By Mark Karlin
Michael Kimmel, author of Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era, believes that the incendiary rage of many resentful white males will ultimately succumb to an altered cultural context.
"Angry white men rage for our attention, yes, but that era of assumed male entitlement to all the positions of power and wealth is coming to an end." Kimmel told Truthout. "Men can be dragged kicking and screaming into that inevitable future, or we can accept it and ask what it means for us."
Truthout recently interviewed Kimmel, who is a sociology professor and executive director at the Center of the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University in New York.
Nicely put! Some white males are mad as hell not that minorities or gays or women aren't "kept in their place" anymore, but more that they feel that "they" are taking places that were "rightfully ours." Race (being white) and gender (being men) are the frameworks they use to describe what I think is actually a phenomenon that has more to do with class.
You dissect "The Rage of the American Working Man" in Chapter Six. Of course, the inevitable question is why is so much of that rage aimed at minorities instead of upward at primarily other white males who are exploiting them?
Good question, I ask myself this all the time. Sometimes, in my interviews, I felt like I was listening to a gendered version of Thomas Frank's book, What's the Matter with Kansas? as I listened to men blame those below them on the socioeconomic ladder for problems that were caused by those far above them. Such misdirection is massaged and manipulated. Men's anger is real--in the sense that they have often been badly done by. But just to say that it's a real feeling doesn't make it "true"--that is, it is not an accurate analysis of what caused their situation. Just remember that the anger of men who feel (or who actually have been) dispossessed can go to the right or the left. Timothy McVeigh or Tom Joad.