Paranoia and “Angry White Men”
by L. Arthalia Cravin
Every Friday night one of the PBS stations in Denver features a round table talk program called, “Colorado State of Mind.” Each week the host selects a different topic that presumably if of some interest to Colorado listeners. This past week the topic was about Ward Connerly’s recent garnering of (probably enough) signatures to get a Colorado version of California’s Proposition 209 put on the November ballot. The Colorado initiative would be called Proposition 31 and is designed to allow voters to decide if there should be any “racial preferences” with regards to jobs, contracts, promotions, etc. During the show one Anglo woman described the Colorado initiative as the work of “the angry white man.”
There is another “angry white man” who is a regular commentator on the Sunday morning batch of round table talk shows. He is name is George Will who regularly appears on “This Week” with George Stepanapolous. Will’s background is that of a Princeton and Oxford educated “lover of Ronald Reagan” conservative. During this past Sunday’s show—the lead topic of course, was “race in America” and Obama’s pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Before Will responded to the question of whether Obama’s speech tempered the controversy over Dr. Wright’s comments, the show ran a clip of Rush Limbaugh in a tirade labeling Dr. Wright as an anti-American demagogue. When Will spoke he picked up Limbaugh’s theme stating that Dr. Wright’s comments suggesting or explicitly stating that there was a collusive genocidal scheme to annihilate African Americans was evidence of extreme paranoia. Well if that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black.
I have watched and listened to George Will on numerous occasions. He is the epitome of elitist intellectual arrogance. When Obama first announced his candidacy, on the question of whether race would be an impediment, Will said something to the effect that with regard to all African Americans the issue is not race “but culture.” During his remarks about Dr. Wright, Will’s demeanor was the most abrasive and hostile that I have ever witnessed for a “talking head.” One had only to notice that but for his locked-jawed reserve that he would have morphed into a George Wallace type speech, “segregation now, segregation forever.” Watching George Will, even the late Ray Charles could see that Will is one paranoid, “angry white man.” My question is this: What are white men so angry about? For the life of me I cannot find a reasonable or rational basis for the anger of a whole historical collective of men who have been the biggest violators of human rights in the history of mankind. Yet these same angry men hold all the economic and political power. Why are they so angry and who are they angry with? Are they angry with Tiger Woods for climbing to the top in the once exclusive white-man’s kingdom of golf? Are they angry with Oprah for becoming a household word? Are they angry with Denzel Washington for being one morally, upright, handsome man? Are they still angry with the late Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. for daring to speak out against racial injustice? Who are white men angry with? Or are they paranoid—so much so that when they see one successful African American out of 29 million that they somehow feel an onslaught-and thereby feel threatened in some way?
As for the “racial preferences” group of angry white men, I ask you, wherever you are, go into any workplace and count the number of non Anglo employees who have positions of power and high pay. Start with the Fortune 500 companies and work your way down to the people employed in any workplace, public and private, large and small from city hall to the local trash removal service, now tally up who has all the top jobs, who is getting the top pay, and the percent of African Americans in these workplaces. Look at television and movies, who are the top execs, behind the camera, in front of the camera and most of the extra-where are the peoples of color? Now walk through any neighborhood in America and tell me who lives in row after row of nice homes and who is living in poverty or begging for a dime on the street corner? Given this scenario in city after city across America, what are white men angry about? Are they angry that white women are openly dating and black men marrying? If so, read any history book about how many offspring white men sired with black slave women—and then abandoned them to that God awful institution of slavery. Never mind that maybe not every white male had a direct ancestor who owned slaves, we’re talking about a “collective” bunch—isn’t that the target of white men’s anger– toward a collective African American? If that is too tough to handle, take a look at the truth about politics and race in America and find me one instance, just one, where the politics of the southern mentality did not delay or corrupt any effort to address the legacy of wrongs perpetuated by mostly white men against African Americans. Find me one example in all of American history where African Americans have received the same treatment as white males—in any arena. Except for that brief period when only propertied white males could vote, there is not one example of white men being discriminated against as a group. Name one white male who could not go to a public library, public park, or public or private university-qualified or not. Name one white male who was openly and consistently denied the right to work, to eat, or the right to be educated just because of his skin color? Name one white male whose house was bombed for learning to read or organizing to register to vote. Name one. Pick one white male and backtrack his ancestry to his arrival on American soil and find me one instance where in each generation every conceivable obstacle was put in place to assure his oppression. Find me just one example. You cannot, yet white men have the audacity to be angry. I can only wonder what sickness lies deep within their collective souls that accounts for their anger. If white men are angry, then the rest of humanity should be mad as hell with white men for being angry. Or, are white men just paranoid?
© Copyright 2008 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.