The Enduring Destructive Legacy of Whiteness
On February 14, 2018, America was left reeling from another bout of Whiteness based rage, yet again.
Nikolas Cruz’s bullets ripped through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. This tragic incident made the 19th school shooting to happen in the short 45 days of the new year.
Whiteness and Mass Shootings
“School Shooting” is just another sub-heading for mass shootings in America and most mass shootings in this country have two things in common: 1) white and 2) male perpetrators but whiteness seems to be the real cornerstone.
We slough thorough information trying to find reason in the unreasonable. What we see at the core of these senseless acts is a belief that these people feel they are being denied something that they are entitled to and in America, for the white male, that encompasses EVERYTHING; form dominion over the entire country to the bodies of every other individual.
White children have been miseducated about their importance to the world for centuries, and the world has suffered dearly for it. Whiteness creates a callousness to Other because from the onset Other has never been as deserving as and must always defer to Whiteness.
The Advent of Whiteness
During the expansion of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, a hierarchy of social standing was set up to protect the small number of slaveholding whites. Whiteness was created by the elite as a caste system and used as a psychological tool to give poor whites the illusion of independence and superiority.
Racism, from slavery to the School to Prison Pipeline of today, has always been an economic issue but the enduring psychological effect has been the perception of the inherent entitlement of whiteness.
The Core Beliefs of Whiteness
What began as a means of literal and psychological survival has morphed into a destructive mindset of the necessity of unchallenged authority. No one wants to live in squalor or poverty and desperation to stay above the melee that comes along with the struggle for the remaining resources —brought on by an elite society that creates false scarcity, caused people to grasp for any leg up they could use. And for poor whites, the salve of whiteness was and continues to be irresistible and problematic for everyone.
Everything becomes a tool of control when framed by the belief of the inherent superiority, goodness, and perfection that comes with the cloak of Whiteness. When society tells you that your skin color alone is proof of your place on a pedestal of superiority, then anything that challenges that becomes your enemy. Protecting that illusion remains an act of survival. In survival mode, the Enemy Other must be kept in their proper place at best or irradicated at worst.
Dangerous Feelings of Entitlement
Whiteness is a mindset that is illusionary, childishly simplistic, and lacks any basis in reality. It only serves to feed the ego of those who subscribe to its tenets, a house of cards that reacts with extreme volatility whenever challenged. Entitlement unchecked has been allowed to flourish to the point that no one in America —not even white children, are safe from its disastrous consequences.
Black children, Native American children, any children of the Enemy Other have never been spared the cruelty and horror of Whiteness. But you would think that white children would be especially protected as the future of Whiteness. But Whiteness is a voracious monster that devours everything in its path. Within Whiteness there is yet another hierarchical caste system in place; gender, wealth, religion or lack thereof, sexual orientation, and physical appearance to name a few. This caste system exists because the myth of whiteness was never intended to truly elevate white people as a whole it was just a set of rungs devised to keep the elite as separate from everyone else for as long as possible as they hoard wealth and resources.
Here Enters White Rage
After being fed a steady diet of one’s superiority from birth, after following all the rules to success, one finds them self-confused and angry that membership into the exclusive ranks of the 1% has been denied.
So the search for reasons why begins. The 1% is always prepared for this moment; they will tell struggling white people that apparently they are deserving and that the savagery of the Native American is to blame, so the massacre of nations was tolerated as a necessity. The elite will tell struggling white people the lack of civility and the laziness of African American slaves are to blame and so the inhuman acts of human chattel slavery were tolerated as a necessity. The elite will tell struggling white people that dangerous swarthy foreigners taking jobs that “should” be theirs are to blame and xenophobia is tolerated as a necessity. Whiteness demands what it feels it is due by any means necessary. But that mindset, once internalized, is challenging to divest from. Whiteness becomes an individual identity. When Whiteness is the basis of your being, then one starts to feel entitled as an individual.
We have all seen videos of Whiteness Meltdowns in department stores, coffee shops, airports and any other number of places. But the sense of entitlement doesn’t start at the onset of adulthood; it begins at home and in school.
Whiteness and School Shootings
School shootings in America have almost always been the domain of angry white boys who society has ingrained
with the belief they deserve better, they deserve more, but they have become disenchanted with the dismal outlook of the status quo. But because of racism and the homogeneity of their peer group in their schools, their victims tend to be white. The beast has begun to ardently devour itself.
Whiteness and How to Cure It
Undoubtedly, someone will read this and whine “Why do you make everything about race?!”
This country was built on racial identity; I’m not the one who made it about race. But the tree of racism is bearing all its fruits. We see it everywhere as we watch Neo-Nazis rising-up and “going mainstream,” as ICE agents are storming schools and hospitals to quiet the wails of “get illegals out of our country!”, as cops continue to gun down innocent, unarmed black citizens, as hate crimes rise; we need to find the core reason why such division and hate persists.
We must look at what we are teaching our children, particularly white children. Until we fully invest in a comprehensive, diversified, equal opportunity education, we can expect to see more and more “lone wolf” shootings. Until we create a level playing field not just in educational opportunity but also in what is shared in educational instruction, we will continue to manufacture Entitled Whiteness that can only be sated with blood and leave all of our communities heartbroken and decimated.