The Legend of the Persecuted White Guy

Nice article on Salon.

Newsweek’s iteration of this Persecuted White Guy story, which claims that the economy is now rigged to make sure white males “don’t have a freakin’ prayer,” follows USA Today’s implication that “older white males [are] hurt more by this recession” than anyone else, and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s (subsequently discredited) argument that “white anxiety” is justified because white working-class students are supposedly among “the most underrepresented groups” at elite universities.

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In each version of the legend, the characters and specific events change — sometimes the stars are beefy white guys watching factories leave “real America” for Mexico, other times it’s celebrated “Office Park Dads” in coastal enclaves seeing their jobs offshored to China. Either way, the establishment media’s official story never seems to deviate from the tale of D-FENS in the 1993 film “Falling Down”: Virtuous, patriotic white males are under more intense assault than any other group.

To be sure, many individual white males have been hurt by past recessions, and many more have been hit hard by this one, too. But the obsessive and disproportionate focus on the plight of this particular demographic actually contradicts the underlying theory of white victimhood. Far from being “forgotten,” persecuted or “without a freakin’ prayer,” white men still very much retain their cherished privilege, so much so that their problems are presented by the media as the most pressing national emergency — even when, on the whole, white men still occupy a comparatively enviable position in our economy.

One thought on “The Legend of the Persecuted White Guy

  1. […] The authors of the paper said they believe – though their statistics do not address this – that there’s a “reverse discrimination effect” behind the figures.  That is, recent discussions about affirmative action have led to the perception of minority advantages.  It’s unclear just what they are referring to, but the comments of, e.g., Rush Limbaugh, on affirmative action are certainly very often wrong.  For example, he takes Barack and Michelle Obama to have each cheated better deserving whites of places at their colleges.  For another example of a commentator spreading error about access to higher education, see Jender’s recent post here. […]

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