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December 2012
18

White Male Terrorist Violence, White Supremacy and The Media

In regards to Sandy Hook and all of the other recent White male terrorist-lead mass murders, many of the conversations among people of colour have been about the media narratives used to reinforce White supremacy when White men commit terrorist acts. I’ve seen memes that compare how overly kind and respectful the media has been towards Adam Lanza’s memory and he was a White male terrorist, versus Trayvon Martin, a Black male victim. There’s no need to compare how White male criminals’ media narratives are shaped versus Black male criminals. That’s beyond obvious. Black men, innocent or guilty, honest citizen or criminal have been demonized for centuries (and the dehumanization adapted as the technology did. Think Birth of a Nation. Now think of 24-hour news, print media, social media, local news, government policy etc.) No need to travel down that obvious road.

Seeing the visual memes that compare Lanza’s media versus Martin’s are traumatic for me. I understand the point that some people of colour are trying to make; I just…can’t even view them for too long. Hurts bad. The level of utter disregard and disdain for Black life in America is reinforced by both the government, the right arm of oppression and the media/Hollywood, the left arm of oppression. Citizens stand in the middle with surveys revealing how more than half of Whites have negative opinions of Black people, how Whites were angry over any Trayvon coverage, not nuanced views of that coverage—that it was primarily negative and bigoted, what many Black people were angry about, and their one-by-one attacks on Black people by hyper-vigilant White males and the police. Black people suffering with poverty and internalized White supremacy become our own executioners as well.

Because of the disgustingly bigoted history and present in this country, I expect the massive discrepancy in media coverage and what motivates legislative talk, when it comes to race. Black/other people of colour (and even some White people) who know nothing about critical race theory, don’t critique media, don’t pay any attention to any of this can SEE this now. This is how obvious White supremacy has become. No critical analysis needed. (This is good, in context. Conversations must go beyond the academic world.) It is so BLATANT and obvious that random joes on the streets…literally…start conversations with me about White supremacy and media, even if they don’t use the “academic” terms (which are not needed anyway. Academia is not needed to validate their truthful observations and how it impacts their lives.) It’s sickeningly obvious. This country is ILL. (The first time I noticed random people discussing media bigotry was the Olympics. It was so blatant that even those who either aren’t aware or pretend racism/sexism doesn’t exist could pretend no longer.)

However, what has become (disgustingly) fascinating is the media framing of Lanza and these White victims. Again, I’m fully aware of the hatred and disdain for Black life and existence in America. However, I did not expect to see Lanza held at the esteem level of the White victims. The White victims. I noticed this with Aurora as well. And the Penn State abuse case till the very end. And previous shootings. (Other than the “othering” done to these men via mental illness labeling, barely a harsh word is uttered about them.) And then, I re-realized something important. White supremacy itself is more important than any individual life, even a White one. (i.e. individual White soldiers die to uphold American imperialism, white supremacy and xenophobia.) To truly critique Lanza for what he did and the CONNECTION to White supremacy and patriarchy is to literally shoot darts into the theory of White supremacy. Protecting this is more important than even 20 innocent young White lives gone. This is the sickness of White supremacy. In its hierarchical nature, sure, individual White lives matter more than individual Black ones. Black mothers sadly know this oh too well. They’ve buried too many children. But White supremacy itself must be protected above individual White lives? This is what both the government and the media no longer covertly insinuates but actively proselytizes now…through euphemisms (as George Carlin reminded us all), slick media framing and more. I…think some Whites realize this now more than ever. Some join in step with the government and media and quickly try to silence any political conversations by promoting the logical fallacy that critically thinking about race, racism and violence is equal to not caring about the victims of violence. White privilege and semantic warfare are partners in this illogical stance. But…other Whites know better. They know the truth. The problem is, again, many people, White and people of colour (with internalized White supremacist ideals), are avidly invested in protecting White supremacy, so even Whites who are now rejecting this all and whose views match other people or colour (who see or have always seen the truth) are in for a helluva fight. You think fighting the gun lobby is hard? Try dismantling the ideology behind their nonsensical need for gun violence to reinforce White masculinity or altering the two arms of oppression, the government and the media.

(Oh…and have you seen the filthy apologist, White supremacist post in the Opinion section of The New York Times? It’s reprehensible. I loved what some writers on Tumblr had to say about it.)

Interesting reads by other writers, related to this topic:

Nice White Boys Next Door - Sikvu Hutchinson

It Will Never Be The White Man’s Fault - queervomit

The Racism of Quaintness - girlebony

Time To Profile White Men? - David Sirota, Salon

America Breeds Terrorists. And They Are White Not Brown - Crunk Feminist Collective

Ten Differences Between White Terrorists And Others - veryethnic 

Related Posts: response To Edward Park’s quote on race/terrorism, response to President Obama’s statement after the Newtown terrorism, The High Cost Of Protecting Institutions and Ideologies Over Individuals, a tweet on terrorism, Aurora Theater Shooting = Terrorism, White Privilege and Criminal Justice

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    Great stuff from Trudz as part of a continuing discussion we’ve had on Twitter regarding mental health and culture/race.
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