Vanderbilt University Professor: ‘White Privilege’ A Reason Why People Oppose Gun Control

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People in the United States refuse to pass more gun control laws because of white supremacy and “white privilege,” according to a Vanderbilt University professor out of Nashville.

As The Tennessee Star reported in March, that professor, Jonathan Metzl, authored a new book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland. In the book, Metzl said “explicit racism” motivates certain white people to cling to these conservative points of view.

This week, Metzl told The Guardian in an interview that “the intensity and polarization of the U.S. gun debate makes much more sense when understood in the context of whiteness and white privilege.”

“White Americans’ attempt to defend their status in the racial hierarchy by opposing issues such as gun control, healthcare expansion or public-school funding ends up injuring themselves, as well as hurting people of color,” Metzl said.

Metzl added that guns are “particularly charged social symbols.”

“So many aspects of American gun culture are really entwined with whiteness and white privilege,” The Guardian quoted Metzl as saying.

Metzl did say, however, that gun owners are worthy of seeking out for conversation.

“I think that pathologizing all gun owners gets us further away from any kind of solution that might bring people together,” Metzl said.

“I do think there are many positive things about gun culture. My argument is a lot more centrist than I think people realize. It’s not just about supremacy and oppression. It’s also about history and tradition and generational meanings. I came away from this research very respectful of gun ownership traditions in many parts of the country, and things people were telling me about guns suggesting safety and protection, about the community networks that gun ownership lets people forge.”

As The Star reported in March, Metzl’s book focused on three specific areas — Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, school funding in Kansas, and gun laws in Missouri.

“In his book, Metzl explains that today’s skepticism toward gun control and government programs has a long history in the segregated South and Midwest, where gun ownership, affordable health care and quality education were considered privileges that only whites deserved,” according to a Vanderbilt press release about the book.

“Likewise, those attitudes reflected a view of whiteness that emphasized extreme self-reliance—the idea that individuals can and should be solely responsible for the health, safety and well-being of themselves and their loved ones.”

Quoting Metzl, the Vanderbilt press release said this view is linked to backlash following the U.S. Civil War and federal interventions to end segregation. Metzl also said these attitudes resurged following the election of former Democratic President Barack Obama.

Metzl has said “whiteness itself has become a negative health indicator.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Dr. Jonathan Metzl” by Vanderbilt University.





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10 Thoughts to “Vanderbilt University Professor: ‘White Privilege’ A Reason Why People Oppose Gun Control”

  1. SB214

    I was interested in attending this college.. not anymore.

  2. Traditional thinker

    You must be proud Vanderbilt. Maybe you should call Stacy Abrams in to interview for university president. Then again, she’s probably over qualified for the position.

  3. LEdewards

    This is what insanity looks like! It doesn’t make a bit of sense! And people actually believe and listen.. And to think this man and others like him are teaching the finest and the best minds. Very scary!

  4. Frank Neudecker

    I am surprised at how Chris contained himself. It was a good article, but I seriously started laughing about the third or fourth paragraph. What worries me is someone in the government will have this guy provide testimony before some political group in hope to confuse the truth.

    God help us if that should happen.

  5. Angelito

    Make no mistake, the progressive goal is to obliterate anything white, and replace it with voters who will keep progressives in power.

    This “professor” is a Marxist tool.

  6. Habu

    Take you pick – – – “dumb or dumber” . Both apply to this clown.

  7. Sim

    When a University hires someone with the mentality of this “Professor” (tongue in cheek)

    It makes you wonder about the mentality of the Administrators of the University.

    Nuff said.

    1. Ragnar danneskjold

      No it doesn’t. 😉

  8. Wolf Woman

    Where did this man get his ideas that race drives everything? In a “privileged” classroom at the University of Chicago?

    I grew up in Nashville and my family and ancestors came from all around Middle Tennessee. None cared for government control because they had the good sense to see how the government took their money and what they received back was never commensurate with what they paid out.

    Metzl should read White Guilt by Shelby Steele. Actually, everyone should read it.

  9. Russ

    How about right and wrong. How about working for what you have instead of having it given to you by the government. If this is privilege the whole country need to get it. The color is another way for the left. to promote racist things and blame everyone else. The race card is worn out, and continues to be WAY over used.