No one wants to say it, but we have a white male violence problem in America and until we acknowledge it, it’s not going anywhere.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, America leads the world in mass shootings, and middle-class white men perpetrate most of those shootings. Why is that?
If we look at the alleged motivations of the gunmen, they follow a similar theme.
The gunmen in the most recent shooting, Oct. 1 at a community college in Oregon, was described in a New York Times article as being “angry at not having a girlfriend and bitter at the world that he believed was working against him” based on the shooter’s manifesto and online postings. An online account with the shooter’s email address had also commented online as being against the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the New York Times article.
The shooter in the June 18 Charleston, South Carolina case is described by the New York Times as “a white man with a history of anti-black views.”
Then there’s the shooting by the man in California in May who laid out his reasons in a video manifesto prior to committing the acts, mainly citing being rejected by women as his primary motivation for the attack. “I do not know why you girls aren’t attracted to me,” he said in the video. “But I will punish you all for it.”
That is just a sampling from recent mass shootings and while skimming the media reports on all of them, it is clear we are to view them as unrelated incidents.
However, when we look at a story about a shooting committed by a non-white male, the narrative changes. This lead paragraph in a shooting story, also from the New York Times, illustrates this point, “A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born gunman opened fire on a military recruiting station on Thursday, then raced to a second military site where he killed four United States Marines, prompting a federal domestic terrorism investigation.”
When it’s not a white man, suddenly, race matters and the investigation turns to terrorism.
But it should be clear that multiple white male shooters with similar motives constitute a pattern and a larger problem that is happening in American society among white middle-class males.
These are men who feel like they are entitled to something that women and minorities have taken away from them. The shooters we looked at had clear motivations against women and people of color. Why? Because they see those people in positions they feel entitled to from their position of privilege.
We see this happening on a smaller scale too. How do men get away with beating their wives and girlfriends? There is almost no authority figure women can report abuse to and have it taken seriously because the people in authority positions are also white males.
So, my final question is, if every person in charge is a white male, who is going to hold white men responsible for their violence? Who is going to admit this is a larger problem?
Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at [email protected]