We Are Respectable Negroes wants to know why lone gunmen are almost exclusively white males and what this means about our society, race, and violence.
If James Holmes were black or brown this would be one more signal to the existence of a “pathological culture” among said group. If James Holmes were Muslim American the Colorado shooting would be a clear act of “terrorism,” and an example of the Islamic bogeyman next door who has occupied the dreams and nightmares of the “heartland” since September 11th.
If James Holmes was black, brown, or Muslim, the Right would be wetting themselves in delicious panic and fear and in happy anticipation of all the extra money their PACs would be raising because of it.
In America, folks often ask, “what the hell is wrong with black people?” In the aftermath of the Colorado Movie Massacre, Columbine, and many other incidents, we need to ask, “what the hell is wrong with young white men?
Sadly, that question will not be asked on a national stage. White privilege is blinding. In the case of James Holmes, it also mutes a much needed national conversation about the ties between (white) masculinity and violence.
Indeed, white killers certainly get to plead insanity more than people of color (not that life in a mental hospital is any better than prison.) Our society does seems to search for reasons and causes why it happened much more when the killer is white.