Angry white male

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"Angry white male" is a pejorative expression[1][2] for white males holding conservative to reactionary views in the context of U.S. politics, typically characterized by "opposition to liberal anti-discriminatory policies" and beliefs.[3] In particular, angry white males stereotypically oppose affirmative action policies and feminism.[1][4]


The term was popularized in reference to a political voting bloc which emerged in the early 1990s as a reaction to perceived injustices faced by white men in the face of affirmative action quotas in the workplace. Angry white men are characterised as having animosity toward young people, women or minorities.[5] Supporters of Donald Trump have been described by some political commentators as angry white men.[6][7][8][9]

In Australia[edit]

The rhetoric of the angry white man is not limited to the United States. It appeared during Australia's 1998 federal elections.[10] New political parties appeared in that election due to the preexisting fathers' rights movement in Australia. These included the Abolish Family Support/Family Court Party and the Family Law Reform Party.[10] Similar to the usage of the term in the United States, the Australian men categorized as angry white men opposed what they perceived as the feminist agenda. These political parties were created as a reaction to the historic number of women elected to the House of Representatives.[10] Members of these groups claimed that "feminists have entrenched themselves in positions of power and influence in government and are using their power to victimise men".[10]

The Liberal Party (major centre-right) senator Eric Abetz, arguing against Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, says it's "passing strange" that the Australian Human Rights Commission does not seem to care about what he perceives as "racist terminology" such as angry white man but it does care if another color is used to describe someone: "One cannot help but think that the term 'white' can only refer to skin colour and therefore [you] are making reference to a skin colour [and] one assumes it must have been on the basis of race that the comment was made".[11]

However, in the example Abetz gives, the phrase 'angry white man' or indeed 'angry black woman' would be exempt from Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 if it is a fair and accurate report.[12] That is, if the phrase is used to describe a man who is white and angry or a woman who is black and angry, then it is not considered racial vilification under the act.

In popular culture[edit]

The term is applied to those believed to be opposed to the Civil Rights Movement and second-wave feminism.[13]

The movies Joe,[14] Falling Down, God Bless America, and Clint Eastwood's performances in both the Dirty Harry series and Gran Torino have been described as definitive explorations of the angry white man.[15][16][17] In particular, the protagonist of Falling Down (a divorced, laid-off defense worker who descends via chance and choice into a spiral of increasing rage and violence) was widely reported upon as a representative of the stereotype.[18] He is puzzled by where he ended up and asks, "I'm the Bad Guy? (Police Sergeant 'Yeah') How'd that happen? I did everything they told me to. Did you know I build missiles? I helped to protect America. You should be rewarded for that."[19]

The character Archie Bunker from the TV sitcoms All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place "turned the angry white male into a cultural icon", according to CBS News.[20] The actor Carroll O'Connor who played Archie Bunker said paraphrasing James Baldwin, "The American white man is trapped by his own cultural history. He doesn't know what to do about it."[21] O'Connor goes on to say:

Archie's dilemma is coping with a world that is changing in front of him. He doesn't know what to do, except to lose his temper, mouth his poisons, look elsewhere to fix the blame for his own discomfort. He isn't a totally evil man. He's shrewd. But he won't get to the root of his problem, because the root of his problem is himself, and he doesn't know it. That is the dilemma of Archie Bunker.[21]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "angry white male". Oxford Dictionaries.
  2. ^ Dent, Susie (2003). The Language Report. Oxford University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-19-860860-8.
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2006, angry white male n. (also with capital initials) Polit. (orig. and chiefly U.S.) a (usually working-class) white man with-right wing views (typically including opposition to liberal anti-discriminatory policies), esp. viewed as representing an influential class of voter
  4. ^ Reeher, Grant; Cammarano, Joseph (1996). "In Search of the Angry White Male". In Niemi, Richard G. (ed.). Midterm: The Elections of 1994 in Context. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 125–36. ISBN 978-0-8133-2818-8.
  5. ^ Michael S. Kimmel. Angry White Men: American Masculinity and the End of an Era.
  6. ^ Bloomberg. "The beginning of the end of angry white males". Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  7. ^ "Donald Trump's vote bank: Angry white males with no college degrees - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  8. ^ "How 'Angry White Male' Wayne Allyn Root Knows That Trump Has Deep Support Among Black Voters | Right Wing Watch". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  9. ^ Schwartz, Dana (2016-08-01). "Why Angry White Men Love Calling People 'Cucks'". GQ. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  10. ^ a b c d Sawer, Marian (1999). "EMILY'S LIST and angry white men: Gender wars in the nineties". Journal of Australian Studies. 23 (62): 1–9. doi:10.1080/14443059909387494.
  11. ^ Hutchens, Gareth; Karp, Paul (15 August 2016). "Eric Abetz says the phrase 'angry white man' is racial vilification". Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  12. ^ Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) s 18D Exemptions.
  13. ^ Rosin, Hanna (November 24, 2013) "Even Madder Men: 'Angry White Men,' by Michael Kimmel" (review) The New York Times
  14. ^ George Packer, "Poor, White, and Republican", The New Yorker, February 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Jonathan Romney, "Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood: The screen legend plays an angry old man at war with the city of Detroit", The Independent on Sunday, February 22, 2009.
  16. ^ Ryan Senaga, "Angry white man: Clint Eastwood channels ghosts from past films in Gran Torino", Honolulu Weekly, January 14, 2009.
  17. ^ "Angry white men on film: Seven times cinema got to the Trump vote before us | Cambridge Day". Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  18. ^ Gutiérrez-Jones, Carl Scott (2001). Critical race narratives. pp. 61–5. ISBN 978-0-8147-3145-1.
  19. ^ Douglas, Michael; Duvall, Robert; Hershey, Barbara; Ticotin, Rachel (1993-02-26), Falling Down, retrieved 2017-03-29
  20. ^ Farewell Archie. CBS News.
  21. ^ a b Hano, Arnold (1972-03-12). "Can Archie Bunker Give Bigotry A Bad Name?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-28.


Further reading