About Those Angry White Guys…

Like many women, I am still fuming over the Kavanaugh hearing. Not only was a man elevated to the Court who clearly has no business being there–for multiple reasons, not simply the very credible accusations of sexual assault–but women were dismissed, diminished and disregarded in ways that still infuriate me.

After the hearing, I posted about the extreme anger that permeates contemporary political life, and what I see as the reasons for that anger. It probably isn’t surprising that I see some  as righteous, and some as considerably less so. Those displaying the latter type, I wrote,

are primarily White Christians (disproportionately but not exclusively male) who have a well-founded fear that they soon will be robbed of their cultural dominance and privilege. They are reacting with fury to culture change and the increasing claims to a place at the civic table by LGBTQ, black and brown people, and women. Robert Jones has documented their resentment and rage in his recent book, The End of White Christian America.

It wasn’t just an analysis from one feminist blogger. A few days ago, Paul Krugman’s column made a similar point.

When Matt Damon did his Brett Kavanaugh imitationon “Saturday Night Live,” you could tell that he nailed it before he said a word. It was all about the face — that sneering, rage-filled scowl. Kavanaugh didn’t sound like a judge at his Senate hearing last week, let alone a potential Supreme Court justice; he didn’t even manage to look like one.

But then again, Lindsey Graham, who went through the hearing with pretty much the same expressionon his face, didn’t look much like a senator, either.

There have been many studies of the forces driving Trump support, and in particular the rage that is so pervasive a feature of the MAGA movement. What Thursday’s hearing drove home, however, was that white male rage isn’t restricted to blue-collar guys in diners. It’s also present among people who’ve done very well in life’s lottery, whom you would normally consider very much part of the elite.

Krugman referenced the considerable body of research debunking the notion–advanced by good-hearted albeit naive liberals– that Trump supporters were economically insecure.

What distinguished Trump voters was, instead, racial resentment. Furthermore, this resentment was and is driven not by actual economic losses at the hands of minority groups, but by fear of losing status in a changing country, one in which the privilege of being a white man isn’t what it used to be.

That resentment isn’t confined to people who are economically insecure. It isn’t even more prevalent among them.

And this sort of high-end resentment, the anger of highly privileged people who nonetheless feel that they aren’t privileged enough or that their privileges might be eroded by social change, suffuses the modern conservative movement.

As Krugman points out, that “high end resentment” positively oozes out of Trump. And Kavanaugh is cut from the same cloth.

As a lot of reporting shows, the angry face Kavanaugh presented to the world last week wasn’t something new, brought on by the charges of past abuse. Classmates from his Yale days describe him as a belligerent heavy drinker even then. His memo to Ken Starr as he helped harass Bill Clinton — in which he declared that “it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear” — shows rage as well as cynicism.

And Kavanaugh, like Trump, is still in the habit of embellishing his academic record after all these years, declaring that he got into Yale despite having “no connections.” In fact, he was a legacy student whose grandfather went there.

Adding insult to perceived injury,

An increasingly diverse society no longer accepts the God-given right of white males from the right families to run things, and a society with many empowered, educated women is finally rejecting the droit de seigneur once granted to powerful men.

And nothing makes a man accustomed to privilege angrier than the prospect of losing some of that privilege, especially if it comes with the suggestion that people like him are subject to the same rules as the rest of us.



  1. The long list of why Kavanaugh should never have been nominated to the highest court in the land was ignored as he denied the Senate Judicial Committee access to necessary documentation of his past judicial history. That issue was brought up numerous times during the original hearing by Democratic Senators; Kavanaugh either did not or could not provide answers to vital questions put to him and Republican members of the Committee simply spouted partisan anger at Democrats for wanting answers.

    Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was forced into a position of baring to the Committee, this entire country and the world at large, the worst time in her life and the lasting effects it imposed on her as a girl and a woman. Kavanaugh’s ridiculous anger filled, pitiful and blatantly partisan display during that hearing should have disqualified him. Trump blandly approved the abbreviated FBI investigation with his short list of those allowed to be questioned and turned the entire basis of Kavanaugh appointment on an accused sexual attack which the victim stated cold NOT be proved. It should have opened the Kavanaugh investigation to his past history as a heavy drinker and his habit of debasing all girls and women which should have been uncovered in the first SIX FBI investigations. All FBI investigation results should be made public as this appointment will effect this country for many years to come.

    This entire Kavanaugh situation was a sham from beginning to its horrendous swearing in of another religious, far right-wing conservative, blatantly partisan Republican white man with decades left to serve in his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Followed by a second ceremonial swearing in for Trump to once again prove he can and will get his way.

    Trump has again projected his and his administration’s words, actions and intentions onto we “liberals” as being of mob intelligence. The true mob consists of his own “fine people” who make up his neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK faction who have been turned loose on society as they scream “LOCK HER UP” for every woman he names in his rallies. Where are those Democratic rallies he is referring to as mobs?


  2. Your (indeed our) anger is justified. But recent polling indicates that it is self defeating. Trump is gaining ground precisely by pinning our anger on us while ignoring (and indeed stoking) that of his supporters. We may on the verge, yet again, of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

  3. After all that, the right has labeled the women and men who protested “an angry mob.” In the Tea Party days, protesters were just called “constituents.” It’s all about the messaging, people.


  4. The phrase “Just put women in charge” is as simplistic and as unrealistic as that long time favorite phrase “Boys will be boys.” Both carry a grain of truth in their words, and so they appeal to those who do not want to do the heavy lifting of thinking for them self. But neither phrase should settle any argument over the events of the Kavanaugh hearings.
    All men are not misogynistic overbearing assholes. All women are not truthful carrying souls waiting only for their turn to make decisions. Learning to recognize truthful and carrying souls in both sexes is the responsibility of all. Developing and maintaining a conscience that demands one to support only the “good” is not only the responsibility of the individual, but is also the responsibility of society. When enough people and institutions fail at these responsibilities we get leaders like Trump who put Kavanaugh up and those who supported his appointment.

  5. In my mind right now every woman in this Nation (on the face of this Earth for that matter,) should just ‘walk out’ – leave the family with the men. Leave all work, ALL WORK! and come together and create a ‘Woman’s City’ around D.C. and those of us enlightened enough help them with logistical stuff to get them started then help them out with all we can! – and JUST SHUT THIS ECONOMY DOWN. The old white men will listen then.. the old Black, Hispanic, Chicano, Native, and whoever will listen then as well! Equal Rights with Equal Pay, AND NO LAWS AGAINST A WOMAN’S DECISIONS ON HER BODY, Sexual assault victims will be heard and whatever rights that must be made should then be made! Make it so for men as well. You want to not just get mad – but REALLY STOP THE INSANITY – do it. It worked in Ancient Greece (that first democracy…) and that was much more of a woman debasing society! Just think what would happen if Women just walked out~!

  6. Sheila needs to read Naomi Klein’s article, “The Rule of Pampered Princelings” in The Intercept…the quotable nuggets abound:

    “We like to pretend that no such thing as a ruling class has ever darkened an American shore or danced by the light of an American moon,” former Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham once remarked.

    This was never true. The American political system began as a protection racket for propertied white men, granting inalienable rights to a minority at the direct expense of enslaved Africans and women. Serious proposals to level the playing field — from a truly integrated public school system to fair wages for domestic work — were squashed again and again.”

    Krugman pulls away from the truth because he wants to be published in our American media. 😉

    Anyway, the word you’re searching for is “entitlement”. It comes from the EGO and self-centered fear…the fear I may lose something I possess or the fear I may not obtain something I feel I deserve.

    Notice all the “I’s” associated with EGO. 😉

    Pampered Princelings is a perfect description because as we’ve learned, none of these assholes were self-made…they are legacy riders. All they did was be born into wealth and privilege. Silver spooned darlings.

    They were all given anything they ever wanted and as many others have pointed out, as well as Naomi, much of what they did get was due to family pressure. Do you think Yale professors were allowed to fail these rich princelings? LOL

    Not a chance.

    So, what happens when these pampered princelings are introduced into the real world outside their protected familial gardens?

    They get resentful because not everyone rolls over to make it easy for them. Oh, trust me, most still do. Sycophants abound in this country because we idolize the rich and famous. We even think because they are rich and famous their words have more meaning than others.

    I honestly believe the progressive speeches made by Bernie and company about their wealth and income has raised resentments to all the Pampered Princelings who’ve enjoyed decades of protection by sycophantic worshippers. The mere fact we are talking about them not deserving what they have is ticking them off.

    They’ve been manipulating the government to their favor for generations but it may finally be coming to an end but if you think they will voluntarily hand over their inherited wealth to improve the lives of all citizens, you’re sadly mistaken. We’ll have to pry it from their entitled little fingers.

  7. JoAnn —
    I wonder, based solely on fairness, your statement that was also widely asserted in the media:

    Judge Kavanaugh “denied the Senate Judicial Committee access to necessary documentation of his past judicial history” —

    –so, for fairness sake, I’d like to know what of “his past judicial history” could be withheld considering that “his past judicial history” from the bench must already be part of public record….

    ….or, if something outside of the public record was known, why wasn’t it spilled by the press?

    My reason for considering him unfit for confirmation was based entirely on his disgusting performance (and Graham’s) at the infamous committee hearing.

    Based on suspicion alone, I would question the soon-to-be-forgotten Jeff Flake “Solution” for what it was planned to be: Confirmation by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP majority thereby removing any risk of failure in the committee and gaining the stamp of imprimatur of Senate “constitutional due process”.

    What will the Electorate do on November 6th? I’ll vote to return Joe Donnelly to the Senate for another term as part of my BLUE VOTE and for Donnelly’s “NO” vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation. We Democrats will watch Donnelly’s GOP-Lite Senate voting on issues.

    Let’s reduce the Congressional GOP to minority status, retire McConnell and get some control over the embarrassing moronic idiocy in the White House. VOTE BLUE

  8. OMG, those withheld documents are from the years that Kavanaugh served with Ken Star investigating Clinton and when he served the Bush administration as a legal adviser. Lots of dirty doings then particularly with the rendition programs.

  9. Everybody –
    Read Rev. Manuel Colunga-Hernandez today. Message: Get Mad as Hell
    VOTE No! to GOP

  10. Ms. Kennedy on racial resentment: “That resentment isn’t confined to people who are economically insecure. It isn’t even more prevalent among them.”

    I respectfully think this statement is overreach. I agree that there is a lot of evidence that racial resentment was a driving forces in Trump’s election. But I again assert that there is also a compelling body of evidence that economic and social distress in rural and rust belt America were at least equally determinate of the election outcome. For example:


    This is important because, as time has proven again and again in America, attitudes based on economic and social conditions are more amenable to change than changing racial prejudice, as distressing as that is.

  11. Maybe white male dominance in society is an inherited thing from our European ancestors. In addition to the comments above, white males and their churches led the genocides on aboriginal Americans to satisfy “manifest destiny”. All this white guy whining and posturing is “normal” to white guys.

    The pity of it is that so many white women go along with these pathetic men as they attempt to race back to the 18th century. The white guy rage is, as stated, based on fear of losing power. The re-labeling and projections of their antagonists will continue until they are no longer in power. It’s called progress, and these angry, fearful, backward white guys will fight that all the way. Let’s just hope that there is an end game.

  12. Teresa – Thank you. And of course you’re right, but Senators might conclude that was politics and this is now.
    I’m worried about the future.
    It was enough for me to disqualify BK due to his displayed out-of-control temperament though I’m sure he was coached on how to react with more outrage than with the successful Clarence Thomas.

    Let’s see what the chain of courts will do with a R v W case that is or may be in the pipeline.

  13. “–so, for fairness sake, I’d like to know what of “his past judicial history” could be withheld considering that “his past judicial history” from the bench must already be part of public record….

    ….or, if something outside of the public record was known, why wasn’t it spilled by the press?”

    OMG; it was widely reported by the press and repeatedly in the media that the Senate Judicial Committee was not provided with thousands of requested Kavanaugh’s documents – his documents which were required by the Committee. Those 42,000 which were provided the night BEFORE the hearing with no opportunity to study was also widely reported.

    Exactly what was investigated by the FBI in those SIX investigations prior to the hearing that did not uncover his college and law school years – leave aside his high school “boys will be boys” antics. The media has been inundated with Trump’s crap and his SCOTUS nominee list, once he made the Kavanaugh nomination, left little if any time to research.

    “My reason for considering him unfit for confirmation was based entirely on his disgusting performance (and Graham’s) at the infamous committee hearing.”

    Am I correct in assuming the “infamous committee hearing” on which you based your decision to be after the interrogation of Dr. Ford? Did you not watch the initial Committee questioning of Kavanaugh during which he exhibited much the same innocuous, evasive demeanor we saw escalated during his 2nd questioning? He couldn’t and wouldn’t answer much he same questions in both and did evidence anger during the initial hearing.

    As for Jeff Flake and his last minute “solution”; was it a planned bit of Republican party grandstanding as his previous talking out of one side of his mouth on issues but voting straight party/Trump down the line? Or did he believe there would be no FBI investigation but he would look good when he returns home at the end of this year? Trump responded too fast to the “request” for that bogus FBI investigation for any of us to expect anything of value to be found. It centered on disproving Dr. Ford’s reported sexual attack which she herself said the few friends she remembered being at that particular party had no memory of it among all the parties they attended. She also stated outright, “They didn’t remember because nothing happened to them.” The FBI “investigation” proved her words to be the truth – they didn’t remember that particular party out of all the parties they attended.


  14. Thank you Sheila,

    While in no way am I trying to minimize this situation and its import, we’re being overwhelmed by one ongoing horror story after another, emanating from either the White House or the upper chamber of the Congress. While not trying to actually add to the angst that we already feel regarding was happening in this country and also its relations with other countries, most notably Saudi Arabia right now, this country is on the verge of blowing its stack. Donald Trump and those that help him at it’s a population of this country, from both here and abroad, have done and continue to do an extremely thorough job of pitting us against each other ill of aiding the division’s and am always existed to full blown rage.

    We need to adopt a more global view of what is happening to us and rise against the driving force of the daily news cycle and come up with concrete plans to defeats what amounts to a direct attack on this country. The first step in this, of course, is to ensure that all better registered to vote do so next month. Voting is our traditional handle on enacting change in our governmental system and those that infest it and in this case its importance can and no way be understated. We are in very dire straits right now and if we don’t stop this is going to get infinitely worse. What is happening must be stopped in its tracks and with all the recent revelations about Donald Trump’s financial malfeasance that, no doubt, Robert Mueller already knows about the time to act and get the information accumulated through Mr. Mueller’s investigations out in the open is quickly approaching crisis stage.

    The impact of angry white men and anyone else that shares those attitudes are not going to mean a whole lot if the whole shebang goes right into the dumper which would be an abject catastrophe of incalculable proportions. Things are just that bad and they’re bound to get worse, potentially much worse.

  15. now try living in the working mans enviroment all day. my own fears match the opening salvo that makes todays subject upfront. my own attitude has changed,to keep a look over my own shoulder and. prefering today,to associate more with minorities,and my first in line at my employment. i enjoy life,but its getting like im a minority in my white skin. if you have ever dealed with the so called white supremacist type,im sure your seeing,even the low wage white worker,throwing his two cents in,as seeing a trouble being started. trump enabled the latest,but this has been under the radar for decades,its only been accepted now. the biggest issue,they really believe its the way it should be. seems fox newes brews this hate,and seperation,via a mass audiance,of the ignorant on knowlege,and shorter on brains. i can say this,im working class,standing in this working class mob. seems the new fox game is saying the liberal left is akin to the brown shirts 1932 germany.maybe a look in the mirror they dont have is needed. north dakota is a hotbed,of good ol boy smiles,and shun anyone who doesnt agree. they dont listen except to a bigot aggenda they feel doesnt include them.its just a way of,life.
    of course they go to church,work hard,live a so called clean life,until there’s money involved. i read daily,some of the best journalism wrote,follow like a dog on a bone issues,well before this hoax started.my reading subjects were along the wages and civil rights,equality,and looking out for us.. now its a war,and its brewing something deeper. reread some of the rise of the third reich,and see how its a mirror image of 1932 today..

  16. jack smith, you see a world that I see too. And your comment, “of course they go to church, work hard, live a so called clean life,until there’s money involved” hit the nail on the head. Thanks for that.

  17. John Neal, if you want to see prime examples illustrating Prof. Kennedy’s point, drive through the subdivisions of Carmel, IN, where you will see wealthy homeowners with their DT and other Republican candidate signs littering their lawns (where their HOAs allow it). Carmel is the wealthiest, whitest, college educated community in the state, votes Republican to the point where many offices, until this cycle, are uncontested. The racial animus and anger at loss of entitlement is evident everywhere you look. And the majority would identify as christian.

  18. JD; wise words regarding the Emerald City of Carmel, Indiana. My very small struggling to maintain low-middle class status neighborhood had ELEVEN Trump yard signs; my neighbor and I had “Bernie For President”, there was ONE Hillary sign and ONE Hillary decal posted in my friend’s SUV rear window. Now; I have my “Andre Carson for Congress” yard sign posted…not one other sign for any candidate anywhere in this neighborhood. Have my neighbors lost all hope in the current Republican administration…NO WAY…they are all simply confident yard signs are not needed as they are assured a win on November 6th. By the way; they are predominantly members of nearby Catholic churches.

    Whatever the situation in the White House in 2020; I have my “Pence Must Go” sign and plan to post it again.


  19. JD

    I don’t dispute Ms. Kenenedy’s point or yours about racial resentment. I am just adding economic and social distress were also in play as an abundance of research supports.

    If it were purely racial resentment, how would you explain Obama’s back to back elections? Further, how would you explain this fact. If the counties who voted for Obama twice and then voted for Trump, had voted for Clinton, she would be President.

  20. New York City is only 44% white but it hasn’t slowed down the white males on Wall Street, in real estate, in business, in law firms, in media, in entertainment, in tourism, in medicine, etc.

  21. Manuel Colunga-Hernandez, i say your suggestion is sensible and serious. We all know there is something brewing and unfortunately i don’t think it’s what you suggest. If it were we would find out just how much power women really have and this mess we are watching would rapidly come to a screeching halt.
    Revolt is what is needed now because reason is not winning.
    Jack Smith I see what you see and in my opinion pockets of white America are running scared and are only too eager to blame uncomfortable change on those who are different. When people get scared they get mean and violent.

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