The Privilege of White Violence
The following is based upon the New Black Man’s post “The Privilege To Murder?”
It’s been days since the calamitous Denver massacre that shook the nation. Since then, numerous blogs, including this one, examined the racial implications behind the event within the media narrative. We’ve all drawn the conclusions that if the massacre was caused by a people of color, including those who practice Islam, the news would go insane with “terrorism” mongering.
But looky here. The shooting that took out 12 and injured more than 50 was caused by a YOUNG WHITE MALE. So, what happens? The media personnel go to great lengths to explain why someone who reportedly is a nice, quiet, easy-going young man who went to college would loose his damn mind and shoot up a packed movie theater. To many people, especially those within the white community, violence such as this is unheard of. Why is that?
“The freedom to kill, maim, commit wanton acts of violence, and to be anti-social (as well as pathological) without having your actions reflect on your own racial group, is one of the ultimate, if not in fact most potent, examples of White Privilege in post civil rights era America. “Instead of a national conversation where we reflect on what has gone wrong with young white men in our society–a group which apparently possesses a high propensity for committing acts of mass violence – James Holmes will be framed as an outlier.”
To be white, male and violent in this nation is not to be seen as “the usual problem” with this nation’s issue of violence. Violence is always seen as a problem that is connected with young black and brown males. As such the need for more cops and bigger prisons is ALWAYS the answer to solve the issue of crime and violence.
History has shown that the acts of one or a few people of color is enough for those with the white racist mindset to punish entire communities. However, history also shows that the same is applied to Muslims or to people from another land who immigrated to America – also people of color.
“The international Muslim terrorist and the domestic black criminal stand as alibis for revanchism. Race free criminals (read white) are free from extra detection or from pious fulminations of the political class” (Prashad 2003, p. 75). These entrenched stereotypes and the power of white racial framing leads to a desperate media and public trying to “make sense” of this tragedy in absence of an accepted narrative; it is through these narratives that Holmes and white male violence gets reimagine as aberration rather than indicative of a cultural or cultural failure.”
“What if the shooter was not white? The Virginia Tech shooter was not white, and we all know thanks to the news that he was an immigrant from South Korea. They chose only the best pictures with a smiling face to let Americans know what that killer looked like.”
But again, this act was caused by a white male, and no matter how many mass murderers, serial killers or violent rapists who are white male there have been in the past, and there have been plenty, white men as a group are NEVER questioned or marginalized for their chaotic pathologies.
Instead, people ask ‘why’ particularly if the suspect came from a supposedly nice upbringing and is polite, shy, intelligent, and educated. They wonder why and how could this white man stoop to such a level as to cause massive pain and misery.
Meanwhile, violence against people of color by whites and other people of color continue. Chicago has been having a violent and bloody Summer prior to the Denver massacre with more bodies dropping like flies in the Windy City. More black and brown people are victims to the festering rage of other blacks and browns or by trigger happy police. The lives of blacks and browns in this nation are being taken away at such an alarming rate. Yet, this shooting is high priority in this country’s newsrooms and local, state and federal political offices. Maybe because some of the victims were white.
I guess that is another privilege for white violence. If the victims are white, the safety of white lives are placed first above all others.