As the nation struggles to make sense of the horrifying massacre that took place in Las Vegas last night, one can already see a disturbing narrative forming around the shooter, Steven Paddock, that illustrates how deeply white supremacy and white privilege is entrenched in our nation and the media.
Observers were quick to note that the language used by preliminary reports – “lone wolf,” “local” shooter, “gunman,” “distraught person” all clearly indicated that he was white. Otherwise, he would have been labeled a “terrorist,” which is code for “nonwhite, usually Muslim.”
Sheriff says officials aren't labeling it terrorism because shooter could just be a "distraught person."
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 2, 2017
But it was a stunning headline from the Washington Post that really puts the issue into perspective.
white privilege is committing the largest shooting in American history and being fondly memorialized as a country music fan pic.twitter.com/RQpTsc63jn
— Ace (@AMillennialDog) October 2, 2017
The man who systematically murdered 58 people and wounded over five hundred more is being remembered for “enjoyment” of gambling and for living a “quiet life.” There’s no mention of his high-stakes gambling, his father’s history of crime, his “aggressively unfriendly” demeanor.
On the other hand, when Ferguson teenager Michael Brown was murdered by a police officer, the New York Times said he was “no angel” because he once stole a box of smokes, enjoyed intoxicating substances, and liked that nasty hip-hop style rap music.
It just goes to shine a light on the uncomfortable double standard that the media treats white men and people of color – and how deeply entrenched those double standards are. There is absolutely no reason to humanize this monster.
When you’re a white adult & committed the worst massacre in American history vs. when you’re a black child and did nothing wrong. pic.twitter.com/GyOpzoLvcb
— jordan ghoul ????☠️???? (@JordanUhl) October 2, 2017
Chancellor of Germany Adolf Hitler enjoyed painting, opera, lived quiet life before World War II pic.twitter.com/Hi2UwrHivr
— Orli Matlow (@HireMeImFunny) October 2, 2017