"If you stop assuming your privilege, the only people you harm are the people who are actively taking advantage of it," said Hammer
After his run on Broadway in Young Jean Lee’s play Straight White Men last fall, Armie Hammer is well-versed on the topic of “straight white male privilege” — something he admits to exploiting in his own life from time to time.
In a new profile with The Independent published Wednesday, the 32-year-old On the Basis of Sex actor opened up about how growing up in a wealthy family (his grandfather is oil tycoon Armanda Hammer) made him blind to his own advantages.
“There’s things all the time that I catch myself doing. Case in point, sitting here with my feet on the table,” he told writer Alexandra Pollard. “I mean like, I’m just being comfortable and relaxed, but like … There are things all the time that I catch myself doing and I think, ‘Wait a second, is this white privilege? Yeah, I think it is. Look at what I’m doing. Yeesh.’ “
Despite being aware of his privilege in that moment, Pollard noted that Hammer did not remove his feet from atop the desk.
He went on to explain that he’s learned through the years that being a straight white man who doesn’t act on his privilege can be threatening to other straight white men.
“How do straight white men react to other straight white men who are no longer acting how they believe straight white men should act? And that is, the exercising of your straight white male privilege – all of the things that straight white men not only take for granted, but also are expected to capitalize on,” Hammer mused.
“If you see a straight white man not acting like that, not assuming his privilege, in a way, it’s very threatening to your straight white maleness,” he said. “But at the end of the day, what is straight white maleness if not threatening to everyone else who is not a straight white man? If you stop assuming your privilege, the only people you harm are the people who are actively taking advantage of it.”
Hammer has been married to wife Elizabeth Chambers since 2010. While speaking to The Independent, he noted how frustrating it is for him to see Chambers often referred to as “Armie Hammer’s wife.”
“I’m lucky to be her husband,” Hammer said of Chambers, who is an actor, TV journalist, and business owner in her own right, as well as mother to their two children (daughter Harper Grace, 4, and son Ford Armand Douglas, 2)
“[My wife] is an incredibly strong and powerful woman who is not only able to hold down multiple jobs and create a home environment but also be an exemplary mother and role model, not only to our children but to me as well,” he added. “If she got the due credit that she deserved, then I would be Elizabeth Chambers’s husband. But that’s not how it works.”
The Independent ended the chat with Hammer by pointing out how he and Chambers work to make sure their home is void of “toxic masculinity.”
“I recognize that there is toxic masculinity all around us, but that’s not the world that I perpetuate,” he said. “That’s not the household that I live in with my wife and children, that’s not the dynamic, and if anything, it’s something that we keep an eye out for, and we try and keep as far out of our lives as possible.”