MURRYSVILLE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A 16-year-old student wielding two knives went on a stabbing rampage in the hallways of a Pittsburgh-area high school on Wednesday, wounding 22 people before he was
I live a 30 minute drive from here and this is an utter and complete tragedy. My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families and I am hoping that they all recover fully from this terrifying act.
I am wondering, though, about the elephant in the room: white male violence.
With each tragedy and incident of mass violence perpetrated at the hands of white men, these discussions come up, although white progressives usually subsume them under discussions about gun control (which is also necessary, but let us not forget that white men also have disproportionate gun ownership in this country over other racial and gender groups). The Newton massacre was yet another reminder of this, and now again, today:
White boy walks into school (or other public institution), and goes on a rampage wounding or killing dozens in the process.
Why is this not surprising anymore? Well the facts:
Many of us POC and black folks in particular wax long about this, but what if the statistics were reversed and 70% of mass killings in the U.S. were being committed by black men rather than white men? How would that not spark a national conversation about black male violence and also be used to pathologize black men as (even more) criminal and violent?
But at the same time, it’s so clear that the ways in which whiteness and maleness operates is by conferring invisibility on the subject. It allows us to give these boys and men the benefit of the doubt, when we would never do the same for a POC. It allows us to be willfully obtuse about the need for us to address male violence across all racial lines (due to patriarchy) and specifically white male violence and their internalized desire to control their environments and surroundings, leading to these incidents of mass violence (due to white supremacist patriarchy).
We would think that in a country where violence and genocide perpetrated by white men has been with us since 1492, that this wouldn’t be a conversation that we could somehow “miss.” You would think that with incident after incident of mass violence, that we would try to address the larger systems of domination (white supremacist capitalist patriarchy) which these boys and men have internalized, rather than deflecting immediately into an ableist discussion of their mental health. Addressing these systems of domination is an act of love and empathy for all people, them included, to create a society of love, compassion and mutual respect, where mass acts of violence like this are a thing of the past.
But, no, this is America. What do you expect?
Again my heart goes out to the victims and their families and I wish you all a speedy recovery in this difficult time.
Also addressing a related issue that always goes unquestioned in the wake of these tragedies is why it is only these acts of violence in upper-middle class neighborhoods that are marked as tragedies, when dispossessed communities of color are visited daily by the violence of the state and a racist capitalist misogynist anti-queer society.
As my African American Studies professor noted, the media and these communities always say “Why us? This isn’t supposed to happen here”, with the obvious implication that such violence should only happen “there”.
can we NOT turn this into a discussion of social justice just yet?
something terrible happened. I don’t care if a white, black, hispanic, asian, or any other race did it. no need to turn this into some pretentious PSA about racism and how much murica sucks yet.
Funny how when the discussion of white pathology comes up, somebody always has to go ‘can we not turn it into a soshul juztis post?”
This NEEDS to be discussed.
As long as white people continue to mass murder at an overwhelming rate and still be given the benefit of the doubt while POC are killed by police for sneezing wrong, IT WILL BE A SOSHUL JUZTIZ ISSUE
Deal with it.
White male violence needs to be deconstructed, analyzed, broken down, everything
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