress. They denied others the right to vote (which is, alarmingly, again at risk), reduced their educational opportunities, and still keep qualified women and people of color at token levels of representation.”

Well, it was our birthright.

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission decided to locate its headquarters in Worcester. (CommonWealth) Nearly 200 would-be pot sellers have started the application process to get state licenses for sell marijuana. (Boston Globe)

Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation to create a home energy efficiency score that would be required as part of every real estate transaction starting in 2021. (CommonWealth)

Baker treads cautiously when asked about Attorney General Maura Healey’s proposal to eliminate a 50-company industry selling electricity to homeowners. (CommonWealth)

The Baker administration assures lawmakers that its new clean peak energy proposal is not a back door to finance natural gas pipeline infrastructure. (State House News)

Jeff Bussgang and Jody Rose call on the Legislature to finally pass legislation limiting the use of noncompete agreements by companies in Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

The state’s district attorneys say they don’t oppose a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill slated to come for final votes today in the House and Senate. (Boston Globe)

Leo Roy, the commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, backs away from a proposal to restrict hunting and fishing at the Quabbin Reservoir. (MassLive)

Howie Carr sizes up which branch of the Legislature has been more corrupt and finds they are pretty evenly matched. (Boston Herald)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Cape Ann communities and businesses submitted more than $4 million in claims to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for damage from the storm surge and flooding caused by recent winter storms. It’s unclear whether the claims will pass muster with the agency; claims submitted for previous storms didn’t exceed required thresholds. (Gloucester Times)

A Herald editorial rips Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposed parking fine increases and says drivers sit at the bottom of a “cultural caste system.”

New Bedford officials have filed suit against a scrap metal dealer they first took to court 17 years ago, saying the business continues to violate city ordinances and zoning laws in its operations. (Standard-Times)

Hudson’s fire chief has been placed on administrative leave but town officials decline to say why. The chief, John Blood, was also placed on leave in 2012 after an altercation with his son led to him being charged with assault and battery. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

As the nation remembers Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, a Globe editorial points to his “enduring radicalism.” (Boston Globe)

President Trump continued his war on immigration, announcing he will deploy National Guard troops to patrol the Mexican border if he can’t have a wall. (New York Times)

Liberal judge Rebecca Dallet’s runaway victory in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race prompted Gov. Scott Walker to say a blue wave may be coming. (Time)

ELECTIONS

Democrat Jim Hawkins, a former teacher and businessman, upset Attleboro City Councilor and Republican Julie Hall to win the state rep seat vacated by Paul Heroux in January, when he became mayor. (Sun-Chronicle)

Dan Koh has pulled in thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for his run for a congressional seat in the Merrimack Valley from developers dependent on his former boss Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration for approval of development projects in Boston. (Boston Globe)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez said health insurers, including Medicaid, should be required to cover the cost of medically prescribed marijuana. (State House News)

US Rep. Michael Capuano says he raised more than $500,000 in the first quarter of the year, while his Democratic primary challenger, Ayanna Pressley, says she pulled in more than $364,000. (Boston Globe)

State Sen. Joseph Boncore, the Winthrop Democrat who last week said he was seriously considering jumping into the Suffolk County district attorney’s race, says he won’t take the plunge and will seek reelection to the legislative seat he first won in a 2016 special election. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Spotify began public trading Tuesday with an initial stock price that set the value of the music streaming service at $26.5 billion. (Reuters)

EDUCATION

Voters in Dudley and Charlton approved tax overrides to support their regional high school. (Telegram & Gazette)

Scot Lehigh offers a pep talk to the state’s beleaguered charter school sector. Come for the column, stay for the 100+ comments online, with Lehigh gamely engaging his many critics. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The National Labor Relations Board said Berkshire Medical Center may have broken labor laws in its dealings with nursing staff. The complaints now go to an administrative judge for review. (Berkshire Eagle)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA will study a possible connection linking the Red and Blue lines, something transit advocates have long called for. (Boston Globe)

New York City began imposing a fee on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and using the proceeds to fund transit improvements. Chicago was the first to adopt such a fee and many other communities are considering them. (Governing)

Middleboro selectmen are squabbling over the fact that  no town official attended a recent meeting on Beacon Hill to discuss the South Coast rail project despite an invitation from the Department of Transportation. (The Enterprise)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

ISO New England, the operator of the region’s power grid, said the proposed retirements of Exelon’s power-generating stations in Everett “pose an unacceptable fuel security risk” and moved quickly to help the company secure the funding it says it needs to keep operating the plants. (CommonWealth)

Matthew Beaton, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said the state’s offshore wind procurement is likely to be delayed because the evaluation team was tied up reviewing a separate clean energy procurement. (CommonWealth)

Attorney General Maura Healey says a federal court decision last week tossing out a lawsuit against her by Exxon Mobil undercuts the legitimacy of a second suit the company has filed against her efforts to have the firm produce documents showing what it knew about climate change. (Boston Herald)

The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has approved new regulations requiring dogs to be on leashes in state wildlife management areas and to pick up and dispose of pet waste off-site. (Cape Cod Times)

Selectmen in Orleans and Chatham are pointing fingers at each other for the two towns failing to come to an agreement over management of off-road trails along the beach that run between the communities. (Cape Cod Times)

Residents in the Fore River basin in Weymouth say they mistrust the oil contamination cleanup plan presented by the owners of a controversial proposed compressor station. (Patriot Ledger)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Important elements of Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to overhaul the problem-plagued State Police — including deployment of body cameras and GPS trackers on officers’ cars — will probably have to be negotiated with unions representing the troopers. (Boston Globe)

MEDIA

The Boston Globe signed a deal to purchase Arc Publishing’s digital platform. Arc is owned by the Washington Post. (Washington Post)