Angry White Men

Michael Kimmel’s sociological study, Angry White Men, provides in-depth insight into the white American male psyche as it exists today. Kimmel bases his theories for the cause of this population’s anger on the term “aggrieved entitlement,” referring to the sense that something this men feel entitled to is being taken from them. I found the chapters we read to be very insightful. The topics ranged from talk show hosts to mass shootings to the role of heterosexuality and whiteness.

One aspect of Kimmel’s work that I found to be very striking was his explanation of the difference in the entitlement white men feel versus the entitlement people of colour and other marginalized groups have. On page 63, he explains that “[poor and working people of all races . . . feel entitled while looking ‘up,’ looking at what their country tells them they are entitled to.” By contrast, he says, “Angry White Men feel entitled while looking ‘down’–at the hordes of ‘others’  who are threatening to take away what they believe is rightfully theirs.” I found this description to be very striking because I had never encountered such a useful manner of explaining a concept I still have not fully grasped. Kimmel illustrates the difference in mindset between white men and other groups in a very helpful manner. The aforementioned passage demonstrates how white men are preoccupied with maintaining their power while other groups, such as people of colour, are focused on attaining that same level of power.

angry white men

Micheal Kimmel’s Angry White Men draws attention to the reasons which men, because of the way that they have been brought up for most of American history, and western history in general, are now upset that the rules are changing and the world no longer caters directly to them and their needs.  They are taught that if they are strong and emotionless, independent and the sole provider for their families, hard working and educated then they will be successful no matter what. The world should be their oyster.  In the last 40+ years  though that ideal has changed drastically, with the introduction of women and minorities into the workforce they feel the threat of their own loss of opportunity.  Kimmel points out the crucial use of diction in the title of a TV show episode, “A Black Woman Stole My Job.” He points out their possessiveness of something which has not actually been granted to them.  These men considered the job to be something that should be given to them and was then taken without their permission. This sounds a lot like sex and consent doesn’t it?

The anger these men feel is poked and prodded at by carefully directed media outlets. They perpetuate the ideas that immigrants are dangerous and feminists are ruining their marriages. Even when what they are feeling is not actually anger they are told it might as well be the same thing.  When they are told this same thing over and over they begin to believe it and need someone to place their blame on.  This is how tragedies such as George Sodini and Marc Lepine occur, they find the target of their frustrations, for them it was the rejection of women, and lash out.

These men are not ready for the changes that are being pushed for because it means loosing their assumed birth-right and privilege, competing on a more even playing field for jobs, political office, and socio-economic climbing.  They feel they are already working hard enough and do not have as much to show for it as their fathers and grandfathers did.

Blog: Angry White Men

This week’s reading consisted of the introduction and four chapters from the book “Angry White Men” by Michael Kimmel. He begins the book by identifying who and why men are angry which all points back to the feeling of entitlement. Kimmel answers these question through traveling across the country interviewing many angry white men all of different ages and viewpoints on men’s rights. Chapter one focuses on discovering where the rage white men have comes from. Men are feeling less masculine because they feel that their professional, social, and personal aspects of live have not been rewarded with what men believed they should have. Kimmel also discusses the role of radio talk and their goal of trying to preserve the American white male dominance and authority which is being threatened by women, minorities, etc.

Chapter two focuses on angry white boys specifically school shootings. Kimmel discusses throughout this chapter that the majority of school shootings are conducted by white males. He looks more into the shooters and the schools to try and understand what led young males to conduct such violent acts of crime at a young age. He starts by profiling the boys and discovering that the majority of them were bullied every day for appearances and not fitting the male stereotypes such as size, smarts, etc. The boys were also the students who went unnoticed by teachers, students, and administrations which led to when warnings about the student where brought up they were brushed away. For several of the rampages, the shooters felts that this was the only way that they could prove their point to the rest of their school that they were masculine enough and justified the rampage shooting for all they had to endure throughout their life that was caused by others. This also led to the schools being profiled. The schools at which some rampage shootings occurred at had a toxic climate, harassment, superiority, gender norms, and violence for students which did not help the student when getting bullied. I could relate to this chapter the most and was most interested in reading because of my future career choice to become a teacher. Even though, I will be teaching elementary school, bullying is always present but my duty as a teacher to minimize bullying and violence through showing all students that even if they do not have a good home life to make they feel safe in the classroom with their peers and teachers. By creating a safe and welcoming environment, it will allow students to discover who they are in a nonthreatening environment.  When reading this chapter, it mentioned the shooters were normally the children who went under the radar, I kept thinking about one of my mentor teachers telling me that it is not the struggling academic students you need to worry about, it is the students who blend in and are distant in the classroom that you need to worry about. These students often times are the ones with a bad home life or getting bullying and do not feel comfortable to confide in anyone.

Chapter five was about why men are targeting women specifically. Men target women because they feel that they are entitled to have them. Violence towards women began when women reject them and the men feel humiliated by the women’s actions. The violence allows the man to restore his manhood with a sense of entitlement and power over women. The main point that stood out in this chapter was the example of when the boyfriend volunteered in a batterers’ intervention program and the men said that they spoke about losing control. He brought up the point that the men could have easily killed the women but they had enough control to just beat them. What draws the line in men’s thinking between beating a women and losing control when the beatings are inflicted on a regular occurrence?

Chapter seven was about the extreme Right of men in the political aspects. Kimmel discusses how different presidents such as Clinton, Bush, and Obama caused shifts in the white supremacists. I wonder how the Trump’s America would be discussed by Kimmel because since Trump has been elected there has been Charlottesville and the conflict of removing Confederate Monuments. How would Kimmel relate Trump’s administration to the extreme Right of men who are suffering from aggrieved entitlement?

Angry White Men

The sections in Michael Kimmel’s book, Angry White Men, that we read were very interesting to me. I was really interested in two of his many points – radio talk shows and profiling school shooters.

Kimmel talked about how Rush Limbaugh has a way of taking one persons emotions from sounding sad, anxious, grief-filled, and worrisome into “political outrage” (Kimmel 32). Limbaugh is seen as a “master at this translation of emotional vulnerability or insecurity into anger” (Kimmel 32). This talk show host, in my opinion, is creating more and more angry men with more than 94% white men checking out his website. With men being so angry, Kimmel brought up a good point of saying that anger, as an emotion, does not last long – one could consider it a “hot” emotion that constantly needs to be fueled and stoked. He then said that because of this “Angry White Men are a virtual social movement” (Kimmel 37). These men sit alone inside listening to other men, like Limbaugh, and then meet and chat with other white men online, sometimes promoting antifeminist men’s rights. This was surprising to me because I did not know that this was something men/people do/did. Kimmel is right in saying that anger is a “hot” emotion because it takes a lot of energy to keep feeling angry. One would have to continuously hold grudges or collectively remember people who have “wronged” them and men are able to do that by listening to these talk shows or meeting up online.

Kimmel’s section about profiling shooters was really informative, yet alarming to me. I didn’t realize all the connections that school shooters had with each other. A majority of them were white, suburban boys. But how different would these shooting have been if it had been done by “inner-city poor black girls” (Kimmel 73)? The headlines would have all looked completely different. There would have been a conversation about how living in the inner-city is what breeds crime and violence. And someone may even “blame feminism for causing girls to become violent in a vain imitation of boys” (Kimmel 73). The conversation was completely different with the middle-class white boys being the shooters, there wasn’t even a spark in conversation about it. I found it interesting, though, how Kimmel made all the connects with the school shooters. Many of them did what they did because other students were bullying them for being different, a little nerdy, a little overweight, or having acne. “From an early age, boys learn that violence is not only an acceptable form of conflict resolution, but one that is admired” (Kimmel 75). I found this interesting because that could be a major reason why those school shooters felt that their solution was okay. Two of the shooters started planning their shooting early on as a joke, but as the bullying got worse it became something they would really do.

Post 02; Angry White Men

Angry White Men by Michael Kimmel gives a view into the reasoning and backstories of America’s angry white male residence. The rise of these men pre and post ‘racial American society’ and the causes which lead to this anger and who is the main target. The start of this anthropologic study starts with setting the stage by asking who these men are angry with, why, and why now. Kimmel writes that the anger white men feel is ‘real’ but not ‘true’. Meaning they have real feelings and emotions of anger, but is not true because it does not tell the full story. From the reading the anger stems from the self and societal imposed idea of ‘masculinity’ and the ‘American Dream sought by the self-made man’. These men feel they were sold a promise that did hold true and are angry that they put in so much work for what they feel is nothing. The idea of masculinity and the threatened masculinity of these men drive them towards many choices which they feel are being threatened by the ‘other’ or all who are not them. Masculinity and manhood is the difference between thrills of victory and the agony of defeat. Kimmel sees the anger as stemming from anxiety over change angry white men feel they are being left out of. And instead of facing this change and trying to be productive and work together they instead are targeting their anger at others, scapegoating.

Anxiety, vulnerability, and fear are the root feelings of this misplaced and mislabeled anger white men feel. The downward mobility of white males is caused by ‘Obama’s America and the rise of ‘reverse racism’. Which is actually nothing and only the equality working to level the playing field for all. But the angry white men do not see it that way because, as Kimmel put it, “equality sucks if you’ve grown accustomed to inequality that it feels normal’ (46). Now that these spaces, which should belong to them are gone it threatens their already weak and feeble masculinity. They must look someplace else for the emotional hand job they feel they deserve. The loss of spaces to proclaim their masculinity is a loss of self-control, sexual profligacy, escape, and exclusions. Instead they must remake new spaces. In these spaces fit ‘white culture’ or a way to escape the ‘thinning of the white race’, an escape from government and the ‘other’ but includes their fellow ‘angry white women’. Angry white women’s anger differ from their counterpart’s because a woman’s anger is a defensive and protective anger over their children.

Though the children are equally as angry as their parents, in Kimmel’s second chapter about the ‘angry white youth’. This chapter starts opens up on school shootings and the cause behind them. These shooters, mostly white males, feel entitled to cause harm to those who hurt them. They harmed them through social marginalization and the constant emotional and physical strain. Other cause for shootings included individual predisposing factors, cultural script, failure of surveillance, and the availability of guns. These angry white youth and the decisions they make stem from the re imagined manhood that they should handle their own problems. Another set of victims of these angry white men are women, fellow angry ones and not. Men feel entitled to the woman and if they do not get what they feel is there it is seen as a threat to their masculinity and any action, by them, afterwards is just. The violence against women is because men do not want to take responsibility for their actions and to ‘get even’ after they feel they are wronged. This violence though is not just placed on white males but those of other races and women.

The final chapter looks to expose and probe the existent of the affect of the angry white man and how he is turned into the most intense form. White supremacy has been boiling under the surface, easily visible to those who knew where to look and who were the targets of the anger. After the era of  ‘Obama’s America’ and a ‘post racial society’ these final form angry white men feel they have been given another stake in their post with Barack’s presidency. To only be handed a golden plate topped with ‘do as you want’ passes after the election of Donald. These men feel that the country they fought for and continue to back up has turned its back on them.

Angry White Men

In his book, “Angry White Men”, Michael Kimmel provides his understanding and analysis of angry white men– men who feel as though they have been “cheated out of their birthright” (page 9) of income, jobs, opportunities, and the like. This, Kimmel says, is where their anger is born, as they feel their masculinity is challenged by factors like recession. To them, their sense of selves as white men in America has been completely lost.

The first chapter focuses on the sense of entitlement that creates men’s rage. Their anger is largely generated from confusion and perceived demoralization, whether by the government, minority groups, or personal grudges. This is perpetuated by “outrage media” such as radio and television shows, in which viewers and hosts alike denounce the government for abandoning them. They also view their positions and jobs as being unfairly given to other groups.

The second chapter discusses the issue of school rampage shootings in America. Two main examples are provided: the Virginia Tech shooting, and the shooting at Columbine High School. The chapter begins by exploring how observers attempted to explain these tragedies. Was it the influence of violent media, the availability of firearms, or some psychological variable? Kimmel accepts these explanations, but adds a critical point—there is also a cultural issue present. The sense of masculine “aggrieved entitlement”, Kimmel states, is a key factor in these boys’ outbursts. They felt that their sense of masculinity was humiliated and demeaned by the world, so they turned to what they believed was a justifiable response – violence.

Chapter seven examines the rise of the extreme right. White supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis fall under this category. They feel as though they have no power in America, while anti-racist organizations and the government itself have it all.  Kimmel observes that these groups are populated by lower-middle class white men, have a large rural component, and contain members that are veterans and of radical “Christian” sects (usually a sect that preaches white racial purity). This chapter hit quite close to home, as current events prove that such men, though they have always existed, are continually becoming more aggressive with their hateful ideologies and violence.

Angry White Men – Michael Kimmel

Within a couple pages of reading Michael Kimmel’s book, Angry White Men, I was already laughing. Kimmel paints a picture that couldn’t be truer about the proclaimed ‘crisis’ that white men around America are currently facing. White men–who are most likely wearing that God-awful red “Make America Great Again” hat–I say let them suffer their crisis. This book was entirely too relatable for me. Not because I am a white man in America, but because I know plenty of these white men. Kimmel doesn’t even get through four pages of his book before I swear one of the individuals he consulted for this book was my uncle. He described him perfectly, “they’re the ones who rush out onto the field to hit the coach or strangle the referee–or start a fight with another equally enraged dad. They hiss with rage at their ex-wives (and their ex-wives’ lawyers) in family court.” (Kimmel 4). Honestly, Kimmel couldn’t have described my Uncle Chris any better.

With the recent events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, Kimmel’s words echo the ideology of the alt-right, white supremacy, polo-shirt wearing, Tiki-Torch carrying individuals who brought hate and murder to my city. In an effort to console and comfort the Charlottesville community, many said words along the lines of “these people aren’t from here, this isn’t Charlottesville.” Although Charlottesville is a very liberal, colorful, welcoming city, the surrounding counties are still rural and rampant with racists. Although not an actual resident of Charlottesville, I live about twenty minutes east: Fluvanna County, home of the Flying Flucos. We have one high school and one stop light. Oh, and Jason Kessler (the organizer of the Unite the Right rally) went to my high school. How’s that for close to home? When I think of the people Kimmel writes about in his book, I think of Jason Kessler and the other white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville on August 12th. These are the angry white men and they are pissed that they are losing their supremacy.

Another facet that sparked interest in me while reading Angry White Men, is the connection Kimmel draws to the American Dream. These men are upset and angry that it worked for their fathers and their grandfathers, but now the American Dream isn’t just prescribed to them. I think another quote Kimmel wrote sums it up best, “the game has changed, but instead of questioning the rules, they want to eliminate the other players” (15). The entitlement that these men were raised with is screwing them over. And in all honesty, it seems like some of them just cannot cope with it. This will definitely be a book I finish reading. And it might show up as a present for my red hat wearing, Confederate flag carrying brother to read and learn from as well.

Angry White Men By Michael Kimmel Post

“Angry White Men” by Michael Kimmel brings a different perspective to why White Men are generally so angry. His overall theme is that throughout history, white men are entitled and as an increasingly open, equal opportunity culture arisen, they feel invisible because “their” jobs, “their” rights, and “their” dreams are seemingly being taken from them. A “normal” response to their emasculation is humiliation by not having a role in society is bred into anger but is targeted at the lower class minorities rather than greedy corporations and government that is truly taking away the availability of jobs, etc.

The discussion about relative depravation and that it’s based on relation to those around us rather than the facts is interesting because their anger should be directed to what’s causing the downfall rather than minorities who have done nothing to them. Another discussion I appreciated was about media and in the movie “Unforgiven,”  Walt is what an ideal man is supposed to be, honorable and makes sacrifices, but there was a lot of backlash about how he isn’t masculine and gives way to his future because they are blinded by anger and looking like they are giving up.

Lastly, in the discussion about white supremacy, I thought it was very relatable how when Kimmel told his friend he interviewed some neo-nazis, his friend asked where he found them because he feels like they are just radicals who exist in rural areas but in reality, they are all around us. This is why the black lives matter movement is relative, along with many other things, but white ignorance to discrimination is why people don’t see it as necessary. Overall, “Angry White Men” is eye opening to the realization of how normalized the fragile ego of “masculinity” has become and what it’s doing to our culture.

Angry White Men Reflection

Kimmel’s book is at once terrifying and enlightening. He looks at who is angry; why they are angry; and how they became so angry. In the first section, he explains the feelings of invisibility that white American men feel, especially those who are downwardly mobile — they are subject to economic anguish, psychological distress, and political confusion. The American Dream has betrayed them, and they’re mad as hell about it. The anger of white American men, Kimmel tells us, is “so ubiquitous and so visible that it has received hardly any serious discussion” (6). If any other race or gender acted out in the way that white men in America do, they would make the front page of every paper in the nation. But because it is white male anger, it goes unnoticed. Kimmel tells us that white American men have very little reason to be angry in the first place – after all, they are the “beneficiaries of the single greatest affirmative action program in world history. It’s called ‘world history.'” Now, though, as we work toward equity and justice for all, they must get used to not having everything go their way, which is frightening. Their anger is real, writes Kimmel, but it is not true. White American men may sincerely experience this anger, but it is not justifiable. The anger of white American men is the anger of entitlement, of being owed something.

In the first chapter, Kimmel talks about how rage is manufactured: how “outrage media” fuels millions of white men who feel even the slightest bit of emotional vulnerability and turns that insecurity into anger. He describes the spread of far-right and white supremacist talk radio shows across the country, whose hosts convince their listeners that it’s time to “take the country back.”

In the second chapter, Kimmel discusses “Angry White Boys” and the school-shooter phenomenon, debunking the myth of the troubled lone wolf. He discusses the sense of entitlement and how it is transformed into murderous rampages through humiliation. “Humiliation is emasculation: humiliate someone, and you take away his manhood…it must be avenged.” Boys are taught that violence is more than acceptable, that it is natural and restorative and appropriate. Violence, they are told, is the only way to respond to shame and ridicule. And so, they go on killing sprees, because they are angry.

Chapter five is about male violence toward women. “The association between violence and love is so intimate, so central for men, that it practically screams out for answers” (177). Masculinity’s insistence on not just entitlement, but independence above all else turns men violent when they feel any sort of vulnerability regarding love. For me, the most striking part of this chapter was this quote: “The emotion of shame is the primary or ultimate cause of all violence. The purpose of violence is to diminish the intensity of shame and replace it as far as possible with its opposite, pride, thus preventing the individual from being overwhelmed by the feeling of shame.” With this, as with everything else, it’s about entitlement, Kimmel says. Men feel entitled to women’s domestic labor, their sexual favors, their attention, their love. When women express their own interests, or even behave as autonomous human beings, men are humiliated. “Rape is a man’s right,” a convicted rapist told the sociologist Diana Scully. “It’s all they are good for” (183). They claim to lose control because it “provides plausible deniability” and “explains away the intentionality, the purposiveness, of the violence” (189) but Kimmel’s recounting of a group therapy session with “Al” debunks that myth.

The last chapter talks about the rise of white nationalism, neo-Nazi movements, and white supremacists. Kimmel explores where these men come from, how they organize, and what unites them. “Nationalism typically springs from masculinized memory, masculinized humiliation, and masculinized hope” (255).

Kimmel’s book is frightening. It exposes the violence in our society for what it is: a natural extension of the ideology of toxic masculinity and impoverished emotional intelligence that men, especially white men, are fed from the time they are born.

Angry White Men

In his book Angry White Men, author Michael Kimmel studies those who feel they’ve been screwed over, or betrayed by their own country. Specifically, how race, class, and gender intersect to form a configuration of masculinity. However, this masculinity has been slowly slipping away over the years, therefore making the men feel threatened. The problem is, angry white men have lashed out at all the wrong targets. The author states that the game of our country has changed, and instead of questioning the rules, they want to eliminate the other players, such as women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, etc. Chapter one focuses on how white men’s anger is misdirected and misguided at these groups, specifically through talk radio. These populations have become the “they”, or the “others”, who threaten white men’s dominance, respect, and authority.

Chapter two discusses young white men and violence. The author argues that young white men who go on rampage shootings are not misfits, but instead have an extremely traditional makeup of masculinity which is rooted in violence and control. In this chapter Kimmel examines the similarities between shooters over the last two decades. His findings are that they are typically young, white men from rural and suburban communities, who experienced relentless bullying, gay-baiting, and physical torment at school.

Chapter five discusses white men’s violence against women. Here Kimmel writes about those who feel a sense of entitlement towards women and sex. When these men are told no, they tend to feel that same sense of entitlement to use violence as a way to reestablish their status as men. In this sense, violence is not an act by itself or a loss of control, but instead it’s an intentional expression of power of men over women.

The text concludes with an examination of the extreme right, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Kimmel introduces the reader to a number of individuals on the extreme right and the ways in which social class, particularly the movement into a lower class, unites such groups. I found this text very interesting because it examines many of the issues we are facing in “Trump’s America” years prior to it happening. These are issues that I never had to see growing up, however this text taught me that just because I was guarded from these people before, doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. Angry white men, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, whatever one would like to call them, they are not new phenomenon. These people have always been around, and will likely continue to be around. It is up to the rest of America, the women, the minorities, the LGBTQ community, to continue to go forwards rather than stay in the place that these men want us to stay in.

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