FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

White-on-White Crime

White-on-white gun crime occurs across the U.S. on a regular basis. Its framing, in the wake of the mass murders by white male perpetrators wielding automatic weapons against white victims in California, Nevada and Texas, lacks such naming.

This oversight in part ensures a lack of clarity. What does it mean when a lethal social process is unnamable?

The framing and naming of white-on-white violence relates to where one is along what African American scholar W.E.B. DuBois called “the color line.” Race, or skin color, in a society born from enslaving Africans and eliminating Indians, is a necessary frame for contemporary events.

What accounts for such murderous white rage now? Is it corporate globalization, deindustrializing huge parts of the U.S., rendering members of the working class, whites and nonwhites, superfluous? The economy, which is centralizing income and wealth concentration, is a factor.

One other thing is clear. The current epidemic of white-on-white homicide did not fall from the sky, but evolved historically and socially. White settlers committed murderous violence against darker people on the North American continent for centuries. Meanwhile, the current rash of white-on-white slayings lacks the past motives of labor and land theft by any means necessary.

Yet such history is relevant. Otherwise, how could “Make America great again,” the campaign slogan of Pres. Trump, resonate to the point he got 60 million votes?

Some may call me a self-hating white, perhaps anti-American. Some may call me worse. Personal attacks elide what is at stake and why.

I expect many to disagree with me. I think I understand why.

The past is past, some say. History happened. That was then. This is now.

To the contrary, the past matters and weighs in ways big and small on the present moment. I am hardly the first to say that.

To grasp current social problems without comprehending the outsize role that class, gender and race played and plays is unhelpful. In fact, how the issue of white-on-white violence does (not) evolve in the public sphere is instructive.

Omission speaks volumes. We know that on the campaign Pres. Trump, while he was not scoffing at his prior multiple sexual assaults against women, bemoaned black-on-black murders.

His appeal to “the blacks” for their votes gave the word inept new meaning. Meanwhile, the popular TV magazine “60 Minutes” devoted a segment to the black-on-black homicide problem.

Yet as the recent white-on-white mass gun killings show, perpetrators kill people closest to them. In a segregated society such as the U.S., members of a particular demographic—perpetrators and victims—look alike. This is not advanced math, folks.

Yet when is the last time you heard, read or saw a public figure talk about white-on-white crime? Why is that a taboo topic?

Let me be clear. I mention the race of the shooters and the people they killed and wounded in Nevada, Texas and California as a lens for the present moment.

As a society, we sidestep the narrative of the gendered racial dynamic propelling mass gun violence in American society at our peril. Why go there?

Seth Sandronsky lives and works in Sacramento. He is a journalist and member of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email sethsandronsky@gmail.com.

More articles by:

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Emailsethsandronsky@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail