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Beware of Angry White People

July 30, 2009

The pressure has been building for decades now, slowly but inexorably. The pent-up gases, the coiled springs, whatever metaphor you’d like to use… that which is suppressed must eventually find expression. Now and then, that expression will take the form of an explosion. That’s what concerns me.

White people are getting angrier. Until recently they haven’t felt free to express their anger. They had been inhibited and intimidated by potential accusations of racism, and nobody wanted to be branded with that scarlet label. But I think we’re starting to see some ominous cracks in the dam (to use yet another obvious but not altogether inappropriate metaphor).

Think I’m sounding a premature alarm? Just look around. Right now our most popular media pundits are Angry White People: veteran radio bloviator Rush Limbaugh, madcap comedian-alarmist Glenn Beck, Harvard-educated anti-immigration populist Lou Dobbs, perennially outraged patriot Sean Hannity, and of course that “fair and balanced” oracle of the evening, Bill O’Reilly. Even  more to the point, their audiences are Angry White People.

The loopy anti-Obama “Birther” movement is composed almost entirely of Angry White People. So was the constituency for that disarmingly adorable Alaskan upstart, former Gov. Sarah Palin. When African American eminento Henry Louis Gates, Jr., irrationally accused working-class Cambridge cop James Crowley of racism, you could feel the collective blood pressure of Angry White People soar into imminent-stroke territory.

I think Angry White People are at least partly justified in their Anger. Since the 1960s they’ve found themselves at the butt-end of virtually every argument about race. They’ve been castigated as overprivileged, insensitive oppressors. They’ve been ridiculed for their lack of cool and their inability to boogie. They’ve seen inner-city kids get the red-carpet treatment at Yale while their own progeny had to settle for Brickville State. They’ve watched as aggrieved minorities used the race card to defend O.J. Simpson and silence the opposition — while still managing to portray themselves as victims. And now, for the first time, a critical mass of Angry White People would appear to be saying “Enough.”

A few days ago I stumbled across an e-mail from the Sierra Club. Unlike most such e-mails, I actually took the time to read this one. Maybe it was because the headline proclaimed, “Yep, We’re Too White.”

The headline amused me at first. Turns out that the Sierra Club’s new Asian American president, Allison Chin, proudly affirmed her commitment to greater “diversity” within the century-old environmental organization. Well, hey, why not? This is 2009. Obama’s in the White House. I can’t expect the Sierra Club to consist entirely of brie-eating, NPR-listening white liberals in Birkenstocks, even if I’ve grown weary of our national tendency to sort everyone by racial affinity.

Then I clicked on the “Comments” link. Whoosh! Talk about explosions! Angry White Sierra Clubbers had festooned the message board with Angry White Invective, of which I’ll provide just a sampling:

“Well, pardon me for being white – would you like me to leave so you can have more diversity?”

“Enough of this crap already! Remove me from your records please! I am so sick of all this garbage!”

“You make being white sound like a bad thing.”

“Is there a place I can go to apologize for my skin color?”

“Get a grip you lefty bigoted racist.”

“Please, I am sick and tired of hearing about diversity.”

“I may have to help out your demographics by taking my despicable ‘whiteness’ elsewhere.”

“Will this catering to those who won’t do for themselves never end?”

“What a bunch of politically correct bull—t! We terrible white people are guilty only of caring and sharing more than other races do.”

I’d say it was the headline that triggered their wrath. But the wrath had been a long time building, and now here it was, out in the open for everyone to gawk at, like the spectacle of an overheated mom spanking her four-year-old in a shopping mall — among a group of  predominantly enlightened and “progressive” white people, no less. These weren’t your classic wild-eyed, white-hooded American racists.  They seemed to be virtuous, long-suffering citizens of good repute who had simply reached the limit of their tolerance.

This seismic shift in white sentiment is both overdue and dangerous. It’s overdue because white people should have been free to voice their resentments long ago. They weren’t. They kept a tight lid on their wayward thoughts and expected them to dissipate eventually. They didn’t.

The emergence of white wrath is dangerous because the Internet Age has, for better or worse, liberated us from our inhibitions over expressing unsanctified ideas. We can hide behind fictitious screen names and rant from the safety of our laptops. We can sway others of our ilk who might have been repressing their rage for half a lifetime. Before long, that rage could spread through the populace like some sinister influenza virus. This is precisely how ugly mass movements arise.

So do we try to clamp the lid back on, or do we let the poisons out? The New Moderate thinks we could use a cultural safety valve: enough freedom to express and release resentments as those resentments register in our minds, so they won’t explode in the future. I’m glad we’re finally talking more freely about race from the white perspective. For too long, only the sentiments of Angry Black People seemed to matter. But we have to make sure that Angry White People don’t become Angry White Bigots.

President Obama “gets” it, I think. In his remarkable address at the National Consititution Center in Philadelphia a year ago, he acknowledged the frustrations of white people who continually find themselves at the receiving endof racial animosities. If Obama can maintain that kind of equipoise at this evening’s ballyhooed White House “teachable moment” with Prof. Gates and Sgt. Crowley, he’ll be doing his part to defuse white anger. It’s absolutely essential that Gates isn’t the only one permitted to do the “teaching” tonight.

From now on, communications on race in America must be a two-way street. Otherwise, those Angry White People could find themselves even angrier.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2009 9:38 am

    My stats counter tells me that this post is getting a lot of views… but so far, not a single comment. Don’t be afraid to sound off on this issue. Feel free to vent, regardless of your views. Nobody will report you to the authorities. Heck, you don’t even have to use your real name. Let’s hear from you.

  2. Taliesin Knol permalink
    January 9, 2010 4:45 am

    To be fair, Whites have been getting the ass-end of the race argument for the past 50 years, but try not to forget the validity of the few hundred years before that. Sucks if you’re under 50.

    • May 5, 2012 5:12 pm

      Ironically, that’s when the civil rights movement began about 50 yrs ago with the liberation of blacks. Coincidental ??? Hmmmmm

    • Wryso Angrie permalink
      July 10, 2012 11:39 am

      Surely that must be some terrible form of sarcasm and humor.

  3. Oronde Amir permalink
    May 19, 2010 8:07 pm

    As a a Black Male or 33 years on this Earth, and having lived in the North and South of this country, I ultimately have to agree with you. White Americans have had nothing but my people’s despondency, ignorance, and repeated negative attitude to deal with coupled with the inability to acclimate to this society (As a whole). Yes, White Americans have been chastised for having their opinions deemed as racist for voicing their opinions no matter the context in some cases if other ethnicities are involved, especially African-Americans.

    However…

    What do you expect? Unlike the Jews, Italians and or every other ethnic group that came here, before they just became white, were once treated as Blacks by other whites but they had a foundation of self/identity/and were not subject to the atrocities that happened during slavery. I’m not going to get into those atrocities because some white people actually believe that Slavery wasn’t as bad as we Blacks make it out to be. To continue, these other cultures, even though they were faced with great hardship amongst themselves (thieving, raping, and acting like the very epitome of the “N-word”) still had the chance to build a financially stable life for themselves amongst themselves without it being taken or halted outright due to reasons that emanate from racial bias. I’m not saying that white’s didn’t/don’t suffer these horrors, of course you do, you’ve been committing acts of horrendous violence and immorality to one another for centuries, but when it comes up to people of color, every attempt to stay segregated were met with one of humanities worst enemies…greed and materialism. Me, Me, Me…

    …And then when the Union folk figured out it would probably be in their best interest to just have us as employed slaves rather than actual slaves since it would work out for the interests of the ruling class, my people decided to be just as blind as their white counterparts and the idiocy of integration came into being. Also on the flip side of all this good freedom and open racial bigotry and violence of the time, my people still busied themselves with jealousy/admiration of the white cultural abundance and so they sought to have the same i.e. the civil rights movement. We were once all about our families and our communities survival and understood the prison that we had been put in and remain in as free citizens. Yet there was some rope on the very mountain we tried to climb. Some Heroes truly emerged from our ranks and in that movement they understood that in order to be a successful community in a place that, (A): we did not bring ourselves, and (B): Understood that no human can be given freedom, it must be taken, realized that we should have stayed segregated until the wounds of slavery could heal by OUR OWN HANDS. It should be understood, as the climate of today is the shining example of the outcome of such actions, is our healing here, with the help of our so called white brothers and sisters united in these great states of America, we would ultimately just end up…like white people. As such, here we are, still a few years behind our white brothers footsteps, but my community has become as consumer driven, self-aligned, violent, confused, divided and in time my community will exist as boring and lacking of what we know of now as “soul” as white Americans are. Every avenue of expression we have tried to keep amongst ourselves, white America has been there whether we wanted you there or not. After all you conquer, so why shouldn’t you be able to replicate and assimilate. To add insult to injury of such thinking, White culture assimilates that which it enjoys and re-imagines it (Chick Norris, Eminem) into a nightmarish re-enactment suited to fit their own expression, paying little or no respect to where such forms/acts came from. When we asked ourselves why, It was said that white ambition seeks to do everything better than the people who started the act, form, or thought. Every attempt to unify my community and people to build a sturdy foundation for ourselves here and around the world have failed, and not just because of our own idiocy, but through the means that are readily available to you and still so unattainable for us, the ability to understand economics in the “white” sense of the definition (Be an educated scumbag but don’t get caught!). The King’s language indeed! I’m tired now, so in closing I say enjoy yourselves white people. You fought, or rather murdered heartily to claim this land and the right to act the way you do. You built upon your backs and the backs of others the right to claim importance over everyone else because this system was built for you by you. As an ex-Black American I used to be jealous of you. I used to wanted the material abundance and happiness that you portray to others in this life. That is until I saw it for what it is coupled with the unbearable weight of your legacy and the recompense that this universe has in store for your culture for such actions as well as mine(looks like extinction for mine for crimes of being beautiful and still so unwilling to learn new methods as a whole). So, I walk the lone road and live my life as a warrior for HUMAN survival instead of another racially motivated idiot. Both of our communities need a great flood to destroy the idiocy that prevents us from reaching our unified goals. One day, we will sit and be brothers, if we don’t kill each other first. Sad ain’t it?!

    -Dexterous Oronde Amir

  4. Tyrone permalink
    February 24, 2011 6:26 pm

    OUTRAGEOUS

    Protecting white cops when there are clear abuse of American citizen is part of life for American citizen in America! Especially black Americans citizen! Putting up with TV judges disrespect of American litigant with name calling and yelling! Has become a part of American justice system! The show COPS shows many incident of abuse of American citizen. No one say NOTHING! So it becomes part of our American justice system! But now it’s white coaches that are caught on video knocking a student to the ground. This white coach gets a pass! Outrageous and pure sick to agree that the white coach gets a pass to assault a student! Stupid! Where is the white leadership in America? Assault is assault is assault! To put your hand on another person is WRONG! It does not matter if it is sports! The video shows the team running a rebounding drill and O’Connor screaming at Kravchuk. The coach then knock his player to the ground and kick him while he is down. As Kravchuk walked away bleeding, O’Connor is shown cursing at him.
    “Get the f**k outta here. Get the f**k outta here,” he screamed as he kicked Kravchuk out of practice. Kravchuk injured his wrist and has not been able to play with the team.
    “It was totally out of line for my coach to do,” Kravchuk said. “We were just doing a drill and the next thing I know, I was on the floor.” This is sick! Where is the white leadership speaking out against white on white crime? Or abuse of authority? Fox 29 New is reporting that a white doctor said it’s OK for underage teens to drink alcohol at home! What a moron what a idiot! But he is white and criticism toward white American morality is non-in-void! This sick stupid doctor are telling people to break the law OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!

  5. Tyrone permalink
    February 26, 2011 6:18 pm

    THE POWER OF WHITE RACISM IN AMERICA

    Forever I have written post about the need for white leadership in America! Shamefully falling on death ears! The country suffer a lost because of the failure of white leadership. The midterm election was a direct result of the lack of white leadership! Also the promotion of white racism and hatred by Tea Party members and the Republican Party! Many white pundits and TV host would like to blame anything but the lack of white leadership and racism and hatred! But they know the truth and the truth is. White Republican Tea Party members understood with not one solution to American problems…… Republicans create. They knew that hate and divide and demonize would work against the first black President! They knew if they demonize Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and President Obama and the entire Democrat Party . THEY WOULD WIN!! Hate and racism and demonizing has always worked in America against America. It has taken time in progress always from building a better America for all Americans! It has draw a line between Americans and destroy the notion of being the greatest country on earth! Politician like Sarah Palin and John Andrew Boehner did nothing but promote hate and divide in the country! Many of the white right wing pundit and TV host have made money off promoting lies and hatred and white racism! LIKE Rush Limbaugh who stated he wanted the country and President Obama to FAIL! He sign a 105 million dollar five year contract with his radio station! Bill O’Reilly a pervert with no respect for women . Has sold more books of hate and divide under President Obama . Then in his entire career as did Sean Hannity and Anne Coulter! Sarah Palin quit her job as Governor of Alaska to promote hate and divide and lies! Glenn Beck is sick with hatred and stupidity. He has made money off of spreading lies and hatred! Sarah is an idiot …..BUT…. Making more money then she ever made in her entire life! All because these people understood white hatred and the lack of white leadership in America!

  6. Tyrone permalink
    March 2, 2011 6:45 pm

    OUR GRANDCHILDREN YEAH RIGHT

    Today more then ever the statements “our grandchildren will have to pay for the mis-step of today’s American politician decision“! Is nothing but Republican with nothing to say are with no solutions! Glenn Beck had a group of all white men of faith on his show. That claim that the country is in the worse condition ever in their life time! Many of the men where in their 50 or very near! That means that they lived during Nixon (a crook) Reagan ( suffer from Alzheimer while in office)! Raise taxes and was a do nothing President! During Reagan Presidency he increase poverty by 7 million. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer and the middleclass paid the bills! A hammer you could purchase at Home Depot for $9. Under Reagan the government paid $200! Reagan administration didn’t care about American grandchildren paying that bill! Business in America went oversea in big number under Reagan! Setting the condition of today! Those men on Glenn’s show also disrespected all the American troop that died for nothing under Republican G.W. Bush in Iraq! Those men nor the Republicans cared about those men and women grandchildren! The war was a needless war! So my question to those idiot : Those times where better?????

  7. Tyrone permalink
    March 2, 2011 9:35 pm

    REPUBLICAN HYPOCRITE

    WACO Texas 74 Americans burn to death by American law enforcement! Many children some as young as 2 months murdered by American law enforcement! REPUBLICANS SILENT!!!! The MOVE incident in Philly 11 Americans murder by American law enforcement! Nearly 100 homes burn to the ground by American law enforcement. Just to arrest one man with a warrant ( John Africa)! REPUBLICANS SILENT!! How come Republican politician criticize Muammar Gaddafi evil treatment of his citizen in his country! But in this country “America”! These lowlife double standard Republicans are silent when white police officer shoot and kill 92 year old black women( Kathryn Johnston)! Or a 7 year old innocent black child asleep! ( Aiyana Jones) first burn with a flash bomb then shot dead! Or the beating of (Rodney King)! In every state in the United State there are murders of unarmed American citizen, Republican could careless! Republican are quick to condemn evil oversea! But in this country when unarmed minorities are murder by law enforcement! THEY COULD CARELESS!! While American troops of all races are fighting and dying in two wars Afghanistan and Iraq! That Republican rule started! The Iraq war was needless and 4,400 died for their country for NOTHING! Republican want to go to Libya with military force and allow American troops to fight and die! For Libya citizen but in this country American minorities could go to hell….or in other just DIE! Republican could careless!!!!

  8. Tyrone permalink
    March 3, 2011 10:02 am

    GO FIGURE

    It is shameful that the Republican dominate “Supreme Court” found it OK for religious extremist full of hatred for gays and wars. Can disrespect and hold signs up of hate at funerals of American military! That gave their life’s for them and their country. It is also shameful that not one politician not a legislator could come up with a law against the behavior of these religious extremist! BUT many legislators came up with a law against saggy pants! That will fine and or jail a person for that behavior! Mostly black Americans will be fine and jail! THAT IS A FACT!!! Most if not all of the religious extremist are white! THAT IS A FACT!!! To think white Americans are voting for these Republican that have a proven record of failure! Have voted against healthcare for all American! Started two wars Afghanistan and the Iraq war! Voted against anything and everything that President Obama propose to recover America and change the downward direct that Republican are responsible for! Cause the death of American troops in Iraq for NOTHING! Made horrible judgments with American taxpayer money that turn a surplus into debt! But white American gave Republicans back power to continue to vote against America and Americans!!! GO FIGURE!!!!!!

  9. Tyrone permalink
    March 5, 2011 10:22 am

    HUCKABEE IS A IDIOT

    In a series of interviews with right-wing radio, Huckabee resurrected fictions about Obama growing up in Africa and spending a childhood under the spell of Islamic madrassas. But no one in the Republican Party’s leadership called Huckabee out. One potential reason? Trafficking in falsehoods about Obama ‘s background, and questioning his American values, may be key to winning the Republican nomination. Just like oversea terrorist that spread lies about America. Republicans do the same! Mike Huckabee might run for President of the United State! This would be the worse position for the country if he does! Mr. Huckabee left Arkansas in worse condition then he found it! He also release a inmate that later murder four police officers! The former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is the host of “HUCKABEE” on the racist Fox News Channel. This idiot has now attacked his base “white people”! On a radio show this week, Huckabee criticized Natalie Portman a white actress for sending the message that it’s okay to have a child “out of wedlock,” because attacking Murphy Brown went so well for the proven idiot Dan Quayle nearly two decades ago. Murphy Brown is another white actress! White women make up 64% of all single parent in the country! 43% as a result of divorce. 61% of all Americans that live in poverty are white people! 68% of all government entitlement programs goes to white people! Both Republican Huckabee and House Speaker John Boehner are attacking their base! Speaker Boehner is attacking social security and Medicare!

  10. Tyrone permalink
    March 8, 2011 7:54 am

    WHITE CHRISTIAN EXTREMIST IN AMERICA

    I was looking at “ America Live With Megyn Kelly” she was discussing Peter King hearing on Muslim Extremist in America! I immediately thought. What a hypocrite with selective memory! How could any American especially a white American. Not acknowledge the “white Christian extremist in America. Or white racist Americans that have gotten into every area of American institutions! That have murder more Americans in America then Muslim could begin to do! AND CONTINUE TO THIS DAY! Where is Mr. King hearing on the Ku Klux Klan in America??? Where is Peter King when black children in NY and Philly as young as eight! Are made to drop their trouser and take off their shoes going and coming to school! In plain view of the public! Where is Peter where in America a black unarmed American is shot in the back while handcuff! Or a 72 year old white woman is knock to the ground and taser. For not signing a ticket. Or a black pregnant woman taking her son to school. Is stop for speeding. Refuse to sign the ticket is pulled from her car and taser 4 time and punch! Where the hell is Peter King??? Or a 92 year old shot 39 times 6 bullet hitting their mark. After finding out they raided the wrong home they planet drug in her home and a gun in her hand! Where is Peter King ???? Or a 7 years old black child asleep in her Detroit home. A Detroit cop first threw a flash bomb. That burn a third of the child’s body then shot her DEAD! Where is Peter King on these issue!

  11. Tyrone permalink
    March 16, 2011 2:38 pm

    HORRIBLE TREATMENT OF AMERICANS

    We are living in a time where white Americans will go crazy if a cat or any animal is abuse or killed by a human being! But if a black person is abuse or shot in the back while handcuff by a white police officers. There is no human out cry or disapproval! Especially by white Americans! Black people will become outrage but their out cry is dismiss by a racist judicial system that could careless! Seven year old Aiyana Jones was asleep when a white Detroit police officer . That knew and didn’t care there where innocent children in the house! Threw a flash bomb that lid the child’s blanket and got her on fire! Then shot her DEAD! There was know out cry from the white community. The white control media first reported that the house was dirty and the community was a bad one! None of which had NOTHING to do with irresponsible police officers! White Americans have no respect for black life at all! None like the out cry when a animal is abuse or killed! Today disrespect of American by people in authority of all colors are up! There is a very high tolerant of abuse of minority in America! Just like in Libya where their dictator have rule with disrespect. This country is know different! We tolerate Judge Judy disrespect conduct and Nancy Grace yelling and disrespecting litigants! Their behavior have become the norm! In NY and Philly black children as young as 8 are made to drop their trouser and take off their shoes in full view of the public! There Stop& Frisk program really is stop blacks and Hispanic! Black children are scared to death to walk to school! Some are made to laid on the ground while cops talk to them and then just let them go!

  12. valdobiade permalink
    March 16, 2011 8:22 pm

    Yes Tyrone,

    Something is totally wrong with US of A in regard to races. Back in Europe, when I was asked to describe a Romanian person, the description did not include “white” for the color of a person: it was absolutely understood that a Romanian is a white (“Caucasian”) person. However, here in the US, if you’re to describe an “American” it automatically should be understood that an American is “White” and “Christian”.

    You will never read about “White-American” or “Christian-American”, but you’ll read about “African-American” and “Muslim-American” just to stress the race and religion difference between an “American” and “something-American”.

    “Something-American” is not the “pure” American we are “educated” to believe. I still wonder why blacks in America still want to be called “African-Americans”. I remember very well, when I lived in France, they do not have a”race” field on the paper filling forms, and still, France has a lot of black people and immigrants.

    Can we, in the US, fight for eliminating of “something” in front of “American”? I guess not, because everybody seems to dislike, but in the same time like to take some advantages that “Something-American” bring… that’s what I think is wrong with US of A in regard to races.

  13. Tyrone permalink
    March 21, 2011 4:05 pm

    FORMER PRESIDENT G W BUSH

    Today while President Obama is taking the heat for anything and everything. That happen before he was President. Donald Henry Rumsfeld the other idiot wrote a book! Both him and former President G. W. Bush are selling books and acting like they are not responsible for today problem! They are help with that lie by the white control media that has shown a bias against President Obama! It was Bush that started the housing problem! It was Bush that deregulated the banks and the oil companies! It was Bush’s 350 billion dollar stimulus package. That today not one Republican can explain what it did and how the country benefited! It was Bush that started the war in Iraq for NOTHING! Causing the death of 4,400 and counting for NOTHING! Shamefully the white control media and the Republican never condemn Bush for the needless deaths of Americans for NOTHING! Even after the 911 report stated that the Bush administration DID NOT purchase the proper upper body armor for the service men! Causing the needless deaths in the beginning of the Iraq war! The 911 report also stated that Bush had NO plan! It was Bush that started the war in Afghanistan without a plan! It was Bush that pass a prescription plan without paying for it! It was Bush and the Republican ran Government that turn a surplus into 13 trillion debt! President Obama is cleaning up the mess that the Republican and Bush create!

  14. valdobiade permalink
    March 21, 2011 8:31 pm

    Tyrone,
    You cannot blame anything on White-Americans. They don’t exist. There are only Americans and African-Americans/Asian-American/Mexican-American/Muslim-American etc…

    • valdobiade permalink
      March 22, 2011 1:29 pm

      I feel that I have to add that when I wrote that White-Americans don’t exist, I was cynical. The world image about “Americans” is that they are white and Christian, so everything that is put in front of “American” (like African-American, Mexican-American, Muslim-American, etc) is just to have an idea that they are not actually “Americans”, they are just trying to segregate themselves from the true “American”, which is, of course, white and Christian.
      Finally we got a President who is not white and “true Americans” tried to show that he is actually African… not even African-American…

  15. Andy Tonti permalink
    June 21, 2012 11:29 am

    RE: ” Beware of Angry White People” posting”.

    I mostly agree with your position on the sources of anger and frustration from white people,
    but I think a more invasive, broader issue may eclipse those from your discussion. And that is public outrage (exclusive of race or national origin) over the arrogant and contemptuous
    behavior of Wall Street as a response to the massive federal bailouts intended to avert a financial meltdown. Couple that with persistently high unemployemnt levels, widespread home foreclosures, offshore transference of corporate operations and investments (fewer
    job openings here), the erosion of consumer purchasing ability due to decreased discretionary income aggravated by the unwiliingness in the retail sector to adjust profit margins and pass some savings down to consumers. And certainly the hopelessness and
    desperation engendered by the expanding inequality in wealth between the 1% and the 99% since the 1970’s.

    All the above, my friend, may lead to a populist rebellion (forceful or otherwise) of some magnitudein the coming years.

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