The article by Hugo Schwyzer entitled “Why Most Mass Murders are Privileged White Men” took a very interesting viewpoint on how white, middle-class men are more prone to taking their anger and frustrations out by shooting up public places then are many other races. In his argument I think that Schwyzer makes some valid points. I think it is interesting how Schwyzer points out that when a man of color is responsible for a mass shooting, it is commonplace procedure to immediately look for connections between his race or religion and the reasons for his behavior. When a white man commits a mass murder however, the reasons for his actions are assumed to be a psychological problem or sickness. I found this to be striking because of how unreasonable it is to assume that a person’s race would be a reason they commit a crime. Yet it is something I see in the media and never before thought to question. I think this is an example of what Stuart Hall would define as inferential racism because this practice is unquestioned, and these statements are made without even being aware of the racism underlying these assumptions. Further I believe that this is an example of inferential racism because Schwyzer indicated that when men of color murder it is natural for the first thought to be that it may partially relate to their race, this furthers the ideology that “blacks are the source of the problem”
Schwyzer makes an argument throughout the article that the white middle-class male is accustomed to being welcomed and heard in all public spaces. He asserts that when this innate sense of entitlement gets frustrated it is these men that are the most likely to react with violence, and to act in public spaces because they see these spaces as their own. I disagree with Schwyzer’s view in this case because while I think that it is very possible for middle to upper class white men to have a sense of entitlement in public spaces, I cannot see how simply this sense of entitlement can make them so much more likely to react with such high levels of violence. Rather, I think that regardless of race or socio-economic background mental illness must be at the core of any mass murder. However I do agree that it is possible that due to their comfort level and confidence in public spaces white, privileged men may be more likely to choose a public space as the setting for their acts of violence, yet they are no more likely to commit an act than members of any other race or ethnicity.
This article deals with many ideologies concerning race, and socioeconomic standing; it exemplifies how the media can be used as a powerful source of racial ideologies through the ways in which news events are related to the general public. Overall while I think that while Hugo Schwyzer makes some valid arguments, he is unjustified in his assumptions that a heightened sense of entitlement is responsible for the majority of mass murderers being privliged white men. I think it takes a lot more than confidence and comfort in public to motivate any man to commit such extreme acts of violence.