Tags

, ,

angry white men

It’s no doubt that white men have an abundance of privileges and, as Malaika Jabali said in her article in Very Smart Brothers, been literally winning at everything. And yet, many of them are still pissed off at the world.

Michael Kimmel, a Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University, has written about furious white maleness in his book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. (Click on the title to visit Amazon if you’re interested in purchasing it.) Here’s a quick excerpt from a larger excerpt from his book:

...They’re mad as hell.

You see them pretty much everywhere these days—yet they’re often invisible. They patrol America’s southern border, determined to keep out Mexican immigrants. They tune in to venomous talk-radio hosts who translate economic anguish, psychological distress, and political confusion into blind rage. They swarm into populist Tea Party rallies, hoping to find like-minded kinsmen willing to join with them to turn the country around. Some even take up arms against their own country, establishing semiautonomous enclaves and blowing up federal buildings. And, of course, when threatened by external forces, they muster up their coldest steel-eyed Dirty Harry imitation and say, “Make my day.”

In suburbia, they’re the ones who cut you off on the freeway, screaming with rage if you dare to slow them down. If their kid doesn’t make that suburban soccer team or that heartland hockey team, they’re the ones who rush out onto the field to hit the coach or strangle the referee—or start a fight with another equally enraged dad. They hiss with rage at their ex-wives (and their ex-wives’ lawyers) in family court. Further up the economic ladder, they’re the guys seething in the corner of the corporate “diversity training” workshop, snarling that they are now “walking on eggshells” around the office, or stewing when their company hires a woman or a minority, because, they say, affirmative action is really reverse discrimination against white men. And some of their teenage sons are strolling through deserted suburban train stations at night with a bunch of friends, looking for immigrants or gay men to beat up—or kill.

They are America’s angry white men. Actually, one might say more simply that they’re just America’s white men—they just happen to be angrier than ever before in our recent history. Journalists duly record the decrease in compassion and the increase in untrammeled selfishness, and pundits decry the collapse of civility in political discourse, even as they shout at each other at the top of the best seller lists. One guy’s a big, fat idiot! The other is a big, fat liar! The current political atmosphere in Washington has been called the nastiest and angriest in our history.

The past two decades have witnessed mainstream white American men exploding like never before in our history. They draw their ranks from the middle class (office workers, salaried salesmen) and the lower middle class (the skilled worker, small farmer, or shopkeeper). They’re the “pa” in the ma-and-pa store, Richard Nixon’s “silent majority,” and “Reagan Democrats.” They’re “Joe Lunchbucket,” and “Joe the Plumber,” and just plain Joe. They feel they’ve borne the weight of the world on their backs, and they can’t hold it up any longer. And now, suddenly, some of these regular guys are reinventing the American Revolution with Tea Party, Minutemen, and Patriot organizations, while others are further out there, organizing militias and joining survivalist cults, waging war on “feminazis,” rampaging through their workplaces, promoting protectionist and anti-immigrant policies.

They’re listening to angry white men like Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage, and a host of other radio hosts who lash out at everyone else as the source of their woes. They’re trying to roll back the gains made by women and minorities in corporate and professional life and resisting their entry into the ranks of soldier, firefighter, and police officer. And their sons are either busy destroying the galaxy in their video games or actually opening fire on their classmates.

Some explode at work, “going postal” as they slaughter coworkers, supervisors, and plant managers before, usually, taking their own lives. You’ve heard of “suicide by cop,” where a perpetrator pretends to go for his gun and the police open fire? These guys commit “suicide by mass murder”: intent on dying, they decide to “take some of them with me.”

And when they’re not exploding, they’re just plain angry and defensive. They’re laughing at clueless, henpecked husbands on sitcoms; snorting derisively at clueless guys mocked in ads and reality-TV segments; and snickering at duded-up metrosexuals prancing around major metropolitan centers while they drink cosmos or imported vodka.

They sneer at presidential candidates like John Kerry who speak French, eat brie, and drink Chardonnay. They see nothing but feminized wusses who actually support global environmental policies and negotiation and diplomacy instead of “my way or the highway” unilateralism.

Unapologetically “politically incorrect” magazines, radio hosts, and television shows abound, filled with macho bluster or bikini-clad women bouncing on trampolines. These venues are the new “boys’ clubs”—the clubhouse that once said “No Gurls Allowed.” These moments allow these guys, who otherwise feel so put down, so “had,” a momentary feeling of superiority.

Yet few observers notice the gender of these vitriolic legions. Few, if any, couple the increase in American anger with the growing gulf between women and men. The gender gap—politically, socially, and economically—is as large as it has ever been. It’s not “Americans” who are angry; it’s American men. And it’s not all American men—it’s white American men. This is a phenomenon so visible, so widespread, that were it happening with any other group (say, black men or Asian women), it would be discussed incessantly. But precisely because it’s so ubiquitous, so visible, it has received hardly any serious discussion.

Click here to read more of the passage.

Understandably, most people of color (POC) don’t have anymore patience dealing with a group who, with each passing generation, have made it clear that they don’t really care about them and are mad that they’ve embraced their free will. After all, POC have explained it as plain as possible that they’re not out for revenge or to rule the world at their expense of white men. But since white men see POC as beneath them, they won’t take their words as seriously as they would other angry white men who tells them to get angry at POC.

As such, POC have had enough of trying to reach these people and have concluded that their very own creation of white supremacy has rendered them too entitled, too selfish, too ignorant and too infuriated to reason with even if they’re told they’re being played by the very same white men they listen to. In the end, white supremacy gave birth to a legion of Frankenstein’s monsters.

Advertisements