WHY IS THE WHITE MALE SUPREMACIST SO ANGRY?: Lessons to be Learned from Charlottesville

It’s hard for most African-Americans to understand the existence of angry white males. This difficulty only increases with the realization that white men have historically held every advantage in this democratic nation. There is little room to debate that white males have historically been American industrial leaders preferred worker population. White males’ historical favored status leads most to question why he is currently behaving as if he has existed under a yoke of oppression that has been reserved for blacks for the past four centuries.

The genesis of white male anxiety and public expressions of anger is closely associated with increasing concerns regarding an evaporating privileged status. When one listens to the rhetoric being spewed by white supremacist leaders, the fear associated with white males’ expiring socioeconomic privileges is palpable. Predictably, for the vast majority of white men, the loss of their privileged position feels like they have fallen under the yoke of oppression.

Although most Americans consider any argument that paints the white male as an oppressed population, foolhardy; such a reaction does a severe disservice to the genuine socioeconomic issues facing white males. Nearly every discussion revolving around the angry white male conflates this highly diverse population into a monolithic group with a similar background (highly-educated, entrepreneurial, politically savvy, and financially prosperous) and singular goals (white world supremacy). Nothing could be further from the truth as the white male population is as diverse as any other American population with varying levels of educational achievement, occupational skill, and politicization. Such matters are critical to understanding the angry white male who assembled in Charlottesville, Virginia, in a desperate attempt to re-establish their ownership of America and inform all that they were prepared to resist every attempt to push them from center stage.

While most dismiss the antics of the angry white males such as those in Charlottesville who have found both brethren and a political voice within white supremacy groups, it is a phenomenon that must be noted and addressed by the nation. The angst of poorly educated and financially marginalized angry white males is understandable if one understands the flawed historical analysis that it rests on.

Make no mistake about it, the white male angst displayed in Charlottesville is directly attributable to a fallacious reading of American history. This reading of history places the white man as the central protagonist in every historical event; hence, it is not a quantum leap to expect those who have been indoctrinated with such information to believe that they are supposed to not only dictate what occurs in America but also reap the most significant politico-economic rewards from those events.

Political protests like Charlottesville communicates an obvious anger by white males at the realization that the world has shifted in a manner that their standing dinner reservation that has historically allowed them to skip to the front of a crowded line of groups grasping for politico power and economic resources has been canceled. It appears that a few white males finally understand that class has superseded race in American economic matters.

Unfortunately for angry white males, the realization that class concerns matter more than race has not led them to abandon the failed strategies of their economically marginalized ancestors who attacked other poor groups and not the elite as they sought to be the richest of the American poor. I am certain that it is painful for white supremacists to admit that they have been exploited by the white elites; figures such as Carnegie, Rockefeller, Gompers, and Trump.

This historical record indicates that elite whites have exploited poor and working-class whites whose only comfort was found in their superiority to blacks. Remarkably, the vast majority of poor and working-class whites fail to realize that their only escape form poverty in inextricably tied to other poor populations. Ironically, in a nation fixated on race, the solution to white workers plight is an accentuation on class.

It is truly a peculiar situation to watch angry white males avoid challenging white elites, their actual oppressors, and doom themselves to an endless struggle against other poor groups for the few crumbs that fall from the table of prosperity.

One can only wonder how long angry white males will continue to cower in the face of an American elite class and attack other poor groups who hold the key to their escape from economic exploitation. Although I am confident that this reality is excruciatingly painful for angry white males to accept, their oppressor looks just like them; he is white and male.

To the chagrin of angry white males, their oppressor is solely motivated by financial realities, not petty racial matters. It is the alluded to concern with financial power that has facilitated poor and working-class white males loss of favored worker status in the U.S. labor market. The cause of white male anger has little to do with a statue of Robert E. Lee and everything to do with the unavoidable reality that they are no longer the favored worker class in America. It is with this realization that I am requesting angry white males to stop blaming African-Americans for your economic decline, you know that we have no say in that matter, and turn your full-attention toward the elite (such as Donald Trump) whose pursuit of a dollar has placed you in this tenuous predicament. Whether you want to accept it or not, white elites could not care less who they exploit as long as it is hugely profitable.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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