White Male Rage and Hollywood Storytelling

“The rage that white men have been expressing, loudly, violently, over the very idea that they might find themselves identifying with characters who are not white men, the very idea that heroism might not be particular to one race or one gender, the basic idea that the human story is vast and various and we all get to contribute a page – that rage is petty. It is aware of its own pettiness. Like a screaming toddler denied a sweet, it becomes more righteous the more it reminds itself that after all, it’s only a story.”

Source: The New Stateman

24 thoughts on “White Male Rage and Hollywood Storytelling

  1. Theodore A Hoppe Where has the author, Laurie Penny, written something to the effect of: This article addresses all men? She hasn’t. And you know what? That’s not the point of this post or of the original article.

    A White woman writing about the racist backlash against the casting of a Black man in a beloved movie franchise is important. Real allies in the fight against racism focus on racism and combat it front on.

    What you’ve done here is a classic derailment tactic that perpetuates racism. Instead of taking an article that addresses racism, you indulge in a #NotAllWhiteMen  red herring.

    The reason why White men react this way is because: 1) They have read an article or heard a talk about racism that struck a chord and made them uncomfortable; 2) They want the author, or in this case, the poster, to reassure them that, Oh no, not you! This serves to move the conversation away from serious discussion about racism, to pandering to individual White men’s subjective ideas of racism – such as the idea you’ve replicated twice on this thread. You think that discussions of racism should make all White men feel comfortable about how racism is discussed. That’s not how anti-racism works.

    Questions for White men who feel a need to say, “not all White men,” in discussions about racism:

    1) Do I care about the impact of racism? If the answer is yes, then read critical reviews of racist behaviour and think about how you might apply that critical lens into combating racism in everyday life. 

    2) Am I uncomfortable about an article I read about racism? If the answer is yes, then think about why that might be. Do you recognise some of the behaviour described? Do you feel out of your depth? Do you feel as if you’ve maybe participated in racism even if you didn’t recognise it at the time? If you’re uncomfortable that’s not a bad thing. Facing your own taken for granted assumptions about race and racism are important in fighting racism.

    3) Do I think I’m not racist and feel a need to ask other people to validate this feeling? This is not the behaviour of a real ally. It’s time to go back to questions 1 and 2. It’s time to read more about racism. It’s time to reflect on how your own denial of racism, and your need to define racism in a way that makes you feel “safe,” is actually supporting racist practices. The good news is that it’s never too late to confront your own unexamined ideas about race and racism. 

    You can visit my various other posts on racism on Google+ or read my other articles on my blog, or read my research on racism, republished on my website. All of these are free.

    If you still feel a need to divert conversations about racism towards, “Not all White people!” and “Not all men!” and “Not me!” then you must accept that your answer to the first question is “No.”


  2. The Other Sociologist Thank you for the reply 

     The statement I am questioning here reads as follows, “The rage that white men have been expressing, loudly, violently, over the very idea that they might find themselves identifying with characters who are not white men, the very idea that heroism might not be particular to one race or one gender, the basic idea that the human story is vast and various and we all get to contribute a page – that rage is petty.”

    Let’s be fair here, this is an unsupported claim by the author.  Who are these write men that are expressing rage at this?  Had she written, when white men rage at…., I would not be addressing this post.

    I note that Michelle Rodriquez just posted an apology video on Facebook directed towards anyone who took offense about comments she made of this topic, offering up a more detailed explanation of what she was trying to say.


    Regarding racial differences in general, I submit this bit if research. (see 12:00 on which addresses the humanness of a face).



  3. Theodore A Hoppe Again, you have clearly not read the article. The author is writing about racist men who have been expressing anger that a Black man was cast in Star Wars. 

    Unfortunately you are still engaging in derailment and have failed to examine the racism you are perpetuating here. You take self-righteous umbrage with one sentence, the only sentence of the article that you have read (as you have not bothered to read beyond this post), instead of actually engaging with the racist practices the author is examining.

    Unwittingly, you have now thrice proven the point of the original article. 

    I suggest you revisit the questions I posed above, to really reflect on what you’re doing here, on a Google+ thread promoting anti-racism. If you want to learn how to stop supporting racist practices, feel free to continue reading my posts. If you don’t want to learn, stop trying to move the focus of this discussion to your personal and erroneous views on how racist discussions should be framed.

    You are perpetuating racist  #NotAllWhiteMen  nonsense.  I’ve used your comments to illustrate how racism works. Follow the thread here: https://twitter.com/OtherSociology/status/683516116212187137


  4. Theodore A Hoppe if you’re on various social media outlets, especially Twitter, it’s hard not to see the responses directed against the female lead in Mad Max, the black woman cast as Hermione, etc. For example, men’s rights activist groups called to boycott the Mad Max movie and were particularly enraged against a perceived feminist agenda: http://www.returnofkings.com/63036/why-you-should-not-go-see-mad-max-feminist-road

    There are several recent news reports on the backlash against a black Hermione. This guy was particularly miffed and is a good representative: https://twitter.com/TheSamGrady/status/678970048279654401 


  5. The Other Sociologist Let me be perfectly clear, I’ve read the article.  

    I have also read a great deal of what you have written about the Self, and otherness, and view this as a larger part of that issue.  

    Now allow me to ask a question: Does the author have any biases? Do you?

     We all view others from the context of our selves (in this regard it may be difficult for you to see my perceptive). 

     “Blindspots” is a book that addresses this very issue:

    “I know my own mind. I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.

    These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.”  

    (You didn’t response to the Thalia Wheatley talk and the example of how indigenous people in Cambodia reacted to images of “white” people).

    One additional reference, “The otherness of the other is none other than me (or you)”


    The author here writes, As embodied consciousness we have very little to go on when self-describing. We have our bodies of course, that are (presently) more or less fixed in their line of engagements and development. Consider for example that unless you belong to (presently) a very small minority of humans that at some point decide to change it for whatever reason, your biological gender is set from birth.

    This little fact has more to do with your self-description than you imagine, if only because of the biological, hormonal and eventually cultural baggage this implies. It is extremely difficult in this instance to disentangle yourself from the particularities of your body, its gender, its color, its look and so on. 

    That however is only the beginning of the difficulty for soon enough, being subject to forces much beyond your control, at least initially, you will get a language and a biased experience of the world via your parents, siblings, family and friends, not to mention the geographical location of birth, its cultural heritage, possibly a religion and or political affiliations and so on.

    Is it all that easy to change this foundation that a Self is built upon?


  6. Rajini Rao I do get that there is a controversy about these things, but do you accept the authors wording about, “The rage that white men have been expressing..?”

    I provided an example where it was just not “white men”  I also suggested that the language that might fit here is “when white men express rage…


  7. ” “How can ‘the other’, as a representative of a condition in itself, can be a supportive power (partner) to the process of self-description into a state of liberation and the ascent into the freedom of mind which you have proposed? “

    Permit me to say that I see this as a very important and critical question; indeed in as much as we are culturally biased in our present society to associate liberty with individualism and uniqueness, it may very well be that that this question represents the fulcrum of that which hinders our mutualities.” 

    “…all life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny.”

    Martin Luther King Jr


  8. Rajini Rao “Word salad?” Really? There is a great deal that I have provided here that is being ignored.

    Racism is defined as “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race” and then we add to it, “especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”  How does a unqualified statement about “white men” fit with this definition?  

    In my opinion race is a two sided coin, a self and other discussion. And these biases are set as a foundation during our up-bring which make it extremely difficult to change since they form the context for our perceptions of what “is.” 

    It’s not that I don’t get it, I see a more universal issue

    Let me ask if you watched the Thalia Wheatley video I posted here?  How does the “uncanny valley” effect play out among different races?  


  9. Rajini Rao Regarding this Huffington Post Survey it says, “These are the topline results of a YouGov/Huffington Post survey of 1000 US adults interviewed June 24-29, 2015 on race. The margin of error is 4.2%.”

    Where does it tell us the racial breakdown of these 1000 people?


  10. Re:  “Studies show that most white people do not see racism” 

    This isn’t exactly what the survey reports, it is how the article interpreted the results.  


    You can see from the breakdowns that there far fewer minorities in the numbers 2 in 10.

    (One will note that I did reference the book “Blindspot” which does address the fact that biases are difficult for people to identify in themselves) 


  11. Theodore A Hoppe You’re not interested in learning. Instead, you are highly invested in maintaining racist practices of White men like you, who think they have a right to dominate everything from popular culture to discussions of racism. You’ve doubled down on your ignorance and are increasingly foolish.

    You have failed to address anything Rajini Rao and I have suggested you consider. My thread is not a place for you to seek validation for your White fragility:

    White fragility also comes from a deep sense of entitlement. Think about it like this: from the time I opened my eyes, I have been told that as a White person, I am superior to people of colour. There’s never been a space in which I have not been receiving that message. From what hospital I was allowed to be born in, to how my mother was treated by the staff, to who owned the hospital, to who cleaned the rooms and took out the garbage. We are born into a racial hierarchy, and every interaction with media and culture confirms it—our sense that, at a fundamental level, we are superior. And, the thing is, it feels good…We have set the world up to preserve that internal sense of superiority and also resist challenges to it. All while denying that anything is going on and insisting that race is meaningless to us.


    I’ll leave you with a life tip: never google synonyms that you don’t understand. In trying to impress two women of colour, you’ve simply made your racist apologism even more incoherent. 


  12. Theodore A Hoppe You’re on a public forum towing the same tired White male supremacy gibberish for two days. I’ve deleted your last two verbose comments because it’s more excuses along the same ignorant lines. You don’t get to dominate this anti-racism space a second longer. I hope you find the strength to get educated on race and one day see your role in upholding racism. Know that you can change – you just don’t want to.


  13. Theodore A Hoppe   

    i was following this with great interest

    it’s unfortunate that your ideas and comments are not taken seriously

    did they deleted some of your comments?

    they were not offensive or vulgar by G= standards

    u were the one who got bashed



  14. may i add this piece of science to the comments.

    “Our brains distinguish race insanely quickly, within tenths of a second. An other-race face tends to activate the amygdala, an ancient brain region central to experiencing fear and anxiety. Another brain region, the fusiform, helps us recognize individuals, read their expressions and make inferences about their internal state. When we see an other-race face, there is less activation of the fusiform, and we are less accurate at reading facial expressions.”



  15. Race is a social construction – it is socially defined and therefore “read” differently in different social contexts. Someone who is seen as “Black” in Australia may be seen differently in the USA; someone who is seen as “Asian” in the UK will be read differently in Pakistan. This has been shown in a plethora of research, such as this interesting three-nation study of “race” in the USA, Australia and South Africa: http://researchbank.swinburne.edu.au/vital/access/manager/Repository/swin:16944  

    You are now free to join your valiant comrade Theodore in the Land of White Men Who Think Supporting Racism is Brave and Very Important.


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