Welcome to America, home of complimentary bullet-proof vests for malevolent white men after they’ve killed people historically left unprotected. The land of the weekly minority casualty. White men are the only people in America who get to lethally take their problems, their lustful desires, their mediocrity, and their fears out on others, often without due consequence. It’s a privilege the rest of us minorities will never have.
Men like Dylann Roof, Nikolas Cruz, Devon Erickson, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, James William Wilson, Jr., Stephen Paddock, receive the benefit of the doubt—especially when there isn’t a shadow of a doubt. It doesn’t matter if the crime is a school shooting or a massage parlor massacre, these men are consistently brought in alive and unharmed. No other civilized country on Earth has a mass murderer problem like America.
It’s the same story every time.
We need to ask ourselves, how civilized are we if the majority demographic of our population can walk into our public spaces, even the nation’s Capitol, and kill people because things didn't go their way or because they feel other racial/ethnic groups shouldn’t have the same privileges America has historically extended exclusively to them.
Recently, a terrorist with white supremacist ties killed eight people at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area. When Robert Aaron Long, the alleged killer, was arrested he reportedly told the sheriff’s deputy he was having a bad day. Imagine the type of day his victims had.
It’s the same story every time. White men kill, and lawmen make excuses for the killers because they identify with them.
“He had some mental health issues.”
“He had family problems.”
“His parents kicked him out of the house.”
“He and his girlfriend broke up.”
“He lost his job.”
“He hated his supervisor.”
“People picked on him.”
“He was angry.”
“He was upset about losing his status.”
These killers are pardoned despite lacking the emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-control to moderate their behavior. White supremacy's license to kill, holdovers from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and Jim Crow laws, is the reason many police don’t give a second thought about shooting Black and Brown people, even when we’re in our own homes eating ice cream.
White men and their violence are a recurring theme in American history. From slaughtering Native Americans to raping, killing, and pillaging Black bodies during the Civil War and the Tulsa Race Massacre, to lynching Black bodies during Jim Crow, to detaining and raping Brown children, even to the most recent Insurrection. White men have always been the most violent population in America yet the least policed.
How the Media Helps White Men Who Have Bad Days
In the coming days and weeks, we’ll hear yet another line of sob stories about another white killer who couldn’t accept the fact that he's fallen from privilege to the bottom of America’s social totem pole with us Black folks. The killer likely learned his privilege was fake. He wasn’t invincible. He had no superpowers. He got himself in a rut and discovered those bootstraps white men love to offer us don’t exist. But instead of working on himself, the killer chose to take his frustrations with life out on others.
The media plays a huge role in crafting the imagery of white men in police custody. For every white male terrorist, there is a journalist waiting in the wings to pretty up their public image. Media outlets help to humanize the inhumane by trotting out sympathetic mug shots, compelling stories about his family woes or his struggle with mental illness.
A bad day for white terrorists can get better pretty quickly after they’ve done the inhumane.
Journalists are eager to tell us a biased story that the terrorist act was a one-off, a departure from the norm that no one saw coming. This further reinforces the myth of the lone wolf or lost soul living among us who was simply having a bad day. White men not only have the privilege of terrorizing us, but they also know that after they have their bad day, there is an entire system ready to support them.
A bad day for white terrorists can get better pretty quickly after they’ve done the inhumane. When having bad days, these perpetrators are rewarded with bulletproof vests, trips through fast-food drive-thrus after their murderous crime sprees. Perks such as free twenty-four-hour personal relations media consulting from both the police and the free press, GoFundMe campaigns to help raise millions of dollars for their bonds and bails, and even lighter sentences from white judges who worry about the well-being and future of the guilty parties.
There really is no incentive for white men to stop terrorizing People of Color or even white women. The system is designed to protect and coddle their racism and unfounded fears. It’s exhausting watching it all play out again and again.
How Do We Fix This?
White supremacy must be dismantled in America to make the entire world much safer for everyone. America needs a judiciary more representative of the country for the sentencing of white parties that is more in line with the recommended guidelines, instead of lower sentences.
Predominantly white juries consistently find police officers and white men not guilty or look for lesser charges because they feel connected to whiteness instead of humanity. Too many times white detectives perform shoddy police work to ensure nothing comes of a case with white perpetrators. White prosecutors are the ones who determine if crimes committed against Black and Brown people are indeed hate crimes, and oft-times they do not. Politicians with a pro-supremacist agenda get to decide who can and who cannot vote, and the five white male justices of the nine on the Supreme Court enable them.
To add further insult to injury, white men who make laws that penalize Black and Brown communities for problems that white men created get to go on to become president. White politicians make the laws in this country that allow white men to buy guns made for wars and battlefields and make the laws used to legislate hate. White men decide to go to war in Black and Brown nations, but send our own Black and Brown young men into harm’s way, to fight people they don’t know, for a democracy we don’t have.
We’re on our way to becoming a majority-minority nation. America’s apartheid is bad for humanity and must end. White men having bad days and getting a pass must be checked. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as good white people, must continue t0 fight to achieve the democracy America has long promised but never delivered.
While I no longer partake in religious practices, I love some of the scriptures of the Bible. There are so many practical lessons for us to take away, like this one, which predicted what’s happening in the world at this moment:
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
—2 Timothy 3:1-5 (English Standard Version)
These things don’t happen to us in a vacuum. This nightmare will only end by choosing racial equity over white supremacy. How we raise our children, the way we see each other, the leaders we elect, the people we choose to follow, the types of social safety nets we have as a civilized society, the rights are fighting for, and the laws created to govern over us—all matter.
When white men have bad days, we all lose.