White People, Don’t Worry

I have noticed that in response to the tragic shooting in Oregon earlier this week there has been a huge upswing in posts arguing in favor for gun regulations— memes, comments and photos of statistics.  I understand that hearing about 8 white people being murdered in Oregon is alarming and it feels close to home, but I am here to let white people know that there is no need for alarm.  I understand that mass murder has been on the rise and they occur all the time…like, every day.  But, white people don’t get upset, don’t worry, you’re ok.  I had a chance to interview Doug McCallister, a white person, to help understand what the big concern is all about, Doug explains, “I just don’t understand, I thought we were supposed to be safe, I thought violent crime was something that happened over there, you know…..this isn’t supposed to happen to normal Americans, this isn’t how the system’s supposed to work — man, this is totally fucked up…”, Doug continues, “we need to find a way to stop this violence…damn, shit like this, it’s just wrong — those kids were white.”

I understand that our sensationalist white-people news does a disservice by embellishing these crimes and making them seem really, really scary;  but I will help put you to ease and let you know everything is still in order.  Yes, there has been a huge surge in mass murder in the United States, but to keep things in perspective, I will give you a break down of the statistics.  Over the last 30 years mass murder has accounted for 0.1% of all homicides — and, if you think using a broad-range figure like that does not account of the recent surge in mass murder, then note that in 2012 mass murder accounted for 0.0083% (and this figure used data that was rounded up to account for disparity in data interpretation) of all homicides.  Let me explain what that figure means:   for every 100,000 citizens, .027 died from a mass murder shooting.  You see, the threat of bodily harm to white people is pretty low— there is no need to be concerned.   That means you have nearly a 300% higher chance of being murdered in Denmark than being killed in a mass murder.  So I understand that it is very scary to hear about white people dying, but the situation is really not as bad as you think— being white in America has not lost any of its charm or privilege.

I spoke to a white friend about this issue and they explained to me that it has nothing to do with the victims being white, but it has to do with our systemically violent culture and the high homicide rate we have in comparison to our industrialized counterparts, and other such things.  I thought about this for a while and realized this makes completely no sense whatsoever, I mean, if this was the case then wouldn’t people be calling for gun regulations every time there was some spike in homicide— regardless of the race, class and gender of the victim?  How about back in May when Baltimore had the most homicides in a single month in over 40 years and this was on the heel of 2014 when Baltimore had a mind-blowing homicide rate of 33.1; and, if you recall back in May, white people where not discussing gun regulations in response to Baltimore’s horrendously violent month — no posts about crime, no memes, no statistics on crime, no call to action and no youtube video from Obama.   So if people were really concerned about violence in general, then you’d think there’d be a constant stream of complaints, right?   I mean, look at the disparity in these figures: you have a 122,500% higher chance of being murdered in Baltimore — and 213,700% in New Orleans in 2011—  than you do of being killed in a mass murder.   So even though the media coverage bombards us with these tragic stories of mass shootings and even though people can post these fantastic figures about how often mass murders occur, please note, in maintaining the social structure — or what Henry Kissinger called “the overall framework of order” — everything is still in order.  There has been no dent made in white privilege — white people, you’re ok.

I know what you must be thinking, it’s unfair to use Baltimore, or New Orleans, or St. Louis, or Newark or any of these cities, because in those places violence is kind of a given, it is to be expected that the violence will be high — I mean, if you choose to live in one of those cities, you obviously made a calculated risk and it is what it is.  If you don’t wanna be murdered, then don’t live in a town with high murder rates— right?  Things should be perceived in relation— like, for example, if you choose to live in East St. Louis you should understand that you have a higher than average chance of being murdered, and conversely, in Roseburg, Oregon, which is 91% white people, you have an extremely low chance of being murdered; incidents of murder in Roseburg are an outlier, but in East St. Louis murder is so commonplace that any particular incident of murder has no statistical significance, or, in other words, it’s not news worthy—  it does not matter to anybody, especially white people.   Because, as we all know, what really matters is that white people remain safe.  So, white people, don’t worry, you will be fine —  the hegemony has been maintained.

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