Angry White man ‘poses the most dangerous threat to democracy in America’: Is CNN right?
- On November 21, 2021, John Blake wrote an analysis for CNN, saying, “This angry White man has been a major character throughout US history. He gave the country slavery, the slaughter of Native Americans, and Jim Crow laws. His anger also helped fuel the January 6 Insurrection at the Capitol. [...] It’s this angry White man -- not the Black or brown man you see approaching on the street at night -- who poses the most dangerous threat to democracy in America.”
- Blake’s analysis spurs from recent US trials: the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the death of Ahmaud Arbery, and the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
- Reported reactions to CNN’s story include the tweet from conservative writer A.G. Hamilton decrying the “casual racism” from the “people at CNN,” and Media Research Center deputy managing editor Nicholas Fondacaro tweeting, “CNN has gone full racist.”
- The US Justice Department released an FBI study on hate crimes in 2020, reporting 11,129 offenses; of the 6,780 known offenders, 55.1% were White, 21.2% were Black, and 15.7% were unknown.
- A July 2020 Wall Street Journal poll reported 56% of respondents believe 'American society is racist.'
A recent CNN article claims that White men 'pose the most dangerous threat to democracy in America.' As we begin to chart the rise in violent rhetoric by majority-White conservative leaders to their majority-White constituents, we see a correlating increase in politically motivated violence. Gun ownership has deep-rooted ties to White supremacy, and along with White Americans' outsized history of perpetrating gun violence, the blueprint is in place for authoritarianism.
An AEI survey found nearly 40% of Republicans agreed that 'if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.' Exhibiting this type of violence was the attempted overthrow of the US government on January 6th. This attack stemmed from Trump stoking distrust in the 2020 election results. As a result, 36% of Americans refused to believe the election results, even with proof of its validity.
Polls show 87% of Republican respondents think America is going in the wrong direction. As the polarization of American politics continues, White men are increasingly turning to extremist views and violence. Kyle Rittenhouse killed two protestors. Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields, Jr. ran into a crowd with his vehicle. The Proud Boys continually harass and perpetuate violence. The backdrop to this violence is a slew of white men in the House of Representatives insinuating violence against their peers.
NYU History Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat states, 'When violence is accorded a patriotic value […] the conditions are right for authoritarian rule.' Radicalized white men threaten our democracy, and they have already begun attacking.
It is increasingly irresponsible of CNN to claim that an 'angry White man [...] poses the most dangerous threat to democracy in America.' Current media outlets stoke anger and division with these types of headlines. They are so focused on ratings they often forget to fact-check stories beforehand, not to mention check for outright racism against America's White demographic. Stories are often reported through a racialized lens and crafted to fit a political narrative rather than offering unbiased facts. This type of reporting divides the country and poses the biggest threat to American democracy.
For instance, the Kyle Rittenhouse case had nothing to do with race even though it was reported that way on CNN and other outlets. All parties involved were the same color. Darrell Brookes is an African American Milwaukee resident who drove his SUV into an active Christmas parade full of primarily Caucasian people in Wisconsin. This shows that any angry man can pose a threat to American society regardless of skin color. People should be judged for their actions and their character alone.
Obama had it right when he said that current media platforms and one-sided reporting allow 'Americans to choose their own distorted reality without a shared set of facts.' According to Wikipedia, 'The Angry White Man' is a racist stereotype. Likewise, this type of racialized stereotyping is a far bigger threat to American democracy than some pale-faced media-created boogeyman. Media outlets should report unbiased facts without the racial narrative. Until they do, they will be the biggest threats to American democracy.