Entitlement, Misogyny and Racism: White Male Rage Is America’s Biggest Threat
On this episode of democracy-ish our hosts address the single greatest threat to America: “crazy fucking white men,” says Danielle. “If you look at everything that is wrong, it comes back to white, right-wing, gun-toting Christian zealots.”
There’s a common thread in so many recent headlines, whether they’re about mass shootings, police violence or suppressing peaceful protests = white male violence.
What’s behind the aggression of so many men, who inherently have more power in our society? Who’s to blame for their behavior, and will it ever change?
Toure and Danielle discuss two captivating videos that came out this week that couldn’t be more different, but are equally enraging: HBO’s new docuseries on QAnon, and a viral clip of a white woman slinging the N-word at a Black cashier in Queens.
Months after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, white male rage continues unabated.
White men perpetrating mass shootings and white cops who emphasize with them. White police suppressing peaceful rallies, and white cops getting away with murder.
Danielle thinks she needs “a year sabbatical” from America.
“You can't escape America,” says Toure. “It’s the lone superpower.”
“What’s super about it?” she replies.
He’s not saying super like it's great: “When folks say America is the greatest country in the world –– it’s definitely not. But that doesn’t matter.”
For him, the important question to ask is: Is America as great as it could be?
“The answer is absolutely not, he says. “Not even close. But I don't think you can leave America and escape the impact of America. America's mistakes and its troubles bleed into the rest of the world in a way that no other country’s do.”
Toure thinks of a brilliant TikTok Neil deGrasse Tyson posted the other day, in which he observed that some states require you to wear a mask, and some states do not.
“So it’s like having a pool where there’s a designated area where you can pee,” Toure explains. “It’s like American lunacy, violence, rapaciousness –– they have an impact on the whole globe.”
Blame the white moms
When we see mass shootings –– which are overwhelmingly committed by angry young white men –– we inevitably talk about mental health and gun safety, says Toure.
“But maybe we need to talk about why there are so many angry young white men.”
Imagine if most of the recent mass shootings were perpetrated by Black men, Danielle says.
“Can you imagine what would be being said about Black and Brown mothers, and how they’re failing their sons? Can you imagine how we would be pathologizing what is happening in this community that’s clearly troubled?”
Anger and violence –– and whiteness –– is the common thread between most of these tragedies, but we don’t even ask the question –– “the same way we would about any other fucking community: What is going on with white families?”
Toure says he doesn’t want to “lay it all on the doorstep of white women,” but Danielle wonders why not.
“We don't lay enough on their doorstep,” she says.
White entitlement is a ‘golden ticket’
If he were to hazard a guess, Toure thinks white male rage comes from a sense of entitlement.
“They may not be fully able to articulate this,” he notes –– but it seems they have a thought process that says, I should be in the center of things, I should be powerful. I should be having life go my way.
When it doesn’t, guys get depressed and angry, even though not getting what you want is just... part of life. But so many of them are too young to know that yet, or maybe they have a chemical imbalance, he adds.
We should talk about why that entitlement exists, says Danielle: “America has reflected back to you that you are a golden child if you were born white and male and straight. That is your golden ticket. You are in Willy Wonka's factory, and everything is going to be at your fingertips. And then when it's not, you don't know what to do with yourself.”
As a former educator, she wonders how parents and the educational system reinforces these ideas.
Another issue we don't address enough, she points out, is “that a lot of this is wrapped around misogyny. A lot of the victims are women. We just talk about lone wolves and mental health … never once getting to the root of the rage.”
Empathy for a mass murderer
Last week Toure and Danielle discussed the disastrous press conference by Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County sheriff’s office, who said the shooter, Robert Aaron Long, had a bad day.
“On Robert's bad day, he gets to take out eight women,” Danielle says. “That was said by an officer who posted a China Virus shirt on social media … The people who are supposed to be doing the investigations and the analysis are too busy saying hot shit like that.”
Toure thinks law enforcement officers like Baker “see themselves in these people, and that should scare us even more. They look at the Robert Aaron Longs and the Kyle Rittenhouses and the Dylann Roofs and they say, you know, he was just a loner. He just needed a hug ...
They see their wayward younger selves, and their sons and their cousins and their nephews.”
It should go without saying that a mass murderer “should not be getting empathy from the police,” he adds.
“And yet Black people who do far less are treated as if they have no humanity. While the Atlanta shooter is said to have had a bad day, Elijah McLean, who did nothing, and was not even accused of doing anything … was killed by police.
He was just walking down the street, and “that's not a fucking crime,” Toure says.
“It is if you're Black,” says Danielle.
Second amendment ‘slippage’
Republicans have passed literally hundreds of voter suppression laws in response to “voter fraud,” which literally doesn’t happen.
“The reality of gun violence, though, gets us a fucking goose egg,” says Danielle. “Zero legislation. A lie –– fraud in our voting system gets you 253. But the reality of actual bodies piling up in this country gets us nothing. And that's America in a nutshell.”
The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is a prime example. “26 six- and seven-year-olds riddled with fucking bullets … but Congress didn't move.”
And, Toure points out, they were white kinds.
“White and wealthy. And we did nothing,” Danielle replies.
There’s almost the sense occasional mass shootings have to happen, says Toure.
“In the restaurant industry, they talk about slippage. There's a certain amount of food that's going to be stolen by the staff, or thrown out because the customer didn't like the way you cooked it, or what have you. You just write that into the bottom line.”
Mass murder in America is much the same way: it just happens every once in a while. We’ll lose people because we’ve got to have the Second Amendment. Slippage.
Sen. Hawley: QAnon Shaman in a suit
White violence isn’t limited to young men. The New York Times reported this week that at peaceful Black Lives Matter protests across the country last year, the police consistently responded with far more violence than was necessary.
“It wasn't just a New York problem, a Buffalo problem, a Colorado problem or an L.A. problem,” says Toure. “It was nationwide. They were repressive, aggressive and oppressive toward us. Police respond to critiques of police brutality with police brutality.”
And as Danielle notes, recent reporting on the Capitol insurrection shows that of about 300 people who were arrested, 42 were active or retired cops, or military veterans.
“These people are in every aspect of our lives. They are the police officers. They are the elected officials. They’re not just young, rage-filled men … Josh Hawley is the buttoned-up, suit-wearing version of the fucking QAnon shaman.”
Alternative facts and a war on academics
Republicans have been waging a “war on facts” for decades, says Danielle.
“This is not new shit. This is just reoriented for social media. But these are the same people who made up stories and lies about welfare queens, who injected drugs and violence into Black and Brown communities to justify incarceration and the advent of private prisons. These are the people who manufactured crises in order to justify their cruelty.”
Then those same people tell us that, “because we are studied and educated, we are elite and disconnected from real America,” she adds.
“They started a war on academics –– that's what you do in authoritarian and fascist regimes. You go after the professors and the thinkers and the innovators. Why? Because they are the ones with the big ideas that challenge your bullshit.”
That’s how we got to where we are now, “where fact isn't fact, it's alternative fact; where up is down and down is up.” says Danielle. “America is so fucked. It's exhausting.”
Toure is a bit exhausted himself after he spent a few hours in “upside-down world” watching HBO’s new QAnon docuseries. Even though he’s been railing on Twitter about he’s had quite enough “deep dives into the crazy world of the right wing,” he was powerless to resist.
“I got sucked into this bizarro world,” he says. “I was completely fascinated by the weirdos and this bizarre conspiracy theory –– just cult-like, wackadoodle craziness.”
Danielle is worried about Toure’s mental health.
“Why the fuck do you watch this stuff?” she asks.
Toure admits that after watching the first episode he felt “woozy” and “abused.”
Immersing oneself in the world of Q “doesn't affirm you, or empower you or make you feel stronger or better,” he says. “You’re going ‘through the looking glass,’ and it doesn't leave you feeling smarter.”
Save the real children
He found it laughable how “sanctimonious they were in their seriousness …. I'm like, you fucking morons are like finding value and meaning in air. There’s a couple [in the doc] who sound like complete idiots. They were like, we voted for Obama twice. But then we found out the truth.”
Danielle is curious: “What was the truth they found out?”
For the uninitiated, Toure gives us the SparkNotes version: “Q is some rogue government agent with ‘Q-level’ security clearance who's literally and figuratively close to Trump, giving us secret messages preparing us for the day when hundreds of indictments are unsealed, and the police go en masse to arrest Obama and Hillary and Soros, et cetera.”
That’s because they are monsters who are “raping and eating babies.”
Literally, not figuratively, mind you. Q followers think Democrats literally eat babies in satanic rituals –– “and drink their blood for its rejuvenative power,” he adds. “They must be stopped and Trump is the only one strong enough to stop them.”
At the risk of attempting to “make sense out of fuckery,” Danielle wonders: “There are actual children in cages that the Trump administration put there. Are these people concerned about freeing the actual children, or just the fictional children they believe are being eaten by the left?”