16 Feb White Male Toxic Masculinity Wants to Kill Us All
Another headline, another story, another load of bull-shit rhetoric from politicians, but, alas, an ocean of grief for yet more families of children murdered while at school.
No, not Pampona Beach, Florida on 11th February, but Benton, Kentucky, on 23rd January. Two dead, 14 injured, all of them children. The police have arrested Gabe Parker, aged 15. Weapon involved: handgun.
Perhaps we should be thankful that Gabe wasn’t able to get hold of the US mass shooter’s weapon of choice; the automatic assault rifle.
Why have you not heard of Benton, Kentucky, even though it was, by any reasonable definition, a terrible attack on innocent children? Because this is no longer a rare event in the USA.
Since January 1st, 2013, there have been 1,624 mass shootings in the US. That is nearly one every day of every year. It has left 1,875 people dead, 6,848 injured. Apart from the fact that thousands of people have been killed, injured, traumatised by the use of firearms, what is the other common factor in these killings?
Gender: These killings are overwhelmingly carried out by males (typically aged 18+). Between 1982 and November 2017, 98% of mass shootings were initiated by males. Of the 30 mass shootings which have occurred in USA since 1st January, 2018, ALL of them have been carried out by males or have males as their chief suspect.
And the race most likely to initiate mass shootings? White (54%). No other ethnic group in the USA comes even close.
Can we continue to be in denial about what is actually happening here?
Can you not see the connection between men, masculinity, and violence?
This is not about guns, it is not about mental illness. It is about rage and anger. The rage of a large group of males who’ve discovered they are no longer the privileged. The American Dream was originally lavished on them, the constitution written for them, but they are no longer benefiting as by right. For these males, their sense of masculine pride has been severely reduced. Their masculine identity has turned toxic.
The typical mass shooter in the States is white, male, Christian, hates feminists, hates liberals, is racist, votes Republican, supports Trump, is pro-NRA, and is very disturbed indeed.
What is wrong with conservative white American males? Should they all be put on a special watch list? Maybe, because right now, increasing numbers of them are definitely a danger to society.
To imagine this social/cultural/identity problem will get resolved by arming teachers, arming school-kids, is rank stupidity. Only an imbecile would suggest that more guns will help reduce gun violence. The hard truth is that America is edging ever closer to civil war, maybe not the type of war of the 1860s, but a severe breakdown of social order, nonetheless. With white, conservative, radicalised, racist, misogynistic males on one side, the rest on the other.
The good news is that masculinity is not biological; babies don’t get born with any genes that predict they will become mass murderers. The bad news is that masculinity is a social virus. Men copy each other, especially if they latch on to a discourse which purports to assuage their insecurities, anxieties, fear and anger. And one such discourse is violence, rage against the world. This is what gender sociologists describe as toxic masculinity.
How to deal with this?
Well, if you’ve got a brain the last thing you do is arm these men. Instead, you educate them from childhood into less harmful forms of behaviour. Gender awareness training needs to become compulsory in all schools, globally. In America it is now an urgent priority, but every educational system in every country actually needs it.
Educationalists need to guide young males into developing emotional intelligence, reflexivity, empathy, inclusivity, understanding, and patience. We help them to become, in truth, more feminine, not more masculine. We need these males to let go of their rampant, raging, misogynistic, homophobic masculinity and replace it with a way of being that is compassionate, sympathetic, nurturing and forgiving. Aggressive behaviour in both the sexes needs to be challenged and reduced, but with white males, in America, it is now the most urgent issue facing that country.
Yes, some chance, I hear you say.
You may be right. Unfortunately, it is the only chance.