Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was a murder-suicide note to America. Since then, we’ve witnessed angry and disoriented white males across the nation boldly trying to fulfill that pact while using Karen tears to blame others for their circumstances and crimes.
In this perilous ecosystem of hate, we saw thousands of snarling white faces and heard the sonic horrors of their medievalesque howls as they erected effigies, a guillotine, and a hanging gallows outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
We’ve heard the shrill calls of lawmakers who’ve been exploiting white America’s insecurities by telling them that their country has left them behind and urging them to “resist tyranny” by taking up arms to overthrow the government. Remember, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said out loud: “The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
In other words, if white men don’t cheat, steal, rape, control or kill the loose bodies of nonwhite people, the future of whiteness is in peril. I can hear their clarion call:
“Yee hawl, grab yer gunz, boys. Batten down the hatches. Destroy this whole goddamn earth if yer haffta! Leave nothin’ behind for them coloreds and n*gger lovers.”
A Republican lawmaker joked about hitting Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in the head with a gavel. Another GOP representative recently shared an anime video depicting himself stabbing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword and attacking President Biden.
We know that hate groups and assorted militias have been stockpiling weapons for a coming race war. The alt-right has bluntly told white America that the restoration of racial superiority, the ruptured white family, its economic faltering, declining birth rates and life expectancy can be ameliorated by cleansing the nation of inferior racialized competitors.
White nationalists and vigilantes have been encouraged by the repeated acquittals of cops killing unarmed Black people. We’ve witnessed corrupt law enforcement and the courts coddle histrionic white males as they continue their power grab by any means necessary while marching toward obsolescence. Last week’s acquittal of teenage vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse is the most recent example of a deceitful, petulant narcissist who got caught committing a crime and then appropriated the language of oppression to paint himself as the victim.
So many folks are shocked, upset even, over the outcome of the Rittenhouse trial. I watched the verdict with my face frozen in permanent neutrality. Just another day of whiteness in America. But as usual, the punditocracy has been focusing on the melodramatics of Rittenhouse’s tears and parsing out the details of the case to death rather than candidly issuing a stern and urgent warning that we are marching into some very dark times.
The Rittenhouse acquittal says that we are living in an era of peak white male victimization. And when white men are afraid, everybody is in danger. The vigilantes and racists have been further emboldened by the outcome of this case. Welcome to a white supremacist theocracy that is regressing back to its barbaric prehistoric impulses.
Rittenhouse’s display of tearless crying is a symbol of white male grievance and a familiar code of white desperation, defiance, and rage in an historical moment of dangerous tumult. As a Black woman in America, I am so bored by pathetic displays of white men’s angst, bluster, and self-pity. These nitwits can cry a fetid river and baptize, waterboard, or drown themselves in it for all I care. White male tears are a political tactic similar to the one many white women weaponize to muster sympathy and avoid accountability. What I see is saltiness over the intergenerational failure of white supremacy being passed on to their youth as racial resentment and a mandate for racial redemption.
These degenerates cry because they can’t believe that they don’t have a free pass for their criminal behavior like the good ole days of yore. They want an all-powerful protector like Donald Trump, Dylann Roof, Darren Wilson, Derek Chauvin, and the three rednecks who lynched Ahmaud Arbery to bring back the days when mediocre white men had impunity to be racist, to keep Black people out of competition for jobs and resources, and to humiliate us in the process.
And they need man-boys like Rittenhouse to strap up and kill because the future of white supremacy can only be secured by their criminality. That’s why he’s the new hero of the far right. That’s why three House Republicans have offered him an internship.
Don’t get me started on the white mothers who raised their sons to kill people. Officer Derek Chauvin’s mom watched the same video as millions of us who saw her son kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes 46 seconds. She watched him kill a man who was pleading for his life and calling for his mama and she still called him “a good man,” “honorable and selfless,” and talked about how proud she was of him at his sentencing. Rittenhouse’s mother defended him even though he was a minor illegally in possession of a gun and out past an emergency curfew. Quite frankly, she should have been brought up on charges. Meanwhile, Black mothers and fathers have had to endure slander, attacks on their parenting, and debates about whether their unarmed children playing in parks or walking home from the store deserved to die.
Rittenhouse is a young man who was destroyed as a boy by a toxic white supremacist culture that proclaims victimization by the left, the liberal media, #MeToo, feminism, political correctness, immigrants, and uppity Black people.
I say this all the time, the public doesn’t want to be told there is something wrong with the so-called normal white family that is raising white boys like Rittenhouse to internalize racism, coercion, and violence. This is why we have no real insight into the violence we see in the news. It’s not just toxic masculinity or gun culture, which are treated like viruses communicated in schools and workplaces. Behind all this stands the white family with all its unspoken violence. If we’re serious about understanding why young white men can become so violent, we need to take a serious look at how they are being raised. The coercive parenting and socialization of white boys is central to understanding white supremacy and violence. And we need to develop policies around containing that violence.
Let me also say that I’m ‘bout tired of hearing Black folks ask unnecessary rhetorical questions: “What if Rittenhouse was Black?” “What if the Capitol rioters were Black?” We’ve been in this racist country for over 400 years. Y’all know the damn answer. They would have been shot to Black Jesus.
In the Rittenhouse trial, what we witnessed yet again is how the legal presumption of innocence, historically reserved for white adults, was extended to a white youth. He received the fullest protection of the law, not because folks viewed him as a scared kid who made a foolish mistake by shooting three people with a weapon of war, but because he is a quasi-adult who represents the future of whiteness. As such, he had to be acquitted. Once you understand what white supremacy requires to sustain itself and secure its future, you’ll be less shocked and upset over its contradictions and evil.
Some of our people keep talking about tuning out the news cycle so they don’t have to be stressed out by these horrible stories. Your silence, closed eyes, or
diverted attention will not keep you safe. Our churches that keep telling us to pray and offer absolution for our oppressors will not save us. The federal government is feckless. Even though the George Floyd Justice in Police Act died in Congress after months of protests featuring legions of white folks tearing up shit and playing dead in the streets, far too many of us still have a possessive investment that we can win simple justice from a system that has been serial killing us for generations.
We cannot live in fear. We can’t waste our time trying to empathize with, understand, pray for, reform, or understand these emboldened descendants of colonizers. What we are witnessing is the culmination and crystallization of decades of frustration that’s been brewing in white America since the Civil Rights Movement.
As we approach these even darker times, I take solace in knowing that gun ownership among Black Americans, especially Black women, is skyrocketing. Black women are now the fastest growing gun-ownership demographic in America. We need to be prepared to defend ourselves, our families, and communities against this rising tide of white nationalist violence.