Essay:Angry white male

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Essay.svg This essay is an original work by ShadowUltra.
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.

The Angry White Male is a sociopolitical term used to refer variously to a type of political belief system, a stereotype, and a voting demographic, especially in the United States and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom.

Angry White Males are traditionally conservative-voting, white, Christian, heterosexual males, and therefore are part of the most powerful sociopolitical bloc in human history. Despite this fact, the defining trait of the Angry White Male is that he believes he is actually becoming the most persecuted demographic on the planet, and must therefore fight to regain the social and political power that he dominated up until very recently.

Analysis of the Angry White Male and his impact on elections, especially in the U.S., has become a popular topic of discussion among political pundits over the last 20 years. Various events and incidents, such as the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, political correctness, September 11, feminism, the LGBT rights movement, 24-hour cable news, and the internet have all been proposed as contributing to the rise of Angry White Males in the U.S. Whether or not this demographic is on the rise to begin with is also a topic of debate.

Grievances and arguments[edit]

The most defining aspect of an Angry White Male, the aspect that sets them apart from ordinary white males is, of course, the "angry" part. Angry White Males often feel an irrationally severe level of irritation, anger, resentment, or even outright hatred towards people, groups, laws, and social customs that do not warrant such an extreme response. Obviously, while each person is different, certain groups and concepts have been noted as a particularly common source of anger among this demographic. Some examples of common arguments, with rebuttals, include:

  • "Majority groups shouldn't have to apologize on behalf of their skin color/gender." This popular argument stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of modern social justice theory, which does not ask members of majority groups to "apologize" for being white/male/heterosexual, but rather to recognize that they may gain subtle benefits from society because of their race, gender, ethnicity, etc., and that they should be aware that others may not be able to reap these benefits. However, suggesting that the playing field isn't actually as level as they want to believe is extremely offensive to certain political ideologies whose basic tenet is that all people are treated equally all the time.
  • Jealousy of equality/pride movements. As overt racism and sexism are now culturally taboo in the Western world (with homophobia going the same way), it is common for people with subconsciously bigoted feelings to be friends with, or even marry, someone of a group they harbor a deep resentment towards. They manage to justify these contradictory mental states by rationalizing that their black/female/gay friends are a small, good minority within the minority. In turn, they often feel an internal jealousy towards civil rights movements and pride events for minority groups. "Why isn't there a heterosexual pride parade?" or "why isn't there a White History Month?" are questions asked by members of groups who, again, fundamentally misunderstand the purpose behind things like Black History Month or gay pride parades. These movements exist not to randomly brag about the accomplishments of people with different skin colors, but rather to make newer generations aware of the success these marginalized individuals made in spite of the huge societal challenges that faced them.
In contrast, white men have never been, on the basis of skin color and gender alone, systematically oppressed anywhere in the world in modern recorded history, so attempts at a "white history month" or "white pride" simply come off as historically revisionist bragging. Talking about how, for example, white people were able to make so many wonderful scientific advances during time periods when most people of color were enslaved or impoverished is like bragging that you stole candy from a baby.
  • Political correctness. The bane of many an Angry White Male's existence, "political correctness" is a phrase that has become so overused, demonized, and beaten in a burlap bag for decades straight that it has lost all meaning and definition, and is now simply defined as "people telling me to stop saying rude things." In a blatant misunderstanding of the First Amendment and basic logic, Angry White Males will often scream "censorship" when asked to stop saying something rude, insensitive, or offensive, apparently unaware that censorship requires the consequence of force. A popular topic that enrages Angry White Males with regularity is the seemingly monthly incidents where a media celebrity says or does something overtly racist or sexist and is subsequently fired from their job or loses endorsements (such as Paula Deen in the summer of 2013). Similarly, they find amusement and irritation in the occasional liberal boycotting of companies like Chick-Fil-A.
When these incidents occur, Angry White Males will cry "political correctness gone mad," even though a functioning free market capitalist society should be allowed to purchase products based on any metric they want, including whether or not the owner of the company is a bigot. Additionally, despite claiming that asking people to change their terminology is tantamount to government-endorsed censorship, many conservatives engage in their own brand of political correctness, as the idea of rebranding words or phrases in a more neutral manner, by definition, defies party lines and ideologies.
  • "Everyone else works less and gets paid more." Literally every job study and statistic ever performed in the Western world shows one unanimous conclusion: white males are paid more for the same amount of work than any other group of people. But this hasn't stopped Angry White Males from citing any sort of bullshit out-of-context statistic, or even completely falsfied ones, to support their theory that women and racial minorities earn "affirmative action dollars" in the workplace. Similarly, they are high-grade peddlers of stereotypes, many of which are completely contradictory. For example, Latino Americans are both "stealing our jobs" and are "too lazy to work" or "living off welfare." Which is it?
  • Christianity vs. Islam and "fatwa envy." Ever since September 11, many Angry White Males have entered the time-honored occupation of doomsday predictions, fearing a cataclysmic war between good, righteous Christians of the Western world and evil, dirty Muslims of the Middle East is coming any week now. Despite the huge number of similarities between the two religions, including literally sharing the same God, many Western Christians have invented an entire game out of jumping through hoops to explain why all Muslims should be wiped off the face of the Earth on the basis of their religious beliefs. Many also suffer from a documented concept dubbed "fatwa envy," in which they react with outrage to reports of Muslim violence supposedly sanctioned by Middle Eastern culture, while also expressing a jealousy that they cannot do the same with Christian-backed support in the Western world. The phrase "American Taliban" has been coined to refer to a particularly hypocritical breed of American Christian who supports the implementation of Bible-based law in the U.S. while simultaneously decrying Koran-based law in the Middle East.
  • "The media is biased against us." Like everywhere else in Western culture, news media employees are overwhelmingly heterosexual, white, and male. This has not stopped Angry White Males from insisting on the existence of a liberal media conspiracy against the entirety of white maledom. They will commonly point to isolated news stories or arbitrary anecdotes about how a particular story effecting majority groups is not receiving enough media coverage, or that the coverage it is receiving is distorted. Ironically, many of the stereotypes Angry White Males subscribe to come from inaccurate media portrayal of minority groups and emphasis on isolated news stories to give the impression of a trend among a particular group.
  • Unwavering support for the military and law enforcement. Angry White Males often have disdain for basic legal concepts like requiring a search warrant or allowing a criminal access to an attorney. They often believe that police officers are always right--especially when arresting a person of color--and so those people should just have all their rights suspended on account of their skin color or religious affiliation. Somehow, they manage to argue that this does not constitute blatant racism. They view the Bill of Rights as a bureaucratic obstacle to bringing down black people Muslims "criminals" and "terrorists" and so they should be ignored or abolished. Similarly, many Angry White Males and conservatives in general are strong supporters of the military and believe they should be allowed to do anything it takes to get the job done, even if it defies the Geneva Convention, national or international law, basic human decency, or commonly agreed ethics of war. For example, Angry White Males tumbled out of the woodwork to defend the military during the Abu Ghraib scandal, and often throw support behind American soldiers accused of war crimes against civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • "Everyone pays less taxes than I do!" Few things get Angry White Males angrier than the alleged mass tax evasion being committed by racial minorities in the United States. There are so many rumors, misconceptions, urban legends, and flat-out lies surrounding U.S. tax policy and the way poor people are taxed that there are entire websites devoted to debunking them. However, it becomes difficult when even presidential candidates build their platforms around falsehoods about how rich people are being oppressed by taxes.

History[edit]

Origins: 1970s and 1980s[edit]

The Angry White Male exists as a consequence of successful civil rights movements during the 1960s and 1970s. As women and racial minorities came closer and closer to being treated as actual equal citizens under the law, white men who were used to ruling without regard for anyone but themselves suddenly found themselves needing to cope with radically changed circumstances. While many recognized their privilege and joined these civil rights movements as allies, others reacted with anger, fear, and resentment, unhappy to be on the receiving end of criticism for once in human history.

The rise of concepts like political correctness and affirmative action as a response to the deeply-rooted racial and gender inequalities in Western society triggered even more vitriol from white men, who felt they were now being unfairly "punished" for the sins of their parents and grandparents. These reactive politics allowed Angry White Males to conquer the White House and Congress for much of the 1980s, and complete the Republican Party's transformation from moderate center-right fiscal conservatism into the ultimate bastion for older, racist, sexist white Christian men obsessed with social issues that it is known as today.

Beginning of the end: 1990s and 2000s[edit]

Many white conservatives were enraged when, in 1992, Bill Clinton successfully ended a decade of atrocious controversial Republican administrations. But two years later, Angry White Males scored a major victory in the 1994 congressional elections, in which Republicans swept the House of Representatives and Senate. It was at this time that the phrase "Angry White Male" was coined and began to appear in media analysis of the election results. These individuals were said to be angry about a number of issues, including President Bill Clinton's alleged favoring of racial minorities over white people, feminism supposedly overstepping equality and trying to grab rights away from men, political correctness and affirmative action, welfare, and tax increases on the rich.

Despite this seemingly overwhelming victory, the 1994 election was actually the beginning of the end for a rapidly shrinking demographic. Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996, and in 2000, Republican George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, only winning based on the Electoral College and an extremely contentious Supreme Court decision. Thankfully for angry white people everywhere, September 11 happened a year later, giving them a new enemy to unite against: Muslims. Ironically, although Bush himself asked Americans not to blame all Muslims for the actions of 19 radicals, American conservatives and Republicans whipped the media and public into an anti-Muslim frenzy that would last for the rest of Bush's administration. Riding on the back of 9/11 sentiment and an Iraq War that was not yet as hated as it would eventually be, Bush handily won re-election in 2004. But over the last four years of his administration, liberal and progressive groups, along with the tens of millions of Americans who were completely disenfranchised by racist, sexist Republican behavior, finally decided to band together and put an end to it.

The fall: 2008-present[edit]

In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected president in a landslide. This was a watershed moment for multiple reasons. First, Angry White Males were now angrier than ever: a black socialist Communist Kenyan Muslim atheist terrorist had been elected president, despite their usage of what might have been the largest army of racist stereotypes, urban legends, and underhanded tactics ever seen in a presidential election. Some conservatives had a change of heart, realizing it was time to stop fighting progress and to try and rebuild their relationships with female voters and racial minorities, and to stop focusing so much on social issues like gay marriage that had no effect on their lives.

...and the Angry White Males proceeded to drag them away and stuff them in a closet where nobody could hear them. For the next four years, Angry White Males dominated the political discourse, thanks in part to a veritable army they created known as the Tea Party. Despite the fact that Obama, by all accounts, was a rather centrist and meek president, Angry White Males successfully convinced millions of white, heterosexual male Christians that Obama was about to wage war on them. Any day now...and five years later, we're still waiting. But conservative pundits everywhere assure us that it's happening. Any day now. Just wait. Obama and his evil anti-white cronies will initiate a purge of the white race...any day now...

After a decisive victory in the 2010 midterms, Angry White Males now dominated the House of Representatives and were able to block literally every piece of policy and legislation Obama and the Democrats suggested. Thankfully, when the 2012 presidential election rolled around, Americans realized that Republicans had duped them. They had made absolutely no progress on the economy, and despite claiming to be fixated on the economy, they were blatantly more concerned with issues like "socialism," sharia law, gay marriage, and abortion. And so, Obama won re-election easily, despite the best efforts of a sentient robot and a sideshow of freaks.

Future[edit]

Ultimately, Angry White Males are angry because they are dying out. As more and more Hispanic immigrants come to the United States, and as more and more women, racial minorities, and LGBT people begin to speak up and vote them out of office, it will eventually become literally impossible to get elected to federal office on a platform of supporting only white males. In fact, by some metrics, it may already be impossible. After Mitt Romney's explosive failure to defeat Obama, many Republicans began to once again do some soul-searching on the best way to rebuild their party and lessen the increasingly deafening effects of Angry White Males on their image. Only time will tell if they are successful.

...but history suggests they won't be.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Angry white male on Wikipedia