Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sound Familiar? 5,000 Comments Later The Washington Post Discovers the Relationship Between White Men and Mass Shootings

Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and we’d have political debates demanding that African Americans be “held accountable.” 
Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.
But when the criminals and leaders are white men, race and gender become the elephant in the room. 
Nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years — not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys. Yet when the National Rifle Association (NRA), led by white men,held a news conference after the Newtown massacre to advise Americans on how to reduce gun violence, its leaders’ opinions were widely discussed. 
Unlike other groups, white men are not used to being singled out. So we expect that many of them will protest it is unfair if we talk about them. But our nation must correctly define their contribution to our problem of gun violence if it is to be solved. 
When white men try to divert attention from gun control by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem, or flawed systems with which to address those problems, and they think that is what produces mass shootings. 
But women and girls with mental health issues are not picking up semiautomatic weapons and shooting schoolchildren. Immigrants with mental health issues are not committing mass shootings in malls and movie theaters. Latinos with mental health issues are not continually killing groups of strangers.
Hmmmm, I wonder where I heard a similar argument?

I do not make a habit of credit claiming. I also understand that writing under a pen name does make it difficult to get the shine one has earned and deserves. In my work, I try to proceed from a principle where I link to others who are making similar claims and whose ideas inform my own--what was likely an apocryphal story about a Yale PhD student who failed his defense because of a dropped footnote has scarred me for life.

I am not suggesting any ill-intent by Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress, the co-authors of "White men have much to discuss about mass shootings" in the opinion section of The Washington Post. Let me be precise. I am not calling them "shark-biters," per se.

However, I will be emailing them a kind email about the originality of their opinion piece. I do hope that others make similar inquiries.

 I am only suggesting that when one is late to the party, and has an argument which is not at all original, that they try to give some love to those folks who they are building upon.

As I discovered here on We Are Respectable Negroes, as well at the Daily Kos, and Alternet, White Masculinity is feeling very imperiled in the post civil rights era. David Sirota felt the heat as well from the Right-wing media who issued a virtual fatwa on him for daring to discuss the relationship between White men and mass shootings should be explored.

Ultimately, White Masculinity that defines itself through access to guns is feeling particularly under siege in the Age of Obama. White Conservative Masculinity in general is throwing a national temper tantrum and has been since 2008 (or perhaps even back to the late 1980s and the Cultural War moment).

I am an advocate of ignoring brats and telling them to go sit down, facing the corner. Unfortunately, such a solution is impractical when faced with the acting out of the Gun Right , the Tea Party GOP, and aggrieved White Masculinity. I am a loss as to the parenting strategies that will help them become more responsible social actors who work towards the Common Good. Any suggestions?

23 comments:

Yastreblyansky said...

David Brooks did the most incredible thing in this context--unconsciously, I suppose--suggesting (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/opinion/brooks-the-killing-chain.html?hp&_r=0) that improved gun laws are no use specifically because they are more aimed at white murderers.

FIrst, all gun killers come from a neighborhood, a "culture", and of course a gang and prison time:

"Let’s say you were writing a novel about a homicide. You’d want to describe the killer’s neighborhood and family background. You’d want to describe his school, his culture and his gang.

"You’d want to describe how he got into crime, his prior arrests, his prison time, his drug use and his relationship with his probation officer. You’d want to describe how he got the murder weapon, what sort of police presence there was the night of the killing and what incited the murder...."

And therefore,

"If we could start the violence debate over, I’d begin with universal background checks. Acknowledge that on their own, these checks won’t accomplish much. (Drug dealers from Baltimore are not driving to West Virginia gun shows to acquire weaponry.) But use those checks as the first step in a series of policies to reinforce gun trafficking laws and reassert police control over the zones of concentrated violence."



Prevent Sandy Hook by occupying Oakland ever more closely.

Michael Varian Daly said...

I believe this is only part of the story in that this is how ALL Males act when their Dominance is threatened. It is manifesting itself in the present fashion because five hundred plus years of European Global Dominance are quite probably coming to an end and the White Males who live upon the fringe of that process are losing the last vestiges of their own personal delusions of 'dominance' as the larger paradigm so clearly unravels, something which consumes them first with suicidal despair and then transforms into homicidal rage.

I have no doubt events would be the largely the same if the paradigm ending had a different racial/cultural foundation. Xenophobia is a Universal Human Condition and Males are its principle operating agents. [see Asians in Amin's Uganda, the Rwanda genocide, the present massacres in Burma and so on ad nausium maximum]

chauncey devega said...

"All" is never your friend when constructing an argument. Who? How? In what circumstances or not?

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Did you see this piece in the NYT Magazine today?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/magazine/should-it-matter-that-the-shooter-at-oikos-university-was-korean.html

It seems that Korean-Americans are having the kinds of conversations that white people need to be having about mass shootings.

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chauncey devega said...

Thanks! Gonna have to work that angle. What do you think explains the difference?

Avila said...

we can't ever have that so-called national conversation because this:

Unlike other groups, white men are not used to being singled out. So we
expect that many of them will protest it is unfair if we talk about
them. But our nation must correctly define their contribution to our
problem of gun violence if it is to be solved.


prohibits any meaningful discussion. i don't have any solutions to offer, but i am weary, maestro of the endless temper tantrums of the White Privileged and Entitled. i honor you for speaking the truth here.

CNu said...

While you're working that angle, be sure to work the preposterous one which has Lawrence Bobo denying black agency http://www.theroot.com/views/time-remove-race-gun-debate

chauncey devega said...

Well no. His argument is more nuanced than that.


Structures, plus responsibility, plus choices, are important. He is very spot on in calling out the gun industry which is indemnified from law suits and the NRA which is a lobby representing a very small and narrow part of the public, which holds unpopular opinions against the general will on reasonable gun control policies, and that has a strange hold on Washington.


We need a systemic approach that deals with all those variables. Not complicated.

CNu said...

No, his argument isn't particularly "nuanced" at all. Rather, it's just the same old soup warmed over wrt denying that black agency wrt black dysfunctions, (always somebody else's fault) while pretending that agency exists wrt political swarm behavior (except for you uncle Toms' kneegrows be of one mind)



Your claim that "gun control"=general will - is not empirically supported, in damned near precisely the same way that LGBTQ issues = Black issues is not supported.

chauncey devega said...

I will be more precise. The majority of Americans support expanded background checks, restrictions on the capacity of weapons, waiting periods and other reasonable steps. A majority of republicans also support a good number of these policies too.


Don't fret though no one is coming for your guns.


No where in that short editorial does he deny black agency. Calm down. I know you got it in for those "black elite" types who don't have the secret whiteopia decoder ring with the negrophobia reasonable racism crystal you just received from sending in your ups from Ovaltine.

CNu said...

Nowhere in that short editorial does he deny black agency.lol,But, to stress how structure matters should change the discourse for us. In America, we typically carry on an unfortunately lopsided emphasis on individual choice as the principle factors behind urban gun violence; that bias is what is in need of realignment. Culture, human agency and the like are hardly the central factors here. To be sure, it does take a human actor to pull the trigger of a gun. Yes. But it also takes a deep
and profound breakdown in the bonds of civility and mutual human obligation that characterize our communities in order to produce 443 gun deaths -- 65 of whom were 18 or younger -- in a city the size of Chicago in one year, which is what happened in 2012. People who get paid to think full time, but only so long as they exclusively think and write in racial victim terms, are too invested in those tropes to see the self-fulfilling nature of their own stinking thinking....,


19th century style teachers are nearing the end of their vocational road and most don't even see it coming. 19th century style _______________ who imitate teaching - but don't profess anything useful in the time they spend on the lectionary stage - are going to be the very first to go, and good riddance.

chauncey devega said...

Last time,

if you can explain something unfounded or even basically untrue about this statement I am all ears:

"But it also takes a deep
and profound breakdown in the bonds of civility and mutual human obligation that characterize our communities in order to produce 443 gun deaths -- 65 of whom were 18 or younger -- in a city the size of Chicago in one year, which is what happened in 2012."

"People who get paid to think full time, but only so long as they exclusively think and write in racial victim terms, are too invested in those tropes to see the self-fulfilling nature of their own stinking thinking"

"Racial victim terms" you are increasingly fluent in the discourse of the White Right. Can you please explain these "racial victim" terms you so casually deploy?

Bobo is the real deal. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, NSF, etc. and is a very well regarded and grounded empiricist. Read some of his work you may be surprised and learn something. I know that may not mean anything to you. But such distinctions do not come easy.

I agree that things are changing in regards to higher ed...most of it for the worst. If I recall, you work for a public school system doing computer systems stuff and also archival work. What will happen to you in these times? Will you and your kin be obsolete?

Such grumpiness lately. Again, what is going on?

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CNu said...

If I don't "learn" anything more than what I did taking up Iton at your suggestion some weeks ago, I'll pass.

Afrodemia is a bankrupt enterprise which has contributed to the breakdown of the bonds of civility and mutual human obligation. It has proven that it has nothing tangible or useful to offer by way of policy prescriptions for the repair of the same.I am an advocate of ignoring brats and telling them to go sit down,
facing the corner. Unfortunately, such a solution is impractical when
faced with the acting out of the Gun Right , the Tea Party GOP, and
aggrieved White Masculinity. I am a loss as to the parenting strategies that will help them become more responsible social actors who work towards the Common Good. Any
suggestions?aggrieved White masculinity ain't shoot up 443 young negroes in Chicago last year and hasn't shot a single one in Chicago this year either.

chauncey devega said...

Iton is a difficult text. If you picked it up and quit it that is your loss. I would hope that you do not frame your intellectual exercises in such a manner. There are other more basic texts out there on the subject if so inclined. As Iton is both a long read, pretty dense, and assumes a good amount of investment already.

I like definitions. Please define "Afrodemia." Does that mean any black person who happens to be an academic? Specific subfield.

Again, Bobo is a starred sociologist. You would probably find his arguments about resources and group competition very interesting. Are you dismissing him because he is black, i.e. one of those "afrodemics?" Very interesting turn as of late CNU. What has happened down in KC to bring about your tone lately?



Aggrieved white masculinity has shot up schools, movie theaters, and committed other acts of domestic terrorism. This is not an either or proposition.

CNu said...

Please define "Afrodemia." Does that mean any black person who happens to be an academic? Specific subfield.

Of course not. Black folks teaching math, computer science, molecular biology, electrical engineering, piano or art history - are academics who happen to be black.

Black persons teaching the specifically negrological aspects of history, political science, sociology, literature - and all the other specifically negrological aspects of selected soft liberal arts subjects - THAT would be Afrodemia.

Afrodemia functions as a strange attractor and institutional denature-er of a demographic which in former generations might have preoccupied itself with genuine shoe-leather political activism, organizing, doing things.

As a strange attractor for various and sundry current and past grievances, the afrodemic no longer makes these grievances politically or socially actionable, no longer generates any useable deliverables, rather, he/she ruminates and concentrates grievances in search of a receptive audience for the same.

The only vestigial receptive audiences for afrodemic production being the soft young heads engaged in exploratory studies and satisfying discretionary liberal arts requirements.

I was listening to the sad tale of a 51 year old biology teacher in the college of liberal arts at UMKC who died unexpectedly last week of a massive heart attack. Said young middled aged professor found himself in the unenviable position of being in a department within the college of arts and sciences which is on the chopping block due this summer to undergraduate undersubscription.

Thinking back to when my daughter visited UMKC for a saturday - this time last year - out of 280 kids interested in the college of arts and sciences - there were only 9 interested in math, physics, or biology. The overwhelming majority of kids on that track were going directly into the 6 year MD program, where not only would they cover those topics, but also wind up on the tale end of their studies with an immediately monetizable vocation.

Given the desperate need for STEM focused students nowadays, one wonders that even STEM programs can easily find themselves in desperate straights, but I digress....,

Bobo is a starred sociologist. You would probably find his arguments
about resources and group competition very interesting. Are you
dismissing him because he is black, i.e. one of those "afrodemics?"


Bobo ruminates a negrological cud and produces no actionable deliverables for the benefit of black folks. Forty years of Bobos has done damn near as much damage to black folks as 40 years of Kilpatricks, Cleavers, Marion Berrys, etc....,

chauncey devega said...

I love your wonderfully arbitrary distinctions. Piano and art history goes on the great restart prepper ark. Those literature folks! You get to drown or be irradiated. Historians! You die too! Insert maniacal laugh. Always fun to see the wheels turn in good sport.


There is a reason behind the defunding of social science and other "soft fields" as you would describe them. Power and the neoliberal order do not want citizens trained to ask hard questions about the social order and justice. The massive funding of STEM is a way to that end. Citizens consumers who are sheeple is the way to go in an era of inverted totalitarianism. The destruction of tenure and the creation of a contingent academic labor force without intellectual freedom and who just teach online like some type of Mcdonald's employee or Walmart type is the way to go. Scary stuff.


Henry Giroux is one of the folks detailing this hot mess.


We need all players ready to perform. This includes all branches of knowledge creation. But that is a separate conversation.

CNu said...

I love your wonderfully arbitrary distinctions. Piano and art history goes on the great restart prepper ark.

lol, my arbitrary distinctions don't hold a candle to your simple stereotypes. This has nothing whatsoever to do with "prepping".

I threw art history into the mix of academic knowing/doing value - because at the very least - it addresses itself to something objective and real which is external to the endless litany of negrological woe.

People with genuinely felt and intolerable grievances don't study these, instead, they take decisive action to remedy them.

Power and the neoliberal order do not want citizens trained to ask hard questions about the social order and justice.

Trained to ask questions?

Come on.

Children ask questions, grown folks take action.

The massive funding of STEM is a way to that end.

lol, the not-so-massive funding of STEM is an effort to identify and train a generation of folks capable of innovation and problem solving. If you humans don't engineer your way out your current ecological and energetic overshoot...., won't be nothing left for the endlessly aggrieved to question and cry about.

The destruction of tenure and the creation of a contingent academic labor force without intellectual freedom and who just teach online like some type of Mcdonald's employee or Walmart type is the way to go.

oh boo-hoo...., our patrons won't continue funding our lives of unproductive questioning and studied leisure. Welcome to the real world CDV.

Listen, I realize it's important to you to try to pigeonhole and marginalize my contrarian voice. I get that. I'm not a member of the elite thinkers club, so how would I understand what it do?

Here's the thing. Six years ago I wrote and won a modest $250K grant for innovative approaches to learning - and to my horror, from the outside looking in - watched school district scumbags appropriate and squander those funds.

Last year, I wrote and won a more expansive $1Million grant for innovative approaches to learning - and now from the inside looking out - I control the application and use of those funds.

Truth be told, the span of my control in this area is actually MUCH larger than that, but, I'll only stake a claim to what I personally authored and can absolutely and unequivocally prove.

Professionally, I'm a systems and network administrator - Widows/UNIX/IOS are the coin of the realm wherever information technology is found.

There's much more to this, but I digress. The bottomline is that if you see the writing on the wall - The destruction of tenure and the creation of a contingent academic labor force - it is imperative that you takie steps to cognitively and culturally infiltrate the next thing past that sign post up ahead.

Children ask questions, grown folks take action.

We need all players ready to perform. This includes all branches of knowledge creation.

The afrodemic establishment has had 40 years in which to perform - and if what we're all looking at is the measure of their success - then their time is up.

chauncey devega said...

"lol, my arbitrary distinctions don't hold a candle to your simple stereotypes. This has nothing whatsoever to do with "prepping".

I threw art history into the mix of academic knowing/doing value - because at the very least - it addresses itself to something objective and real which is external to the endless litany of negrological woe."

Art is objective? Music is objective? Many folks would disagree.

I enjoy the to and fro. given your malthusian bent and confessed love of prepping it is hard not to see these, yes, arbitrary distinctions, as a function of your own personal formula for some big reset. that isn't a dig. just a fair observation.

the move towards STEM is very much a product of a desire to create passive citizens who do not question governance and power.

at this point I would think most folks would see that, especially with some of the naked moves to defund fields that actually ask hard questions about government, elites, and decision-makers. see the mess over the NSF and the republicans were gutted all sorts of projects because it empirically demonstrated the impact of their extremism on creating an unworkable congress.

as I said, again, there are some great articles out there on this issue. moreover, those advocating the destruction of the academy are in bed with the globalizing plutocrats. the same folks who want to shock doctrine higher ed, are the same folks who did that to the rest of the academy. they also have a long running beef with higher ed as some fictive redoubt of the "leftists" and "progressives"--they used to them communists--which they wanted to destroy. many of these folks are also anti-modernity.

connect the dots here as you often do on the other matters.

elite thinkers club? now you are playing. i ain't part of that, am just a day to day workman, and my pov doesn't come from some on high looking down the nose academic pov. i commend you your success. we need more folks doing what you do.

however, that does not mean that we need fewer people who can contribute by training and educating people in things other than STEM. i am holistic. again, and we can disagree we need a diversity of backgrounds, training, and interests nourished.



"afrodemic" and now "negrologic woe". I think you need to issue a book of codes and countersigns. Some of your language is very worrisome and hints at other matters which are increasingly suspect.