Jackson Katz on How The Right Mobilizes White Male Anger

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
martin dufresne
Jackson Katz on How The Right Mobilizes White Male Anger

U.S. profeminist Jackson Katz has written a FABULOUS piece on the Huffington Post:
Rush Limbaugh and the Mobilization of White Male Anger in the Health Care debate

"Rush Limbaugh's critics have long noted the factual errors and tortured
logic that are regular features of his radio program. Not surprisingly,
little has changed over the past few months as he has put his stamp on the
health care debate. But Limbaugh does not only distort arguments about
complex issues like health care through deliberate falsehoods and bad
reasoning. His persuasive power lies mostly in his emotional connection with
his audience.

"Any serious attempt to understand how Limbaugh has made himself into the
nation's most influential conservative, and why he has been so effective in
shaping the debate about health care, must account for this part of his
appeal - especially to those in his primary demographic: middle-aged and
older white men.

"One of Rush Limbaugh's greatest strengths as a rhetorical alchemist is the
way he turns fear into anger - especially men's fear. Limbaugh regularly
takes (white) men's sadness, disappointment and apprehension - about a range
of political and personal subjects -- and interprets it for them as anger.
This is effective, in part, because for so many men, anger is much less
treacherous emotional terrain than other emotions - and much more socially
acceptable." (...)

Read it in full here

George Victor

A good take on Limbaugh's pitch and effective strategy. Where he centers his pitch.

But surely we can refine his audience from older and out of work and frightened white men and natural conservatives protecting their hoard to, perhaps, include the more gullible, less-schooled (and so more out of work) of both sexes, and just plain "redneck", a category that hates "handouts" as demeaning. Many working women in that category down thataway. Joe Bageant shows how they are a real category, defines them with  care, and has no ready answer for their escape from their entrapment and gullibility in the face of the Limbaughs. And I didn't see the audience chart, but there must be the occasional woman listening in?

martin dufresne

Katz mentions older men as Rush's "primary demographic". There certanly are women listening but they can be seduced into empathy for aggrieved males, as men remain, unfortunately, our standard of Everyman.


George Victor

More likely Real Women than real women, like?  Beyond my ken. My religious relatives in the U.S. would match that kind obsequiousness - except that they can't stomach Limbaugh.

martin dufresne

Great Op-Ed from Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad on the racial dynamics of the current crisis in the U.S.:

The Recession's Racial Divide


WHAT do you get when you combine the worst economic downturn since the Depression with the first black president? A surge of white racial resentment, loosely disguised as a populist revolt. An article on the Fox News Web site has put forth the theory that health reform is a stealth version of reparations for slavery: whites will foot the bill and, by some undisclosed mechanism, blacks will get all the care. President Obama, in such fantasies, is a dictator and, in one image circulated among the anti-tax, anti-health reform "tea parties," he is depicted as a befeathered African witch doctor with little tusks coming out of his nostrils. When you're going down, as the white middle class has been doing for several years now, it's all too easy to imagine that it's because someone else is climbing up over your back.

Despite the sense of white grievance, though, blacks are the ones who are taking the brunt of the recession, with disproportionately high levels of foreclosures and unemployment. And they weren't doing so well to begin with. At the start of the recession, 33 percent of the black middle class was already in danger of falling to a lower economic level, according to a study by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University and Demos, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.

In fact, you could say that for African-Americans the recession is over. It occurred from 2000 to 2007, as black employment decreased by 2.4 percent and incomes declined by 2.9 percent. During those seven years, one-third of black children lived in poverty, and black unemployment - even among college graduates - consistently ran at about twice the level of white unemployment. (...)

So despite the right-wing perception of black power grabs, this recession is on track to leave blacks even more economically disadvantaged than they were. Does a black president who is inclined toward bipartisanship dare address this destruction of the black middle class? Probably not. But if Americans of all races don't get some economic relief soon, the pain will only increase and with it, perversely, the unfounded sense of white racial grievance.

Full piece here