Why is no one asking what’s wrong with White Men in the United States?
With the newest mass shooting in Aurora, CO captivating the nation, it seems someone should ask the question. After all, if we had a pattern of Women walking into public places, heavily armed, and killing everyone possible, you can guarantee the headlines would read, “What’s wrong with American Women!?”
I mean, when Nidal Hassan opened fire at Ford Hood in 2009, the media and politicians were taking Muslim Americans (particularly Muslim members of the armed services) to task, questioning their loyalties, questioning if they were part of an “inherently violent” culture, questioning every aspect of their identity. The same sort of questions were asked when Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, only directed at Asian American Immigrants.
When Black on Black crime is brought up, few question the realities of concentrated poverty in which the violence is occurring. Instead, people ask, “Why are Black people so violent?”
One of the powerful things about White Privilege and Male Privilege is that those of us who benefit from membership in these privileged groups do not have to worry that our individual actions will be attributed to everyone who looks like us. Well, that’s not true. When our actions make us (and others of our group) look good, it might be attributed to our race or gender.
But when the vast majority of mass murder shooters in the last 25 years fit one particular description, what questions do we ask? What happens when the shooters look like this:
Are there questions we should be asking about masculinity? Should we be investigating White culture? What about White masculinity?
Because if everyone in those pictures were Black or Latino or Female or Muslim, you know their identity would be central to the conversation. And every person who looked like them would pay a price.