Now Read Rebecca Traister’s Piece on Why We Humanize Fucking White Men Who Kill People

Read this: Why Do We Humanize White Guys Who Kill People? by Rebecca Traister.

To be sure, white men may be charged, tried and convicted; they may be regarded as brutish criminals. But they can be simultaneously understood as human beings, driven by conflicting emotions, able — even in their criminality — to have experienced loss and confusion and anger and love, emotions we do not imaginatively afford America’s poor and black, the men and women who often find their way into our news cycles simply by having the audacity to live in a world that was not built for and around them.

And it goes on and on and on, perfectly organizing all of the realities and facts that you and I already intrinsically know — truths that we confront so frequently and with such monotony that they become like wallpaper — about the tiny and gargantuan ways in which we center the white male experience, and all the tiny and gargantuan ways in which it’s killing us.

This epidemic of white men picking off the rest of the country with a gentle squeeze of a trigger is absolutely about guns and access to guns, but it’s also about so much fucking more than that.

ft image via shutterstock


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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and she thinks you're fucking rad. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, some personal essays and a lot of emails in her inbox.

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27 Comments

  1. i know this is like the stupid obvious thing to say but like we need to look at how lobbyists representing special interest groups like the NRA having such an immense influence over the government WHEN THE FUCK WILL IT END

  2. In most cases, when a white guy kills someone, he is more than just humanized. They usually give him praise, tell him how brave he was for defending his country and doing his duty. They tell him that he is a patriot and a hero. They tell him that he is why we are free. The mayor shakes his hand. If he should be disturbed at all by what he’s done, a counselor is provided to reassure him that he is a good man. He is encouraged to get back out there and keep up the good work.

  3. And after they’ve massacred people, media will call them “a lone wolf” and “mentally ill”; someone who “made bad decisions”—anything but what they are: a terrorist. White male privilege. It exists before the crime is committed and after. Dylann Roof was supposedly escorted by the police to a Burger King after his killing spree in Charleston because he was hungry. I believe it.

  4. This was really good! I think the title is a bit misleading in the sense that it implies the article is about there being something wrong with humanizing white men, but the article makes it very clear that humanizing white men is great, just, you know, we should also humanize every one else too, and the fact that we don’t is kind of messed up.

  5. I think we should really stop using that holy, sacred idea that journalist are objective and impartial, that their job only reflects the facts. It was always a lie but now more than ever.

    Journalist, just like any other person, have personal and political ideas, interests and views, and it’s impossible to stop having those. And blaming the victim seems to be a particular idea that most journalists share.

  6. If this was posted in reaction to yesterday’s San Bernardino shooting, both of the shooters were Muslim and the media is saying it may have been a reaction to a workplace dispute.

    • Also see Rolling Stone’s cover article on the Boston bomber: the byline is “how a popular, promising student was failed by his family [and] fell into radical Islam”. The media humanizes mass shooters because it makes for a sensational article, not because of any race-based agenda.

    • this article was published at noon on december 2nd, if it was written in response to the san bernardino shootings then rebecca traister is even more amazing than we originally projected.

      also the media is saying that it happened following a workplace dispute, but there is no way it could’ve been in reaction to that, due to the degree to which the shooters were prepared for a mass shooting. obviously we don’t know much right now.

      regardless it’s absurd to completely deny the existence of a race-based agenda in the media in general (which doesn’t necessarily even have to be conscious, it can be institutional)! i pretty much cannot even, with that.

      • Ok. And I wasn’t saying I believed it was about a workplace dispute, just that the media was speculating on that; by not jumping straight to terrorism they’re giving a level of “leniency” to these shooters that is supposedly only reserved for white men.

        The other example I gave was of a Middle Eastern bomber being humanized in a magazine feature. I realize that white male shooters are given a certain treatment by the media but I don’t think it’s necessarily exclusive to them.

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