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Charlottesville, 'Broadchurch', And The Value Of Oxygen

By Emily Cutler | Think Pieces | August 14, 2017 |

By Emily Cutler | Think Pieces | August 14, 2017 |

I don’t care about white men’s pain. I don’t care about it, and I don’t want to hear about. I’m still sympathetic to an individual white man’s pain provided it’s real and justifiable. But as a group, white men are wildly overvalued, and I just can’t bring myself to care about their economic anxieties and disaffection anymore.

The terrorist acts that took place in Charlottesville this weekend were a direct result of the country’s overemphasized attention placed on white men and their pain, and it’s time to be fucking done with it. I mean, think about the hideous insults white men had to suffer. First some people wanted to take down a statue of an unrepentant racist without ever considering that he was white. And then a group of people showed up at their hate rally to tell them white guys were wrong about something. Can you imagine how hard it was to hear other people thought you weren’t right?! And then the offenders had the nerve to continue voicing their opinions with absolutely no regard for how it made those white guys feel. How could any one group suffer those indignities?! Clearly there were horrific acts on many sides ranging from “intentionally drove his car into a crowd of people with the express purpose of injuring them” to “held a counter protest.” So about even.

What does this have to do with Broadchurch exactly? Well, while the show has moved on to another crime and another mystery, the Latimer family is still heavily involved in the plot. Which led to a scene in this week’s episode where Beth raged at her husband’s refusal to see past his own grief.

We’re all hurting. I’m hurting, you’re hurting, the whole bloody world is hurting. But he has to make it about him. He takes all the oxygen, all the attention. ‘Look at me, I’m Mark Latimer, and I am so much sadder than the rest of you.’ And you know what that does? It leaves no room for me. No space for me. He crowds out my grief. And my grief, my ongoing daily pain, is as strong and alive as his. But I don’t let it win.

And that is the result of centuries of civilization telling a select group of white men that their pain is the most important pain in the world.

Now you could maybe argue that not every man at the Unite the Right March is a Nazi, but every single one of them is a white supremacist. Because in the face of their pain and alienation, they didn’t choose to join the side that makes things more equitable. They didn’t protest with BLM, or march on January ninth. The don’t want to tear down an unfair system, they just want it to work better for them. They sided with the people saying white men deserve more room, more attention and more oxygen, because that speaks to their core beliefs.

So I’m fucking done. I understand that white men can suffer real and terrible hardships. Treating those hardships as more important than others’ is a result and perpetuation of our white and male supremacist state. White men deserve to have good jobs. They don’t get to insist that they deserve jobs more that PoC or women. White men deserve to have a voice. But not one that drowns out all the others. White men deserve the oxygen they need to live, but not if other people are dying from it. White supremacy sucks up all of the country’s oxygen. And it’s time to choke it off.

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