Why Are White Men So Angry?

James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Travis L. Gasa, who is an assistant professor of Africana studies at Cornell University, wrote a piece titled “Why Are White Men Like Michael Dunn So Angry?” last month for theroot.com. Gasa cited the Dunn case, in which Dunn opened fire on a group of black teens in an SUV on Nov. 23, 2012, after he got into an argument with the youths over loud rap music coming from their vehicle. Dunn, who is white, fired nine rounds into the SUV, killing Jordan Davis, 17, because he believed he saw the barrel of a gun. No weapon was found.

Dunn was found guilty last month of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at the teens but was not convicted in the killing of Davis. That left many people scratching their heads.


Gasa went on to say that for white men like Dunn, gangsta rap music and hoodies symbolize a larger culture “war in which putatively wholesome American culture is under siege by blackness.”

I see where Gasa is going. If a white teen plays his music loud, it’s considered a nuisance. If a black teen does it, it’s considered thuggish. Almost the same way a hoodie is viewed along with baggy clothing. {snip}


While Dunn was in jail, he wrote letters to his family and friends, saying he didn’t like being behind bars because it was full of blacks and they “all act like thugs.”

All week, I received emails from people I suspect are white males who believe black teens shot during altercations deserve it:

  • “You want to talk about trailing people, just come out to Wal-Mart in Mukwonago. If a black person walks through that door they will be watching him . . . The rest of us didn’t care if Trayvon Martin got killed anyway, because he was probably going to commit a crime sooner or later.”
  • “Many of my family members have concealed carry permits. I know if they were being beaten by some drugged up (racial epithet) they would shoot to kill, I would empty the clip into him.”
  • “The problem, not ‘stand your ground.’ Black men and women act like thugs and hoodlums and feral animals.”
  • “It is Trayvon’s fault for casing the ‘joint’ (Zimmerman’s home) and ambushing an innocent, short, fat, desk bound, Spanish guy who was worried about his home being invaded and his wife being raped and robbed by a 6 foot tall, battle hardened football player hiding in a hoodie just like all innocent store robbers and shooters do.”

These are just a sample of the types of emails and letters I get daily. Some are too offensive to be published. Aside from how people feel regarding “stand your ground” laws, what needs to be discussed and remedied is the misappropriation of the law based on color or class.

Until we can meet in the space of human rights on issues such as racial profiling and stereotyping, laws like “stand your ground” will always be controversial because they allow people who fear for their safety to use deadly force against a perceived aggressor and they override any legal obligation the people have to retreat.

Ask yourself this: Would Zimmerman have pursued Martin if he didn’t have a gun? And would Davis be alive if Dunn didn’t have a weapon?

Fulton is right; “stand your ground” laws need to change, but the racial divide needs to be narrowed as well.

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