In Michael Kimmel’s novel, Angry White Men, readers are presented with two sentitments regarding male, cisgender rage—“entitlement and sense of victimization” (X in the Preface). Kimmel explains this anger, that he too has struggled with, mainly comes from humiliation as white men are unable to live up to the 1950-type gender norms placed upon them. Here, white men are unable to fully provide for their families and rely on two income households to survive. They truly want to support their families alone but that is simply not possible given the high standard/cost of living today. Kimmel highlights “Aggravated Entitlement” to provide context for why white men experience such intense anger, exposing that this is “the sense that those benefits to which you believed yourself entitled have been snatched away from you by uneven forces larger and more powerful.” Furthermore, Kimmel includes an analysis of “relative deprivation” and how this theory is applicable in this situation as white men feel the need to “rebel” against the forces they believe are dragging them down. However, it is clear that blaming marginalized groups is part of a propaganda campaign to distract the working class from self reflection on their negative experiences with classism, capitalism, etc. Black people, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community became the scapegoats for something they cannot control because it is easier to do so rather than face unchanging reality.
Kimmel provides interesting points regarding how we must understand where they are coming from to engage in constructive dialogue that will alter their perception of themselves and the world. However, he also plays into the idea of White Innocence and Black Forgiveness in this novel by expecting readers to have sympathy for, excuse, or forgive white men for their anger because they feel oppressed. In reality, white men must be willing to learn and overcome their biases (as he claims to have done/is attempting to do) rather than relying on marginalized groups to assist in their education.