Are Serial Killers Privileged White Men?

Professor Hugo Schwyer wrote a piece shortly after the Aurora Colorado killings that suggested that White males who are experiencing a sense of “cognitive dissonance” because they are no longer warmly welcomed in their societies, may experience psychotic snaps and that may lead them to take out their anger on folks not directly related to them.

It seems that he is looking at data that we can’t say that one race, or ethnicity kills more than another, although we can say that it is generally men who kill -( that isnt’ to say that women don’t kill people, it’s just a numbers thing- more men do).  The difference is that men of lower socio-economic, or of ethnicities or races other than “white” tend to kill close family members instead of strangers.


What I’m taking away from this article is a bit of a concern…the professor pointed out that when we have a Muslim shooter, or a Korean shooter we look at their societies, or their communities, or their socialization to arrive at an answer, or to try to explain their anger or their frustration.  When a White guy does it, we say he was evil personified.  That worries me.

When a mental health profile asks about an individual participating in their unique social heritage in order to demonstrate the health of that person- you have to begin asking what does that mean for Whites?  When professors say that shootings are an outgrowth of some existential angst because Whites are no longer as welcome into their societies as they once were because of the “browning of America” what does that mean for Whites?

I personally find it strange that I don’t have an answer for what my cultural heritage means.  I’m someone who was raised in an Irish Catholic family.  We had lots of fights and “excommunications” as well as a lot of messy love.  But  how does any of that connect to a social construct that I can use in my life?  What is my life about?   And what traditions should I be passing along to my kids based on their heritage?

In cultures long established there are positions within the group for people who carry forth the stories and traditions of the people.  I think we’ve all been trying to accept that the Earth is a multi-cultural place, but in doing that, we may have forgotten to create strong links to who we are.

I’m not trying to stir up any trouble here, I don’t think Whites or Blacks, or Asians, or Hispanics, or Native Americans, or New Zealanders, or any mix of those groups should feel more welcome or more privileged, but I do feel that we should be spending more time as individuals thinking about our roots and what they mean for our futures…together!



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