The Unbearable Invisibility of White Masculinity: Innocence In the Age of White Male Mass Shootings (Participation)

Here is the excerpt from my piece.  Click to go to entire piece.  I encourage you to look at discussion.  Thoughts?

The Unbearable Invisibility of White Masculinity: Innocence In the Age of White Male Mass Shootings

David J. Leonard

I have been profiled my entire life as innocent. When disruptive in class, I was told that I was eccentric, that I needed to work on my focus. Growing up, I looked for fights and conflicts yet I never fit the profile of a juvenile delinquent. The chip on my shoulder never signified a thug; I was just a kid with a bad temper who needed to mature and grow out of it.

When I was pulled over in Emeryville, CA for speeding for several miles and asked multiple times by the police officer if there was a reason for my speeding, I told him the truth. “Officer, my ice cream is melting.”

No stop and frisk. No pretext stop. No humiliating search. No fear of how to hold my hands. No ticket. I, like Adam Lanza and James Holmes, the two most notorious mass shooters of the past year, am white male privilege personified. We are humanized and given voice and innocence over and over again.


The most recent shooting in Newtown highlights whiteness and the ways it has been rendered invisible after every mass shooting. Described as a “nerd,” who “still wears a pocket protector,” Adam Lanza has been reimagined as a character straight out of The Revenge of the Nerds series and not a cold-blood killer. He carried a brief case, not a gun; he read The Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men, not Guns and Ammo; he wore button down polos, not fatigues. His life was not extraordinary but was that of an average kid. From the reading list to the sartorial choices we have been sold a Normal Rockwell painting. The Associated Press painted a picture of Adam that imaged him as a character ripped out of a Brady Bunch script: “He was an honors student who lived in a prosperous neighborhood with his mother, a well-liked woman who enjoyed hosting dice games and decorating the house for the holidays

via The Unbearable Invisibility of White Masculinity: Innocence In the Age of White Male Mass Shootings.

via The Unbearable Invisibility of White Masculinity: Innocence In the Age of White Male Mass Shootings.


4 thoughts on “The Unbearable Invisibility of White Masculinity: Innocence In the Age of White Male Mass Shootings (Participation)

  1. The only thing I have a problem with when reading this article is the part where it says “the white middle-class flocked from cities into the suburbs and rural communities partially due to fear of black and Latino youth, integrated schools, and urban crime.” This is a huge assumption and quite frankly isn’t a fact at all. I may be defending myself but there are thousands of other reasons, besides being afraid, for people living in suburbs like Newtown rather than the middle of a big city. I think it has nothing to do with fear to be honest. While it is important to look at factors like race, you are thinking way too deeply and making something out of nothing if you suggest people live in suburbs like Newtown because they are scared of black people ur urban crime or Latino youth. Yeah maybe white people feel comfortable around people they have things in common with and those people just so happen to be white but I think where you live has nothing to do with how scared you are of another race, or crimes they may commit against you.

    • There is actually a lot of research on how fear (of crime, housing prices going down, etc) and its connection to race that is well-documented. Moreover, if you look at the history of suburbanization and the history of integration, you see the ways that race matters. Note, it does not say or refer to everyone but rather this is part of the history. Why do you think whites feel more comfortable around other whites — does a 4th generation Italian-American upper-middle class family have more in common with a first generation, working-class Orthodox Russian family than with an upper middle-lass African American family? How does ethnicity and race operate in different realms?

      Curious as to your thoughts on this article – or this

      We will be watching a film later in the semester on race and suburbanization

      • Now I think fear and racism are related only when it comes to children. Children see kids of a different race and they know that they are different from eachother and perhaps the fact they have different skin colors scares them. Its new to them. Then this fear leads to hate or ignorance or racism and whatnot as they grow older. I think if white adults are scared of other races and make their living choices based on that or where they send their kids to school based on that, then they have much bigger problems to worry about because they are letting skin color dictate their entire lives. I don’t think thats fear…I think thats being foolish or to be honest more like dumb

  2. America has this image of what a “shooter” should look like and be like. The physical, behavioral, racial and even the gender of a shooter has been profiled and when a case doesn’t fit this profile we wonder how we were ever suppose to see it coming. Our opposition to change our social profiling leaves us in a quake of confusion when some monstrosity such as the Newport shooting happens. A white male who is an honor student and who has a stable home environment couldn’t possibly be a crazy murderer. No way, that would go against social norm. This state of ignorance is quite dangerous. Why do we as a mass associate innocence with straight A’s and a compliant personality? There is no such thing as a “typical face of violence” and the sooner we grasp that concept the better.

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