Sunday, August 02, 2015

The GOP and Toxic Straight White Masculinity

Credit: Jeff Malet, Haber/Salon)
There is a reason that the GOP base and GOP candidates typically get the majority of the white heterosexual male vote:  The party and its candidates pander to the irrational fears and demand for privilege and special rights that far too many straight white males expect and demand.  Adding to the mix is the right wing media and blogosphere that similarly play on the fears of straight white males.  Their targets?  Anyone who is "other" in their minds which includes virtually everyone who isn't a straight white male.  Gays, of course are definitely in the "other" category since we do not conform to the straight male stereotype of masculinity nor do we in general slavishly adhere to the Christofascist agenda that always puts straight white males at the top of the social pecking order.  A somewhat tongue in cheek piece in Salon looks at the toxicity of straight white male masculinity and the harm it causes to others.  Here are excerpts:
White America is suffering from a type of cancer. It is hurting you; it is killing your children; it is damaging families; it hurls shrapnel in many directions, maiming and otherwise bringing an end to the lives of those people who are unfortunate enough to be in its blast radius. If you want the truth, this is it: toxic white masculinity, and the backward right-wing politics which nurture and protect it, are hurting millions of you every year.

Toxic white masculinity is a fear of the world changing to the disadvantage of white men, and where what too many white men take as natural rights are actually going to be exposed as unfair advantages, advantages which were gifted by a lottery of genetics and fortune of birth, as opposed to earned merit.

Toxic white masculinity defaults to violence as a means of maintaining social and political control. It clings to guns as a symbol of “real” male identity. It fears women as equals; it lashes out at non-whites who are somehow “stealing” white men’s jobs and power. Toxic white masculinity sees “liberals,” “progressives,” “social justice,” and “feminism” as enemies — out of a fear that “white masculinity” will somehow be made obsolete or extinct. The dream worlds and paranoid fantasies of angry white men are distractions that look to some type of Other as the preeminent threat to America’s safety and security. The reality is of course, very different.

In reality, right-wing domestic terrorists and mass shooters are the number one threat to America’s safety and security since September 11, 2001.

White men are approximately 31 percent of the United States population. And yet, white men are nearly 63 percent of those people who commit mass shootings. Such behavior, among any other group, would be considered pathological and a public health crisis.

Toxic white masculinity is a complex problem. And you cannot fix it unless you also confront how toxic white masculinity is nurtured and encouraged by your news media and political representatives.

Fox News is your mouthpiece: 92 percent of its prime time viewing audience is white. Fox is the most popular cable news network in the United States. Millions of people watch it on a daily basis. Fox News is part of a propaganda machine that consists of the Internet, radio, and social media. This has created an alternate reality for many White Americans where down is up and up is down, so to speak. Researchers have shown that the right-wing media actually makes its public less knowledgeable about empirical reality and current events than those people who do not watch or listen to it.

The white identity politics, grievance mongering, conspiracies, paranoid thinking, eliminationist rhetoric about liberals and progressives, hostility to women, rage against immigrants, anxiety about those who are not “Christian”, and mainstreaming of white supremacy and white racial resentment, are the fuel for toxic white masculinity. The right-wing media gins up and encourages such sentiments because it is dependent on them for viewers and ad revenue.

The Republican Party, meanwhile, is America’s most prominent white identity organization. Since the end of the civil rights movement, the modern GOP has fused together conservatism and racism as its name brand.

In many ways — the fetishistic embrace of guns, hostility to women’s rights, Islamophobia, symbolic and overt racism against black people — the policies and talking points of the contemporary Republican Party are toxic white masculinity as a campaign platform.  

[H]ostility and anxiety towards people who may have a different skin color than you is fool’s gold. White America’s leaders, and the plutocrats to whom they owe their allegiance, have been using that fake money to hustle and manipulate you for centuries. 


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