Rush Limbaugh’s December 2018 Limbaugh Letter has an article titled “Demonizing White Men.” It highlights — with actual quotations from people in the media, academia and the political and entertainment arenas — the attack on white men as a class. You can decide whether these statements are decent, moral or even sensible. Should we support their visions?
Don Lemon, a CNN anchorman, said, “We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them.” Steven Clifford, former King Broadcasting CEO, said, “I will be leading a great movement to prohibit straight white males, who I believe supported Donald Trump by about 85 percent, from exercising the franchise (to vote), and I think that will save our democracy.” Teen Vogue, a magazine targeting teenage girls, wrote, “Not only is white male terrorism as dangerous as Islamic extremism, but our collective safety rests in rooting out the source of their radicalization.” Economist Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, wrote a column titled “The Angry White Male Caucus,” in which he explained, “Trumpism is all about the fear of losing traditional privilege.”
There have been similar despicable statements made by academics. James Livingston, a Rutgers history professor: “OK, officially, I now hate white people. … I hereby resign from my race. F— these people.” Stacey Patton, a Morgan State University professor: “There is nothing more dangerous in the United States than a white man who has expected to succeed and finds himself falling behind.” Stony Brook University sociology professor Michael Kimmel explained, “White men’s anger comes from the potent fusion of two sentiments: entitlement and a sense of victimization.”
Then there’s the political arena. Sen. Bernie Sanders: “There’s no question that in Georgia and in Florida racism has reared its ugly head. And you have candidates who ran against (Andrew) Gillum and ran against Stacey Abrams who were racist. … And that is an outrage.” Michael Avenatti, criticizing the GOP senators during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings: “These old white men still don’t understand that assault victims and women deserve respect and to be heard.” “What troubles me is … they’re all white men,” commented former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm regarding GOP senators questioning Christine Blasey Ford at the Kavanaugh hearings. William Falk, editor-in-chief of The Week, said, “There’s something odd about the overwhelming white maleness of Washington’s current leadership.”
Not to be outdone, entertainers have hopped on the demonizing-white-men bandwagon. Joy Behar, talking on ABC’s “The View” about senators supporting Kavanaugh, said: “These white men — old, by the way — are not protecting women. They’re protecting a man who is probably guilty.” Actress Gabourey Sidibe, also on “The View,” said: “Older white men are a problem, y’all, for everyone. We’re all at risk.” Moira Donegan wrote an article for The Guardian titled “Half of white women continue to vote Republican. What’s wrong with them?” Renee Graham wrote a column in The Boston Globe that counseled, “Memo to black men: Stop voting Republican.” Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “Just a friendly reminder for the weekend: No white after Labor Day, and no old, white racist men after the midterms. Get out and vote.”
That is just a partial list of statements that would be viewed and condemned as racist simply by replacing “white men” with “black men,” “Mexican men” or “Asian men.” You can bet the rent money that university presidents and media executives would sanction any of their employees for making similar broad, sweeping statements about nonwhite men. Suppose a white anchorman said, “Black people are the greatest murder threat in this country.” I guarantee you that he’d be shown the door.
There are only two ways to explain the silence by people who should know better. Either they agree with the sentiments expressed or they are out-and-out cowards. Decent American people ought to soundly reject and condemn this brazen attack on white men. I think that the attack is on masculinity itself and that white men are a convenient scapegoat — for now.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.