Do Angry Young White Men Deserve ‘Empathy’ For Their Gradual Loss Of Privilege?


Q: Why did God create women?

A: So poor men could have slaves.

-A joke I’ve heard told a few times by smart radical feminists

In the wake of a tragedy like the recent Newtown massacre, it’s only natural to try to make sense of what has happened. As humans are social creatures, it’s also natural (and correct, I think), to attempt to look at it in a systemic way, especially considering these kinds of killings have dramatically increased over the past 30 years. Yesterday’s New York Times editorial by our old pal Christy Wampole attempts to do both of those things. Unfortunately, the conclusion she comes to is so off base as to make me question whether she’s just trolling us, or what. In short: she believes that we can (and should) stop young white men from lashing out and killing people by having more empathy for their loss of privilege in modern society. Say what?

She starts out by painting a falsely rosy picture of what “the young [white] man” used to mean to Western society, then describing how he has declined:

They were once our heroes, our young and shining fathers, our sweet brothers, our tireless athletes, our fearless warriors, the brains of our institutions, the makers of our wares, the movers of our world. In the Western imagination, the valiance of symbolically charged figures like Homer’s Ulysses or the Knights of the Round Table remained unquestioned since their conception. However, as centuries progressed and stable categories faltered, the hero figure faces increasing precarity. Even if we consider the 20th century alone, we see this shift from World War II, when the categories of good and evil were firm, to later conflicts like the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, involving a disparity between what the government believed to be right and what much of the civilian population did. Does the heroic young man still make sense today, or has his value already been depleted?

Note what’s being omitted from this apocryphal history: the fact that this ability to shine often came at the expense of women, minorities, queer people, trans people, and anyone else who was not white, male, straight, cisgendered, and able bodied. (Also: I’m calling bullshit. White men still have plenty of positive role models.)

Next, she gives some anecdotal evidence that poor women do better in life than poor men. She also admits she’s talking mainly about young white men and delivers this super-awful pull quote that replaces one stereotype with another:

“The angry white man has usurped the angry black man.”

But while the angry black man was angry about things like, I don’t know, the way white people kidnapped a million of his ancestors from Africa and enslaved them, then freed them but made them live in an environment of widespread racism, poverty and oppression, the angry white man is angry about whatever marginal gains people who are not him have made in the past 50 years or so. (False equivalency alert!) To Wampole, empowerment is a zero sum game:

I would argue that maleness and whiteness are commodities in decline. And while those of us who are not male or white have enjoyed some benefits from their decline, the sort of violence and murder that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary will continue to occur if we do not find a way to carry them along with us in our successes rather than leaving them behind.

For women, things are looking up. We can vote, we can make more choices about our bodies than in decades past, we’ve made significant progress regarding fair pay, and more women are involved in American politics than ever before. The same can be said for minorities. However, because resources are limited, gains for women and minorities necessarily equal losses for white males. Even if this feels intuitively fair to many, including those white males who are happy to share resources for the greater benefit of the nation as a whole, it must feel absolutely distressing for those who are uncomfortable with change and who have a difficult time adjusting to the inevitable reordering of society.

That’s right: shootings like this happen because the young white man is angry his privilege (which did not belong to him in the first place) is being taken away. (And like I’ve said, the degree to which it’s being taken away is debatable.)

If she’d stopped right there, I wouldn’t have as many problems with it as I do. True, it doesn’t account for all the other factors that lead to acts of violence: easy access to firearms, undiagnosed or untreated mental illness, and, I would argue, the systemic and increasing alienation of the American worker. (Plus: not every “senseless” murderer is white and male. And not every young white man is angry.) But the pretend-victim, right populist rage of the white male is a very real phenomenon that we see everywhere from the Tea Party to “men’s rights activists” to (maybe) some of the murders we’ve seen in recent years, and it’s important to understand it in order to defeat it.

But rather than hold this angry white man accountable for his own inappropriate feelings of victimhood, she proposes a ridiculous solution: coddle and validate those unearned feelings of anger with “empathy.”

For those of us who belong to a demographic that is doing increasingly better, a trained empathic reflex toward those we know to be losing for our gains could lead to a more deferential attitude on our part and could constitute an invitation for them to stay with us.

Let me get this straight: because I am not being discriminated against quite as much as I used to be, I need to act “deferential” towards the men who are no longer able to get jobs because they were born the right gender and color? “Poor baby, having to work to achieve your goals, how very unfair!” And by implication, if I don’t do that, it will be my fault when a young white man goes out and kills a bunch of people? Fuck that.

We can argue all day about who is responsible for stopping violence, but the onus is hardly on people who are already marginalized. This makes about as much sense as blaming a rape victim for her own rape because she was wearing a short skirt. If anyone or anything is responsible for this ridiculous white male rage, it is the patriarchy itself, for giving men a false sense of entitlement and falsely superior identities in the first place.

To quote Melissa McEwan:

This article is what happens when you don’t understand (or don’t care about) the difference between “maleness” and “male privilege.” When you treat gender parity like a zero-sum game. When you wax nostalgic for a history that never existed. When you carefully elide how the kyriarchy has robbed privileged men of both a way to define themselves that is neither oppressor nor oppressed and the unquenchable hunger for self-improvement that doesn’t reside in the bellies of the privileged who are assured they are the Norm, the ideal to which marginalized people aspire.

The problem is not that we have failed to empathize with privileged young white (straight, cis, middle class) men. The problem is that have built a culture around not expecting them to empathize with anyone else.


Like I said before, I’m not convinced that “rage at having one’s privilege taken away” is the primary cause of senseless acts of violence like the one we saw in Newtown. But if it is, it’s sure as hell not up to me to try and soothe it away. Remember how we did that for years, and all it did was make the problem worse? Yeah. It’s time for the small subset of white men experiencing this “white male rage” phenomenon to take collective responsibility for their own odious thoughts and actions. If they are mad about lack of money and opportunities, it’s time for them to look up at the system that’s oppressing them, not down at the easiest targets. Then, and only then, will we move to a less alienated society in which only the most intractable of mental disorders can cause people of any race or sex to harm others.

(Via The New York Times)

Photo: Wikipedia

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    • Sarah

      I will grant there is room for consideration here… I do think we ignore at large some of the scary messages we send our sons with toys marketed towards them (battle! fight! dominate!) as well as unhelpful mixed messages regarding manliness and inherent success, but placing responsibility on ourselves for not feeling sorry enough for a group that is recently experiencing anything less than absolute hero worship? Buy some big girl panties, men.

      • EvilPundit

        I’d just like to have the same rights and respect that women get.

      • Maargen
      • EvilPundit

        Men and women get the same pay for the same jobs, hours worked, and experience level. The wage gap myth has long been debunked.

      • kj

        I’m sorry, but I think I’m going to believe Rachel Maddow over some dude that spends his free time picking fights with ladies on a ladies’ website.

      • Maargen

        Ignorant much??

        “AAUW took a closer look at the difference between men and women who enter the same occupation. The apples-to-apples comparison found that women still earned about 7% less than their male counterparts. Give their similarities, this pay gap is unexplained, and gender discrimination is one potential factor, the study says.

        “A lot of people think that stereotypes are a thing of the past,” says Catherine Hill, director of research at AAUW. “But we see that these things are continuing and real.”

        I noticed you’re very good at not allowing facts to influence your world view, btw…

    • Sarah

      I will grant there is room for consideration here… I do think we ignore at large some of the scary messages we send our sons with toys marketed towards them (battle! fight! dominate!) as well as unhelpful mixed messages regarding manliness and inherent success, but placing responsibility on ourselves for not feeling sorry enough for a group that is recently experiencing anything less than absolute hero worship? Buy some big girl panties, men.

    • Sarahjane

      This is an excellent piece–I hope you have forwarded it to the NY Times editorial page!

    • Lastango

      You’ve femjacked your own gun-drama — hilarious!

    • alexandra

      I didn’t read your article, but my answer is no.

      I bet you said something more intelligent and subtle than that, though, so I’m gonna scroll back up and read it now.

    • MR

      The highest homicide rate ( those intentionally killed ) is the African-american male homicide rate. Where’s her Empathy here?

    • kj

      Does Wampole actually KNOW any white males? Maybe it’s, like, anecdotal, but I have 3 white brothers and know a shit tonne of white men (what with me being… white…) and none of them have murdered anyone or are falling apart from psychological pressure…….

      • MR

        Yeah, that’s why I tried to re-direct it in my first response. Conspiracy theory is all rhetoric and doesn’t bring back the kids.

    • Count Ringworm

      I’ve noticed a ton of white male bashing since the shooting in Connecticut. Why is that?

    • Rick

      “unearned feelings of anger”


    • Oliver Crangle

      Fuck you

      • 1Jurisdiva

        I would give you my empathy, but really you deserve my sarcasm instead.

      • Oliver Crangle

        Give me as much sarcasm as you want, and then go fuck yourself too.

      • Sue

        Wow. Impressive vocabulary. Your argument is quite profound.

        I know, I know — go f*** myself.

    • Betty

      First her hatred of hipsters and ironic living, now empathy for white men? I think she is either trolling or is in fact an old white man.

    • Rod Van Mechelen

      I’m not young, I’m American Indian, but feminists include me in their diatribes about “angry (White) men.” In the early 1990s Naomi Wolf was at the University of Washington promoting her then-most recent book, she concluded the Q&A session by snidely pointing out that she had not called on any men until the end. Ironically, she had to point it out for any of us men to notice, because for the vast majority of men “male privilege” had long since evaporated. All talk since about “male privilege” is really about the privilege of the 1%. Feminists are not pro-women. If they were, then they would embrace rather than revile women who disagree with them. But they don’t. They are not even truly anti-man, though they employ hatred of men (misandry) as a tool. Feminism is a totalitarian ideology that seeks to destroy and replace family and culture with government and obedience. To this end they create straw men that possess the privileges of the 1% to attack and tear down the 99%. Who benefits from that? The 1%. Thus, feminists are nothing more than finger puppets of the 1%. Yea but, what about “libertarian feminists”? The label is a contradiction in terms. So-called libertarian feminists are just libertarians who try to stave off attacks from feminists by adding the feminist label. Same for “conservative feminists” and even “liberal feminists.” Feminism is fundamentally totalitarian and has nothing to do with gender equality.

      • kj

        Wow, this rant makes Lastango sound coherent by comparison.

        Please, please, tell me more about my own ideology. Please.

      • EvilPundit

        Your own dismissive, hateful, misandrist and content-free posts tell us all we need to know about your ideology.

      • kj

        Calling someone incoherent is not misandrist.

        My posts are “content-free” because I prefer not to waste my time refuting these comments. Clearly someone who thinks that feminism is a “totalitarian ideology” does not have much appreciation for logic or science.

      • Fed_Up18

        Stop projecting.

    • EvilPundit

      I’m white and male, and I never had any privilege to lose.

      However, the constant hatred and bigotry against white males in society, education, the media, and in articles like this, does in fact make me angry.

      If you want to create a lot of angry white males, you’re doing it right.

      • kj

        OMG YES! For example, look at the disproportionate # of white males that are in jail! And the disproportionate # of white males that are murdered on the streets! Truly evidence of a brutal and biased society. Poor, poor white males.

      • Hindo

        Fair treatment is not privilege.

      • EvilPundit

        90% of the people in jail are men, and only 10% are women. That is disproportionate.

        75% of the people murdered on the streets are men, and only 25% are women. That is disproportionate.

        Your examples actually highlight the discrimination against men in our society.

      • kj

        My comment was in reference to race, and the systemic failures that such a racial imbalance implies. They highlight racial discrimination.

      • kj

        My comment was in reference to race, and the systemic failures that such a racial imbalance implies. They highlight racial discrimination.

      • Sue

        Who are the 75% of murder victims killed by? That’s a more important question. The statistics I’ve read say it’s men killing other men; if that’s true, discrimination is hardly the culprit. As for the prison statistics, I know this is anecdotal evidence, but: I grew up in a poor neighborhood with high crime rates and my friends were out there committing crimes. The serious, prison-worthy stuff was generally committed by my male friends (the girls were more likely to shoplift or drink and the boys were more likely to assault someone or actually rob a store with a weapon). Anecdotally, it appears that a difference in criminal psychology might account for the disproportion, not discrimination. Furthermore, as most judges are old, white men, who do you think is carrying out this discrimination? Gender-mixed juries? Seems like any gender bias would more likely result in a hung jury than unjust guilty verdicts to me. For your statistics to have any validity, what you should be questioning is the proportion of crimes reported by perpetrator’s gender versus charges filed versus convictions and how the data compares across gender lines. Just because more males are in prison doesn’t automatically indicate bias or discrimination. It is possible (and sociologists would say much more likely) that more men are in prison because more men are committing violent crimes. If that’s not true, you are going to have to come with more than the number of people in prison to validate that claim.

      • disqus_aAKUqVcVza

        So wait, the murder victims had it coming because they had the same type of genitals as the murderers? Just so we know you’re cool with blaming victims…

      • Fed_Up18

        Wow, way to admit that you have NO facts! Nowhere did Sue say that. At all.

      • Fed_Up18

        Yes, people in jail are always there because they did nothing wrong.

        But I would like to thank you for admitting that men overwhelmingly are actually a problem when compared to women.

      • Maargen


        I was looking through Forbes Magazine when I saw your rant. The two together made me laugh….

      • Fed_Up18

        Fish don’t notice the water, ever, either.

    • Kate

      I completely disagree with the tone of your article Jamie. Sure, we shouldn’t feel sorry for men who have had the privileges and rights that the rest of us should have had all along. But nevertheless, we can’t blame the men of today for the entire course of history. Whilst they do need to go through this readjustment about their place in society, why can’t we feel empathy for those individual men who find the messages about who they are or should be, difficult?
      I’m very pleased that the world (the western world at least) is becoming a more level playing field regardless of race and gender. That’s great. But there is no need to man bash all the time. It seems that we constantly belittle and emasculate men, and there is no need. We can all coexist. Yes, the white male privilege did exist but that doesnt mean all men are evil. A lot of those white privileged males supported the rest of us in being treated as equals in society. I’m not saying that we should be grateful for having equality, or that we should pander to their insecurities. But there is no harm in just acknowledging that the cultural shift can be difficult for both sides and there is no need to take away their power, as long as we have it too.

    • Crazy_O

      First, posting your femenist propaganda on the back of 20 dead children is DISGUSTING. Fuck you.

      So… What privilege?
      Dying in wars? Dying in coal mines? Even today, 1,1 million men die at work every year, more than people die on HIV. But the condition were even worse, imagine being a young man in Europe during 1933-1945, oh the privilege you’ll have watching your friends blow up into pieces infront of you.

      Seriously, you being a male was a positive thing IF you were one of those lucky 0.01% born in the right family. Every other man was just human ressources to spend on building and mining things and die at wars.

    • Seth

      Loss of privilege? I, as a 24 year old middle class white male happen to be the exact demographic you are vilifying here, but have i lost privilege? I don’t think so. In my personal experience, not one time, in my entire life have I ever been told that there was anything good about being male. Not one time was it a forgone conclusion that I would have anything any easier than anyone else. I have, however, encountered in my lifetime a seemingly endless deluge of negativity about my sex. Now this is just my experience but I see the same story from men like me told again and again and again. Why does everything about being male have to be so bad? Why do you have to frame the confusion, lack of purpose, and outright depression that men and young men feel in a world where the idea that men are terrible and saying anything about it is “whining and shut up you overprivileged scum!”, as men that are angry that they are losing something that, frankly, I don’t expect they ever had a chance to have?

      In short, in a world that treats you like the one thing that likely defines you most in childhood and the path to adult hood is treated like an incurable disease, and having that disease means you don’t deserve anything better than absolute indifference and offhand cruelty, you don’t really have much to look forward to. I think its inhuman to not have empathy for someone treated like that. I also think that not being willing to entertain the notion that maybe people that are treated that way actually exist is kind of inhuman too.

      • Maargen

        “In short, in a world that treats you like the one thing that likely defines you most in childhood and the path to adult hood is treated like an incurable disease, and having that disease means you don’t deserve anything better than absolute indifference and offhand cruelty, you don’t really have much to look forward to. I think its inhuman to not have empathy for someone treated like that. I also think that not being willing to entertain the notion that maybe people that are treated that way actually exist is kind of inhuman too.”

        I guess here you’re talking about the experience of Black people in America. Have you always been this empathetic to their plight, or is this a new thing?

      • Seth

        This is the exact thing I’m talking about. By marginalizing an entire group of people, ignoring any issues they have by saying “someone somewhere or some other group of people had it worse”, you are causing the exact thing you are trying to ignore. When the issue is “why are young white men snapping and killing people”, the best way to address it is not to ignore it, but to look at what that group of people is facing. Treat the cause and you treat the symptoms.

      • Maargen

        Seth, you don’t know me, so you don’t know my reaction to what I see happening to White America these days. I am the one liberal among my friends that can see that Tea Party anger is a natural backlash to real and perceived loss of power, and I’ve been preaching that for years.
        Also, I think to blame these shootings on “young white men snapping and killing people” is incredibly unfair to young white males – they are NOT snapping and killing people. Individuals who are facing their own demons lash out in murderous ways for their own different reasons – that doesn’t call for maligning a whole demographic. If we’re going to profile people in hopes of preventing these occurences in the future (if prevention is at all possible) then they need to be profiled by behavioural cues, not by their gender, race, age, etc…

        I asked my question because White males are increasingly facing the same conditions they imposed on other groups since…well…forever, yet the discussions I read and hear aren’t about empathy for everyone – they’re about empathy for the White male. I have empathy for the White male ALSO, but I still do not see many White males making the connection between how they’re being affected and how they have always treated others.

        I don’t know you, so I asked you the question in good faith: Black men in America have ALWAYS suffered the exact conditions you describe in your last paragraph. TO THE “T”. They haven’t been met with much empathy – they’re met with fear, they’re imprisoned, and any words of protest are derided as “playing the race card” or “playing the victim”. What I’m asking is – what did you ever say or think about that?? What empathy have you shown? White men are asking for empathy now, but how much have they shown to others in the past? Can they only see their own (relatively new) plight, or can they feel for the long-suffered plight of others as well?

      • Seth

        To suggest that white men have no empathy for other groups is sort of absurd. Every piece of legislature ever passed in favor of any minority group, women, african american, ANY group, was passed in majority, by white men. Having empathy to the plight of others is part of being Human. Endorsing the continuance of the conditions I mentioned is Wrong. WRONG, in all caps for serious wrong, on cultural and individual levels, for any group of people. This is known to be true and yes there are still things to be addressed. Its not so much about asking for empathy. The empathy should flow naturally as empathy should for people who are hurting. But it doesn’t, if you belong to a certain group. Men, and hell not just white men but ALL men. As a man I’m not asking for empathy, our culture demands that I not even think of it, I’m asking to be acknowledged as part of a group of people, asking that in fact that group be acknowledged as people. A group of people who shouldn’t be wronged, as it is known they shouldn’t, for being part of that group. Asking to be shown more than indifference or hatred for once. Maybe even asking for this group to be accepted, not as what they represent, but who they are, that they have issues of their own, and a need to be helped. And maybe, just maybe, we could, as a people united, save the lives of lost young boys, and save the lives of their innocent victims. That’s what I’m asking for.

      • Maargen

        First of all, I’m going to say that I am not reading your words as belligerent, angry, or argumentative. One issue with written words is that much of the tone is supplied by the reader, and don’t reflect the state of mind of the writer. So if you’re in figthing mode, I’m not picking up on that, maybe because I myself am not in fighting mode. I certainly hope you won’t take my words that way.

        Secondly, I’m not lumping you into a monlithic group. I consider you as an individual, as is Adam Lanza. The actions and words of either of you shouldn’t be taken to represent the point of view of any group, and while your positions may be reflected in the main stream, Lanza’s actions were certainly NOT representative of young White males, or anyone other than Adam Lanza. I don’t see why “young white males”, or even gun owners, are being tarred with a brush over this.

        Since I don’t see people as parts of monolithic groups, I don’t see how I can suggest that White men have no empathy for others. Which White men are we talking about? It is very, very, true that many White men have plenty of empathy, just as it is true that MANY.DO.NOT.

        I will also say that there has never been a “piece of legislature ever passed in favor of any minority group, women, african american, ANY group”. Legislature abolishing slavery was not passed IN FAVOR of Black people. It was passed to end injustice. With a humane level of empathy among the White men who instituted the practice, THERE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ANY SLAVERY TO BEGIN WITH.

        Repeal of Jim Crow laws? The same. If a humane level of empathy among Whites had been more widespread, those laws would never have been in effect.

        Legislation giving women the right vote was not legislation IN FAVOR of women. It was ending an unfair disenfrancisement that, had the White men who instituted the practice had a humane level of empathy, would never have happened to begin with.

        Right now we STILL do not have a level playing field: here’s what Blacks face in getting loans for home ownership, for instance:

        Here’s what women face in the job market, for instance:

        Wide-spread empathy among White males would make laws regarding these issues unecessary, btw. White males with little empathy created unfair conditions for others that apparently only the threat of law can make them correct, and they very much resent the laws.

        What White males are bemoaning today is the erosion of their unfair advantages. More and more they won’t automatically be chosen for the job over a woman, or over an African-American, simply for being White. They now have to compete with members of other groups as well as their own. The prospect of fair competition makes them very, very upset.

        My question is to you, about YOU. I have asked it a few times now, and you have yet to answer it. How much do you care about the difficulties that other groups have been facing? I have empathy for anyone facing systematic difficulties, be they White, Black, male, female, straight, gay. I have been on other sites denouncing the maligning of the “angry white male” in connection with this shooting. How much empathy have YOU shown for other groups? Have you previously posted entries on sites asking that Black men, or maybe gays, or welfare mothers “be shown more than indifference or hatred for once”? How much have you thought about their plight? Have you spoken up asking for care and consideration for those other groups?

        Or only for the group you’re in?

      • EvilPundit

        Why should Seth answer to you, when you’re so determined to hate him because of his group?

        You’re the bigot here.

      • Sue

        Asking a pointed question is not the same as hating someone. Seth entered the fray when he commented on the blog, and Maargen went out of her way to explain that she realizes tone is supplied by the reader (which incidentally might be relevant as you read here) and to attenmpt to set the tone of her comment as expository, not inflammatory. If you have specific concerns with specific statements in her argument perhaps you would care to point them out, specifically.

      • DreaTheGreat

        We are still waiting for you to answer that last paragraph where Sue FLOORED your sad attempt at masking a statistic as proof of your righteous indignation.

      • Fed_Up18

        “Every piece of legislature ever passed in favor of any minority group,
        women, african american, ANY group, was passed in majority, by white

        And yet you still need to have it pointed out to you that white men are privileged.

        You just outlined how all these groups have whatever rights they have because WHITE MEN GAVE THEM it to them.

        How much more “recognition as people” do you want to have, other than MOST OF THE POWER ON THE PLANET?

      • Fed_Up18

        And what if the answer is “we need to raise white men the same way we do everyone else, so they won’t expect a privilege that they shouldn’t have”? Will you be glad that someone has addressed this problem correctly?

      • EvilPundit

        And right on cue, another little spew of hatred against white men.

        You’ve nicely illustrated Seth’s point.

      • Maargen

        What words of mine reflect hatred of White men? Or is it that anything other than “White men are great!” is automatically hatred? Did I say White men should NOT get empathy?

        I asked a simple question: have the White men who are complaining about “hatred of White men” shown much empathy torwards others? And since you can’t speak for all White men, and neither can Seth, I am asking each of you specifically – have YOU thought much about what other groups go through, or do you only care about White men? When you hear Rush Limbaugh complain about how White men are treated, do you ever wonder about how much he cares about how women are treated, or Blacks? Or does he only care about how White men are treated?

        Do you think White men should get as much empathy as they’ve shown others? How is asking questions the same as “hate”?? I guess if I ask if Israel is fair to Palestinians, I’m automatically an anti-semite?? Or is playing the victim a way of avoiding thinking about the questions I’m asking?

      • EvilPundit

        The topic of this post is empathy for white men. The fact that you’ve immediately derailed it by trying to make it about something else, is a reflection of your hatred.

        You can’t even consider the possibility of treating white men as human beings. This is the depth of your bigotry.

      • Maargen

        I notice you don’t actually respond directly to anything I say.

        1. I already asked you to point out which words of mine expressed hatred for White men. When SETH indicts a whole demographic with the question “why are young white men lashing out and killing people?” and I say that’s bullshit, “young White men” are doing no such thing, these are the actions of a few disturbed people, is THAT what you’re taking for ME showing hate??

        2. In what way am I not considering the possibility of treating White males as human beings??

        I’m not interested in your biased interpretations based on ignoring what I actually said and responding to things I never said or thought. BE SPECIFIC and show me 1. where I expressed hate, and 2. how I advocate not treating white males as human beings?

      • Sue

        Nobody is arguing against having empathy for white men when white men suffer an injustice. Certainly nobody is arguing against treating white men like human beings. But you can’t have it both ways; either white men have no privilege, in which case the empathy for loss of privilege that the NYT writer was calling for is not necessary, or else they do/did have privilege, in which case, empathy for the loss of something that was never rightfully theirs is not really called for. Vilification of men (white or otherwise) is not appropriate, but sympathetic hand-holding as over-privileged members of society learn to come to terms with the rightful balancing of the scales is not only not called for, it is actually not helpful, as it reinforces the idea that unfair privilege is something to mourn for.

      • EvilPundit

        You’re missing out on the third possibility, which also happens to be the reality: It’s women who have privilege in liberal democracies such as the United States. men are discriminated against in law, education and the media.

        Men are not upset by the imaginary loss of some “privilege” they never had in the first place. Men are upset by the increasing discrimination against them in a society that is supposed to be equal.

      • Fed_Up18

        Ok, I get it now. We’re being trolled. Ok; you win – good job.

      • Fed_Up18

        No, the topic is that the writer thinks that maybe we should have empathy for white men because they’ll start killing us in greater numbers if we don’t. DISAGREEING with this is NOT DERAILING it. Thank you *AGAIN* for proving why the author is incorrect: coddling you does NOT WORK, it only REINFORCES the problem.

        I would LOVE to be treated as your definition of a “human being”: have all my feelings considered first & foremost in society, on pain of possible murder spree.

      • Fed_Up18

        &, right on cue, someone exemplifying her point. If all it takes to be marked as “hating white men” is to remark “how much worse black people (not even men)” have it, then, bravo, you have proven her point.

    • dejour

      Well, you’re right that her concerned is misplaced. Losing privilege is not a reason for empathy.

      But really, I reject the notion that lost privilege is the issue here.

      Rather I suspect that the problems are:

      - males are more likely to be violent and this has been the case for a long time
      - many or most of these males had mental illness
      - many or most of these men were socially rejected and isolated (Kimmel’s paper suggested that many were mocked as “fags” by much of their schools)
      - admitting weakness goes against male gender roles so when things get tough, boys are less likely to reach out than girls and more likely to self-isolate and stew in their anger. Likewise, parents and teachers are more likely to reach out to a young girl than a young boy.

      So I do suggest that increased empathy is a solution. Anti-bullying campaigns. Helping to make sure that all students have an adequate social network. Changing gender norms so that males that need help don’t suffer social stigma when they ask for it.

      • dejour

        Just wanted to add that I’m not convinced that whiteness has much to do with the shootings. Maleness – yes.

        But check this list of shootings:

        Jeong Soo Paek,One L. Goh,Eduardo Sencion,Omar S. Thornton,Maurice Clemmons,Jiverly Wong,Nidal Malik Hasan,Sulejman Talovia‡,Seung-Hui Cho,Jeffrey Weise,Byran Koji Uyesugi,Arturo Reyes Torres,Gang Lu,James Edward Pough,Abdelkrim Belachheb

        Now I didn’t check out every name – there may be a white guy on that list, but over the past 30 years whites were about 80% of the country. Is it clear that whites make up a whole lot more than 80% of the mass murderers? Even if it is somewhat over 80% it could just be random noise.

        If whites aren’t more likely to commit mass murders than other races it makes it difficult to pin the problem on “lost privilege”

    • Declan Davies

      This is some of the most assinine, college newspaper-level drivel I have read in a long time.

      If you use the word “maleness,” you’re a dickhead. Pure and simple.

      By the way, Lizzie Borden was angry at having her 19th century Bourgeois female privileges taken away.

    • bullshitdebunker

      Black men kidnapped eh? They were sold by their own people. More propagation of that nonsensical myth that white people went over there with nets and actually captured slaves to bring to the States.

      • Fed_Up18

        Because that makes the rest of it ok, then.

    • Ivan

      This is probably the most disgusting crap I have ever read. Author is profoundly disturbed. How can anyone in a right mind use a tragedy to push racist, sexist agenda?! How does a hateful individual like that gets published?! This is hate speech, nothing more.

    • drunicusrex

      Don’t be terribly surprised if, after decades of being slandered, discriminated against in the form of “affirmative action,” stripped of all parental and reproductive rights, and being legally disadvantaged in every possible way, these “privileged white men” – the people who grow things, build stuff, fight wars, fight fires, invent;design/engineer virtually every physical object – don’t be too surprised if we start taking things back.
      I for one am mighty sick of feminism’s bigoted, nasty, man-hating bullshit.

    • Nick

      The comments on this article…what even? Nobody on here is participating in ‘man-hatred’. What I do see is a lot of blaming feminism for the problems of males. Goodness, I sincerely apologize for advocating for gender equality. Clearly my need for this is causing too much distress on male society. Because the gender limitations of the past didn’t create issues for gay/trans/straight men…none at all. Pffft

    • Brutalisk

      Playing the victim card lends you no credibility.

    • The Haunty Master

      Isn’t it great to be able to talk in such broad gulfs of generalization and blame all the problems we’re facing today on a scapegoat-demographic!

      Why, didn’t Hitler do the same thing with Jews around 80-some years ago?

    • JohnFHudson

      This incident has nothing to do with “affirmative” action or any other legitimate cause for anger among white and asian males. It is about one mentally ill young adult who found out that his mother was planning to have him confined to a mental institution against his will and decided he might as well get even because he knew he could not stop it..

    • Nick

      Dear author;

      I can describe this blog entry as a few different things: juvenile, facile, simplistic, appallingly ignorant, factually wrong, needlessly malicious, smug; to name but a few.

      But what stands out the most is this: your egotism. You decry of the “privilege” of cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied white men; you imply (almost explicitly so) that because of this “privilege”, this category of people are worthy of contempt and treatment as animals less than human. Because they have oppressed people, and in your mind, still do today. And you have the ego to turn around and say that only you and certain classes of people deserve to be seen as fully human, and therefore the only ones worthy of dignity and consideration?

      Let me make something clear to you: fundamentally you are a hypocrite to condemn privilege. Believe it or not, the mere fact that you can liberally classify people as this or that, declare that “privilege” is society’s worst problem and white men are its sole benefactors, is a testament to the monumental achievements of Western Civilization. It is a testament to the luxuries, comforts, and legal protections that have been afforded to you by ALL people who worked to build the West. White people and black people, men and women, gay and straight. You live in the most advanced, most powerful, and most protected civilization the world has ever seen. And after all the hard work that has ever been done to strive for equal protection and equal treatment thus far, you have the arrogance to condemn an entire group of people? I’m tempted to believe this was intended to be ironic, but I’m faced with the reality of the large number of people who actually believe this sort of rhetoric.

      I do not believe in a god, most especially the god of feminism called “Patriarchy”. Third wave feminists have invented an unfalsifiable, unnamed and faceless criminal syndicate that mysteriously prevents (and always has prevented) anyone but cis-gendered, straight, white men from getting anywhere in life; most especially oppressed are of course feminists (apparently). This redefined notion of patriarchy is used today to justify any and all things social justice warriors say and do. You epitomize the hatred and inhumanity of modern feminism. If your idea of equality is contingent on the demonization of other people; then you do not believe in equality, you believe in dehumanizing others to improve your lot in life.

      I wonder how many tired, disheveled, male (of any ethnicity) construction workers you’ve walked by and never noticed. I wonder how many homeless men you have shunned. I wonder if you’re entirely blind to male truckers. I doubt you care at all for men who suffer depression (among other mental illnesses) and commit suicide, which is astounding because they’re majority of suicides. I would imagine that you can’t see any of them, since you are so entrenched in your absolutist views on male privilege. Your ideological devotion to the concept has allowed you to effectively further marginalize people already forgotten by our society. I suppose they’re inconvenient to you, these real people who have no privilege and who run counter to your worldview. I’m curious, would you walk up to them and lecture them about their unfair advantage in life? If you did, what would you say?

      People who go on killing sprees don’t deserve empathy as murderers, even if they aren’t white (see the VTech shooter, Boston Marathon bombers, Beltway Snipers, Hasan Nadal, etc). But the ones who were mentally ill deserved our sympathy before they publicly lashed out with guns. They deserved our sympathy during the time they could have been reached and treated. Our lack of empathy for the mentally ill (all of them), is what drives a handful to homicidal extremes. People like you, who turn every issue into the oppression olympics, make it impossible for the mentally ill (and not incidentally, the poor and the downtrodden in general as well) to ask for help and to get that help. Your lack of empathy, coupled with the overall lack of empathy in our society, is ultimately what fuels the problem of shooter sprees. You don’t care, and their skin color and gender and sexual orientation makes you care even less.

      The Newtown massacre was not about a white man or his “privilege”. It was not about your gender and your skin color and your social status. It was not about your imagined oppression. It was about a young man who lost his mind and slaughtered children. It was because he could not ask for help and because our society cannot seem to figure out how to help people like him. Our society can’t decide how to get gun violence under control, and how to effectively protect our schools. Our society apparently can’t even think about it, lest we forget the race and gender for any reason.

      You are not oppressed. You are not marginalized. None of the people who oppressed any of our ancestors are alive today to give offense. None of those oppressed people are alive today to take offense. You live in the most affluent and powerful society to ever exist on Earth. You stand on top of the hard work and the intelligence of others as you proselytize from your laptop about the evils of privilege. You accept and propegate a ridiculous all-totalizing theory of society that forgets real people in order to tear down something that does not exist. And you don’t even realize the harm you do in doing this.

      I can’t be brought to hate you or people like you anymore. All I feel for you is pity. You’re a narrow-minded and bigoted ideologue who will never understand the real world outside of your own little sphere. You’re an ignorant and petty little person, with little regard for other people. I feel sorry for you. It’s a shame that you’ll have only the most limited scope of human experience. It’s a shame you’ll never leave your own little bubble.

      I doubt you’ll see this or read if you do, and I doubt it would do anything more than annoy you. All the same, I hope you eventually get past your absolutist views and see the error in what you do.

      All the best.