There’s nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man

Those are just some of the names for a racial stereotype that has haunted the collective imagination of White America since the nation’s inception. The specter of the angry Black man has been evoked in politics and popular culture to convince White folks that a big, bad Black man is coming to get them and their daughters. I’ve seen viral videos of innocent Black men losing their lives because of this stereotype. I’ve watched White people lock their car doors or clutch their purses when men who look like me approach. I’ve been racially profiled. It’s part of the psychological tax you pay for being a Black man in America — learning to accept that you are seen by many as Public Enemy No. 1. But as I’ve watched three separate trials about White male violence unfold across the US these past few weeks — the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the Ahmaud Arbery death trial and the civil case against organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville — I’ve come to a sobering conclusion: There is nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man. It’s not the “radical Islamic terrorist” that I fear the most. Nor is it the brown immigrant or the fiery Black Lives Matter protester, or whatever the latest bogeyman is that some politician tells me I should dread. It’s encountering an armed White man in public who has been inspired by the White men on trial in these three cases. […]

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