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Angry white male

An angry white male (AWM) is a pejorative reference to a white male holding what is viewed as a typically conservative viewpoint, especially in the context of U.S. politics, characterized by opposition to feminism, racial quotas, political correctness, affirmative action and other liberal policies.[1][2]

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. The term later gained prominence in the 1994 federal elections in the US, in which a large number of neo-conservative, white voters turned out. This new voting bloc swept in the first Republican majority Congress since the 1950s. Subsequent scholarship has focused on the various factors that motivated the turnout, including the anti-black backlash triggered by the racial hoax perpetrated by Susan Smith.[3]

Angry white men are stereotypically disproportionally older than the population as a whole, and often have animosity toward children or minorities.[4] The utterance "Get off my lawn!" is indicative of the angry white man stereotype.

In popular culture

The movies Joe,[5] 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 male.[6][7] In particular, the protagonist of Falling Down (a divorced, laid-off defense worker who descends into a spiral of increasing rage and violence) was widely reported upon as a representative of the stereotype.[8]

The character Archie Bunker from the sitcoms All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place "turned the angry white male into a cultural icon," according to CBS News.[9]

See also


  1. ^ 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 
  2. ^ Reeher, Grant; Cammarano, Joseph (1996). "In Search of the Angry White Male". In Niemi, Richard G. Midterm: The Elections of 1994 in Context. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 125–36. ISBN 978-0-8133-2818-8. 
  3. ^ Williams, Keira (2012). Gendered Politics in the Modern South: The Susan Smith Case and the Rise of a New Sexism (Making the Modern South). ISBN 978-0807147689. 
  4. ^ Michael S. Kimmel. Angry White Men: American Masculinity and the End of an Era. 
  5. ^ George Packer, "Poor, White, and Republican", The New Yorker, February 14, 2012.
  6. ^ Jonathan Romney, "Dirty Harry gets a bus pass in Eastwood's last stand", The Independent on Sunday, February 22, 2009.
  7. ^ Ryan Senaga, "Angry white man: Clint Eastwood channels ghosts from past films in Gran Torino", Honolulu Weekly, January 14, 2009.
  8. ^ Gutiérrez-Jones, Carl Scott (2001). Critical race narratives. pp. 61–5. ISBN 978-0-8147-3145-1. 
  9. ^ Farewell Archie. CBS News.

Further reading

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