The night of the presidential election, a perverse strain of the most virulent form of racial animus reared its ugly head on Twitter. Several hundred tweets carried the triumphal message, “F**k white people.” The gesture was indefensible on any number of fronts, not the least of them being the fact it committed the cardinal sin of bigotry, lumping together all members of a single group some 40 percent of which voted for Obama.
The problem was compounded in the days to come by attempts to excuse or rationalize the reaction. Typical was this comment to an article I penned on the affront:
Okay yep, now you see how minorities have felt FOREVER! We’ve always had these comments thrown at us.
So two wrongs do make a right. Is that where we are as a nation?
Sadly, it seems as though the answer is yes. The time for payback appears to be upon us. And what better place to start the agendum of post-racial grievance than by targeting the most flagrant past offenders — white males?
This is no joke. Well, it is a joke, and an unfunny one at that, but it’s meant to be deadly serious. Liberal journalist David Sirota appeared last Sunday on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes,” where a modest proposal for averting another Sandy Hook — profiling white men — was broached. As Sirota noted in a follow-up column at Salon, the idea was actually advanced by Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), who raised the possibility of using the Secret Service for this purpose.
The general reaction of the MSNBC panelists to white male profiling was one of dismissal. In the video, which follows, Sirota can be heard branding the notion as “Orwellian.” And yet there is a discernible air of wistfulness in his comments, which include the observation that white men comprise the only group in America that is “not allowed to be profiled.”
He amplifies on this view in his Salon piece (which is intended to rebut conservative outrage generated by his appearance):
Any honest observer should be able to admit that if the gunmen in these mass shootings mostly had, say, Muslim names or were mostly, say, African-American men, the country right now wouldn’t be confused about the causes of the violence, and wouldn’t be asking broad questions. There would probably be few queries or calls for reflection, and mostly definitive declarations blaming the bloodshed squarely on Islamic fundamentalism or black nationalism, respectively. Additionally, we would almost certainly hear demands that the government intensify the extant profiling systems already aimed at those groups.
Yet, because the the [sic] perpetrators in question in these shootings are white men and not ethnic or religious minorities, nobody is talking about demographic profiling them as a group. The discussion, instead, revolves around everything from gun control, to mental health services, to violence in entertainment — everything, that is, except trying to understanding why the composite of these killers is so similar across so many different massacres. This, even though there are plenty of reasons for that topic to be at least a part of the conversation.
By all means, let’s have that conversation. It would be fascinating in particular to hear how and where this profiling would be carried out. Would it just be at schools, or would white men be stopped and frisked just walking down the street?
And there’s the matter of financing the policy. Although the white male is a disappearing breed (one that can’t disappear fast enough for some of its self-hating members), there are still 223,553,265 of us according to the 2010 United States Census. That’s a lot of pat-downs.
If you are white and male, you have my sympathies.
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