Graham: Identity politics enlists new players
“Y’all don’t know what it’s like
Being male, middle-class and white”
—Ben Folds, “Rockin’ the Suburbs”
I’ve never had much sympathy for the “Cryin’ Caucasian,” the whiny white guy complaining we don’t celebrate white culture. They make comments like, “How come they can have a black Miss America, but we can’t have a white one?” Or, “If there’s Black Entertainment TV, why not White TV?”
(There is. It’s called “PBS.”)
When you do talk radio, you hear from the Cranky-White-Guy Caucus fairly regularly, and while I don’t get their arguments, I’m starting to understand why they’re cranky.
At a gathering of Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Maine last week, former House Speaker Mark Eves complained that his state has too many white people. According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, Eves called the state’s whiteness “bad news,” adding that the state will be in trouble if it can’t attract a more diverse population.
What sort of trouble? The looming Maine mayonnaise shortage? Too many old guys in black socks and white sneakers damaging the infrastructure? Mobs at Lululemon?
It’s impossible to imagine a politician saying publicly that there are too many of any other racial group in his state. But there it is, in 2017: What are we going to do about all these white people?
One recently-attempted solution: Kill them.
“Kill All White People: Suspect in killings of 5 white men made threat in 2014.”
That was the Boston Herald headline on a wire story last week about the arrest of a 22-year-old black male suspected of being a serial killer. All his victims were white guys between 54 and 67.
“All five appeared to have been fatally shot, most from behind, in surprise attacks as they walked dogs, visited park areas and, in one case, walked down a city street.”
And the amazing part to me? That was the first I’d ever heard of this story.
I’m a news junkie. It’s literally my job. And an active serial killer in a major urban area — Kansas City, Mo., is killing people in the same racial group — and the media coverage is so modest I’ve never seen it? This is the age of social media. If a guy leaves his pit bull in the car for half an hour, my Facebook feed is full of his arrest photos. But not one word about a year-long killing spree?
You can roll your eyes at Cranky Caucasian when he complains that the news coverage would be wildly different if five black men had been hunted down and ambushed in a major media market — but he’s right. And here’s something else that wouldn’t happen:
“[The prosecutor] said she saw no clear motive for the killings. Sources close to the case said the shootings … did not appear to be racially motivated.” [Emphasis added, to make you spit out even more coffee when you read it.]
Yes, it’s theoretically possible this killer had no racial motivation. Based on early accounts he appears to have major mental health issues. But once again: Try to imagine a prosecutor saying “Yeah, a white guy stalked and killed five black guys over a year — but hey, this has nothing to do with race.” Good luck with that.
This is not an argument in favor of white nationalism or cry-baby “What about the WHAAAT MAAAN?!” Ku Kluxery. But it could be part of the explanation as to why some white people would be more sympathetic to the siren call of identity politics.
And that’s the root problem: The Left’s insistence that race and sex do matter, must matter, and will always matter. If those are the rules of their identity-politics game, then disgruntled white people are completely legit in getting their “gruntle” on.
Michael Graham is a regular contributor to the Boston Herald. Follow him on Twitter @IAMMGraham.