Wednesday, December 19, 2012

David Sirota: Time to profile white men?

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 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.
Read the rest of the article here.

Comment: Can anyone really doubt that if the killer at Sandy Hook was a Muslim or a black/brown man we would be having a very different conversation right now?


Inside of whiteness is a grounding rationalization that sees whites as individuals when blame is to be apportioned and a collectivity when kudos are to be awarded.

If Adam Lanza was a black kid who showed up with a hoodie he would be every black young man on the streets of America; if he was listening to rap in the car when he drove to the elementary school there would be a witch hunt to denounce/arrest rappers for promoting the 'black lifestyle' responsible for his downfall.

Instead, what we have now is a grappling for answers and a layering of theories about mental health.

When a white man kills it is an individual thing.  When white kids die it is a tragedy that affronts all humanity.

When brown kids are killed in the fight against terrorism it is collateral damage - no biggie in the big scheme of whiteness.

It is not a new story really: it is the historical course of white racism that has brought us here.


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