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“Preserving Their Dominance”: McKinney Pool Party Cop’s Vicious Hatred; This Is The Face Of White Rage

Why are libertarians so overwhelmingly white and male? This is a question that Jeet Heer of The New Republic explored last Friday, after a new CNN poll found that presidential hopeful Rand Paul, who happens to be the favorite among libertarians, is very competitive in the primaries amongst male voters, but almost completely rejected by females. This is a problem that has long haunted conservatism, but it is even more drastic for ultra-right wing libertarianism.

In a 2014 Pew poll, it was found that about one in ten Americans describe themselves as libertarian, and men were more than twice as likely to be libertarians. In a 2013 Pew poll that Heer states in his article, it was found about two-thirds (68 percent) of American’s who identify as libertarians are men, and 94 percent are non-hispanic whites. Compare this to “steadfast conservatives,” who were found to be 59 percent male and 87 percent white, or “business conservatives,” found to be 62 percent male and 85 percent white, according to another survey done by Pew. Clearly, the entire conservative movement is dominated by white males, but libertarians are the most male-dominated.

Obviously this is a major problem for anyone who is hoping for libertarianism to take off in American politics. So why are libertarians mostly white guys? Heer points out a few different possibilities that some libertarian writers have offered. One of them being that libertarianism has attracted many male-dominated subcultures, like computer programming (think Silicon Valley), gaming, mens-rights activists, and organized humanism/Atheism, and another, argued by Katherine Mangu-Ward, that libertarianism has long been a fringe movement, and fringe movements tend to be dominated by men.

Okay, so libertarianism attracts nerdy white males, but surely these are not the only ones making up the dedicated crowd? While looking at the larger conservative movement, it becomes a bit more clear that the hostility towards government and collective movements in general tends to attract white males who want to preserve their dominance in a society where they are quickly becoming minorities.

When my first book, a novel for young adults, was published a decade later, readers often remarked on its graduation-night scene, which involved a party, a racial slur, broken glass, a slashed face, and the protagonist ending up in the hospital–indeed a discordant scene in a novel that was focused largely on the internal narrative of a quiet, nerdy Asian American girl.

James Baldwin once wrote that first novels are always autobiographical because the author has so many things to get off her chest. In my novel, the police are called, the protagonist’s injuries are so severe and unequivocal, redress is available by pressing charges against her attacker, a white classmate. However, the protagonist ends up deciding not to press charges, a twist for which readers express surprise, frustration, and dismay. But looking back at this book that I started writing back when I wasn’t that much older than those kids at the pool party, I see that in transforming this event that actually happened to me to fiction, the inner violence became external, with ugly scars, but with an emotional escape hatch:  the protagonist had a choice to press charges or not. Not the choice I would have made, but Ellen, my protagonist, had a choice of how to deal with her attacker.

I think the frustration and heartbreak I felt that graduation night had to do with feeling that this was somehow my problem and my problem alone. The Texas teens will have to deal with the aftermath of experiencing violence at the hands of a so-called authority figure, yet–judging from what I see on social media–among many otherwise sensible white acquaintances, there seems to be less concern for the avoidable trauma these kids experienced than the pursuit of the idea that the black kids had to be doing something wrong.  And no one wants to question why this narrative exists. Why a cop arriving on a scene asks no questions, openly separates out the black kids and acts like they are all criminals, no matter how polite they are, no matter if they comply, or, perhaps, more sensibly, try to get away. The irony being that he may have arrested everyone except the one person who may have committed an actionable crime, the white woman who slapped the teen who called her on her racism.

Race, race, race, it’s all about race to you, people complain. But I want to complain back: why is this something we have to bear alone? For every person who’s going to excoriate me for not mentioning, say, that there were black kids at the pool party who were indeed from outside Craig Ranch ergo invalidating my entire thesis, this is actually a fundamental misunderstanding and blindness to how omnipresent racism has become–and being a person of color and told I’m overreacting is itself a manifestation of racism. It’s not enough for white people to say, “I don’t use the ‘N’ word, therefore I’m not racist”–this is a self-rationalizing trope that willfully ignores, as poet Claudia Rankine has said, of how so many of our daily interactions are polluted by racism, whose toxic effects, like with pollution of our air and water, last for years and years–maybe a lifetime. And sometimes leads to death.

 

By: Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Salon, June 9, 2015

June 12, 2015 - Posted by | Libertarians, Rand Paul, White Men | , , , , ,

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