The demonization of colour
Although misogyny is the basis of patriarchal insults, racial stereotypes of other non-white men show that masculinity in excess is bad.
After the 2000 gang rapes in Western Sydney, Arab-Australian men were construed to be hypersexual predators; African-Australian boys are seen as violent gang members; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are constructed to be violent partners and dropkick dads. It shifts the blame of colonial government policy onto Aboriginal men in a way that addresses the desires of a carceral state rather than the needs of these communities.
Amy McGuire emphasises the structural roots of what appear to be individual problems: “demonizing Aboriginal men does not work. Why do they drink? Why don't they have jobs? Why has violence become a social norm?”
Meanwhile, heterosexual white masculinity parades as the healthy norm against which other masculinities are demonized. Even the most heinous cases of white, male committing murder-suicides are reported to be ‘good blokes’.
This reporting highlights the shock of their surrounding communities, but also overlooks the roots of this violence in heterosexual white masculinity. As Fiona McCormack, CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria told Media Watch:
“Men who kill their families usually have friends and families who loved them but providing quotes from those people without any context explaining the underlying sense of entitlement that makes these men think they have the right to take the lives of women in their family is one-sided and misleading.”
Reporting only the shock of the surrounding community without mention of the violent entitlement of white men towards the women and children in their families recuperates heterosexual white masculinity by treating these cases as deviation.
And while murder-suicides certainly are extreme, they are only what Margaret Simons calls “an awful climax to a previous history of abuse and/or violence”. This is not to deny that family violence also occurs in other racialized masculinities.